Although Heliotropium are half hardy perennials they are usually grown as half hardy annuals in the garden.
The flowering time of the Heliotropium genus depends on the species and can be from the latter part of spring until the end of autumn.
They carry trumpet shaped flowers of blue, white or purple that are cherished in the garden for their aroma.
Some common names for Heliotropium include heliotrope and Cherry Pie.
Common Names: Heliotrope, Turnsole, Cherry Pie Flower, Cotorrilla, Garden Heliotrope, Monkey Tail.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 10 to 48 inches (25 to 120 cm).
Native: Europe, Americas, Asia, North America.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.
Flowers: Late spring, summer and/or autumn.
Flower Details: Purple, violet, blue, white, yellow. Umbels. Trumpets. Fragrant.
Foliage: Green; blueish/grey-green. Oval. Oblanceolate.
Sow Outside: No
Sow Inside: Cover seed. Spacing 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm). Germination time: two days to eight weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Three months in advance. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or partial shade in hot areas. Good drainage. Rich soil. Moist soil. Monthly feed. Regular watering. Pinch young tips. Deadhead. Can winter indoors if grown in a large pot; needs to be in a sunny part of the room. Propagate: cuttings can be took from the roots or stems in autumn.
Miscellaneous: The plant gets its name through their ability to turn leaves so as to follow the sun.
It is best to grow Heliotrope indoors first and then transplant later. They should be started about three months before they are due to be transplanted a few weeks after the last frost of spring. They take from a couple of days to six weeks to germinate at a temperature of 21 to 24 degrees Centigrade. Once Heliotropium plants are established they can either be kept indoors in an area that receives plenty of sunlight or transplanted outdoors into containers or the border at a spacing of about 40 to 50 cm. They prefer to grow in a sunny area of the garden with good drainage, preferably in an east facing part of the garden, so that it gets shade in the afternoon. The soil should be rich.
Once growing it is important to keep the soil that Heliotropium is growing in moist and to provide a regular monthly feed. Additionally young Heliotropium plants should have their tips nipped to encourage bushy growth. Once the flowering has finished, deadhead the flower to encourage further blooming. If you require more heliotropes then cuttings from either the root or stem can be taken in the autumn.
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