Heliotrope Flower

Heliotrope geurnoten, which has a cherry-almond-vanilla fragrance, is an annual that can become a perennial in climates where it’s hardy. It grows quickly and flowers all summer, although it dies at the first touch of frost. It can be massed along a garden path, planted in containers or placed in window boxes to bring its beauty and fragrance indoors.

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Plant heliotrope in full sun in cool climates and part sun to shade in warmer ones, in rich, well-draining soil that never dries out. Use a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote or a liquid fertilizer twice a month. Pinch the plants to keep them neat and promote more blooms. The plant is prone to powdery mildew, so watch for this fungus and remove any affected foliage when it appears.

A fragrant perennial, heliotrope grows as a shrub to 4 feet or more in USDA zones 9 to 11, and it will bloom almost year-round there. But it’s grown as a summer annual elsewhere and typically doesn’t grow as tall.

Heliotrope attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators to the garden, making it an important addition to a wildlife habitat. It also provides food for the larva of the danaine butterfly (Freyeria trochylus), which feeds on its leaves and flower petals.

Plant heliotrope seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost in spring, or purchase the seedlings from a nursery. Transplant them into the garden or a container outdoors after the risk of frost has passed.