31 Jul

Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), evergreen to deciduous, mounded to spreading 2-3 feet in height, large clusters of very small, fragrant flowers in purple to white most of the year, large deep green to purple-green foliage, sun to part shade, average to little water when established, good container plant.

Species of this genus produce clusters of tiny flowers with a sweet, delicate fragrance. Foliage is handsome. Provide well-drained soil.

Heliotropium arborescens: from Peru. This old-fashioned favorite grows to 4 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide in the mild-winter zones where it is a perennial, but it’s typically treated in all regions as a summer bedding annual to 1 1/2 to 2 ft. high, 1 to 1 1/2 ft. wide. Dark violet, purple, blue, or white blossoms are densely set in curved, one-sided spikes that form rounded, 3 to 4-in. clusters. They have a scent reminiscent of vanilla. Veined leaves have a darkish purple cast.
‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Iowa’ are varieties with deep purple flowers; there are also dwarf forms under 1 ft. high.

All are good in pots (in cold climates, overwinter them in a frost-free spot). They can take full sun in cooler climates but need partial shade in warmer ones.


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