How to Grow Heliotropium Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Heliotrope, Turnsole, Cotorrilla and Cherry Pie Flower,

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.

Cherry Pie


Some common names for Heliotropium include heliotrope and Cherry Pie.

Heliotropium arborescens
Heliotropium arborescens by Tatters:); creative commons.

Heliotropium curassavicum
Heliotropium curassavicum by Just Chaos; creative commons.

Heliotropium Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Heliotrope, Turnsole, Cherry Pie Flower, Cotorrilla, Garden Heliotrope, Monkey Tail.
Family: Boraginaceae.
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.
Family: Boraginaceae.
Miscellaneous: The plant gets its name through their ability to turn leaves so as to follow the sun.

How to Grow Heliotrope and other Heliotropium Plants in the Garden

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. Transplant outdoors 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 (70 to 75°F).

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. Use a spacing of about 40 to 50 cm (16 to 20 inches.

They prefer to grow in a sunny area of the garden with good drainage. Preferably locate in an east facing part of the garden, so that it gets shade in the afternoon. The soil should be rich.

Caring for Heliotrope (Heliotropium)

Once growing it is important to keep the soil that Heliotropium is growing in moist. Also 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 further heliotropes plant, then cuttings from either the root or stem can be taken in the autumn.

Common Questions

How many members does the Heliotropium genus have?

The Heliotropium genus is quite extensive with about 250 to 325 species known for their fragrant, clustered flowers.

Do members of Heliotropium make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Definitely! Heliotropium arborescens, commonly known as Heliotrope, is a favorite for its pleasant fragrance and deep purple flowers.

Which Heliotropium species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The Heliotropium arborescens or Garden Heliotrope is popular due to its fragrance and attractive clusters of purple flowers.

Are members of the Heliotropium plant genus fragrant?

Yes, many Heliotropium species, especially the Garden Heliotrope, are noted for their sweet, vanilla-like fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Heliotropium?

Heliotropium plants thrive in full sun to partial shade and require well-drained soil.

Is Heliotropium invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Heliotropium is not listed as invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Heliotropium plants from my garden?

Removing Heliotropium plants involves digging them up and ensuring the complete removal of all root parts.


The Heliotropium genus belongs to the Boraginaceae plant family. Often known as Heliotrope, these plants are appreciated for their clustered, fragrant, and vibrant flowers. A commonly grown species is Heliotropium arborescens.

To cultivate Heliotropium, plant in a location with full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. These plants prefer regular watering and are not particularly drought-tolerant. Propagation can be done through seeds or cuttings, usually in the spring or summer.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Heliotropium plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Golden Drop, Allium caeruleum, and Symphytum plants.