In the days when ladies wore puffy skirts and danced at balls, flowers were a good decoration and provided a pleasant scent during festive events. Heliotrope flowers, smelling almost like vanilla or cinnamon, were very popular at the time. But these plants were rather capricious and gradually in the gardens of the inhabitants were for the most part replaced by annual grasses and flowers, which did not require such careful care. However, due to its specific and bright smell, heliotrope was not displaced by a more unpretentious flora completely from the flower beds.

The more actively the selection developed, the more growers experimented with this plant, trying to bring out a more resistant plant. Gradually, heliotrope varieties appeared, which began to be distinguished by high resistance, the beauty of the flower. But there was also a side effect as a result of active breeding, the flowers almost lost their special aroma, although initially it was because of it that this plant was popular. But due to the fact that modern heliotrope can be bred in two ways - by seeds and cuttings, gardeners still manage to achieve the reproduction of plants with the most vivid smell.

Description of the flower

The very name heliotrope literally translates as "one who turns after the sun." This plant is herbaceous perennial. Its height in nature reaches one and a half meters. When grown by gardeners, the length of the stems can be 60 cm. There are 300 species of this plant. Moreover, they are mostly wild. Homeland - North and South America, as well as the Mediterranean. It can grow in almost any sunny forest. Occurs in temperate zones. We grow it as an annual plant, as winters are too cold for it. At the same time, indoor versions of heliotropes live and develop well at home.

The heliotrope belongs to the gimlet family. This bush has large, pubescent, slightly wrinkled leaves. Their color is dark green. Both flowers and leaves are decorative. The flowers are small. Inflorescences are corymbose type. They are usually naturally dark blue or purple. Bred heliotrope white and blue.

Growing heliotrope from seeds

Of course, every gardener wants to grow a healthy plant. To do this, you need to purchase seeds only from trusted sellers. Gardeners know very well which seeds are worth purchasing. The best firms offering seeds of the Heliotrope popular today are Prestige, Search, Johnsons.

If you decide to grow a beautiful flower from your seeds, prepare for the fact that young plants will not retain the decorative qualities that the mother plant had.

Seeds should not be immediately planted in the ground. The thing is that flowering simply will not have time to start. It takes about 100 days from the first shoots to the formation of inflorescences. It is necessary to plant ready-made seedlings on the flowerbed.

How to sow seeds correctly

The seeds of this plant should be sown in late February or early March. For this, a special substrate is being prepared. Peat is taken in 4 parts and sand in one part. The mixture is steamed and ignited without fail. With the help of these procedures, it is possible to kill the fungus. The soil is carefully poured into the container, leveled well and slightly compacted. The size of the heliotrope seeds is small. They just need to be scattered over the surface or slightly sprinkled with earth from above.

The planted seeds are covered with foil or soil. The room should be between 18 and 20 degrees. When the seeds sprout, the glass must be removed. The cultivation is then continued at 22 degrees. When 2-3 leaves appear, each plant should be planted in containers and watered well. After 2 weeks, you need to start feeding. For this, a certain fertilizer is applied.

During the period of seed germination, be sure to slightly moisten the soil in the greenhouse. For this, the soil is sprayed. You also need to increase daylight hours to 10 hours.

Planting heliotrope in open ground

When the return frosts are over, you can plant seedlings in a flower bed. This usually happens at the beginning of June.

It is important to choose a suitable landing site. Heliotrope loves the sun. You need to choose an open and bright place for him. But at the same time, there should not be a scorching sun. If the soil is very wet, the plant is likely to die. You can not plant heliotrope near water bodies or in lowlands.

It is worth approaching the soil responsibly. It should be fertile and breathable with a high content of the necessary humus. If the soil is heavy loamy, sand and peat will help lighten it.

It is very important to plant the seedlings correctly. For this, special holes are prepared, and a mixture of humus and leafy earth is added there. Seedlings are transplanted using the transshipment method. An earthy lump cannot be broken. Be sure to sprinkle it with humus on top. Since adult plants are branched, these flowers are planted according to the appropriate scheme 30 by 30 cm.

The planted plants are watered immediately. Then, not for 14 days, they are watered a maximum of three times a week. Then watering is carried out as needed. This is done when the soil dries out on top. Do not forget about the need to spray both seedlings and adult flowers. Heliotrope likes such procedures very much.

Plant care heliotrope in the open field


Some gardeners are sure that heliotrope is a finicky plant. But this is not entirely correct. You just need to properly water the plant. Flowers love moisture, but they cannot stand excess water. It is necessary to monitor the optimum soil moisture. If the soil dries up, you need to water it. The plant will also benefit from creating the high humidity found in tropical areas by spraying with water.

The soil

Plant care will become easier if you mulch the soil around it with compost or peat. As a result, you will rarely have to loosen the soil. This procedure is indispensable. With it, you can protect the earth from the appearance of unwanted crust. You will have to water less often, and watering can be reduced.

If you occasionally pinch the shoots, you can achieve the desired lush flowering of the heliotrope.

Top dressing

Until the heliotrope begins to bloom, it is fed every two weeks with a special mineral complex fertilizer. Then you can stop these procedures.

Growing heliotrope at home

Heliotrope can be successfully grown at home. In this case, it will be a perennial plant. Caring for him is exactly the same as for the garden. Reproduction and planting are similar. Only the Peruvian species can be grown at home.

In summer, the flower needs a temperature of 25 degrees, and in winter 6 degrees. Throughout the entire flowering period, mandatory feeding of homemade heliotrope is required. This is the time span from May to August. Special fertilizers are used for flowers. When growing heliotrope at home, do not forget that it constantly exudes aroma. It is worth checking that there is no allergic reaction to it.

When growing outdoors, it is also worth remembering that the plant is originally from places with a warm climate, which means that the flower should be planted where there will be a lot of sunlight, fertile soil and moderate humidity.

Reproduction of heliotrope

Reproduction of heliotrope by cuttings

Cuttings are also suitable for reproduction of heliotrope. To do this, heliotrope is stored for the winter, since it is impossible to get a stalk from an annual flower that grows in the garden. It is from the flowering seedlings that you can choose the samples you like the most and continue their cultivation with cuttings, preserving the aroma and flower shape you like. Cuttings are obtained at the end of winter, early spring and are planted outside when there is definitely no frost.

A strong blooming heliotrope should be chosen. It is dug up and transplanted into a pot. Plants in winter should be kept at home, in greenhouses or greenhouses with an average temperature of at least 10-15 degrees. The optimum room temperature should be no higher than 18 degrees. For a tropical flower, you need to increase the daylight hours to 10 hours. At a higher temperature of the content, the shoots will turn out to be elongated and weak.

In January-February, you need to choose the strongest, necessarily young shoot and cut it off, and then divide it into cuttings. Use root root for processing slices. Then they are planted in pots. Compulsory lighting is required.

Reproduction of heliotrope by seeds

Since two propagation methods can be used for these plants, the choice will depend on what the task will be. In early spring, late winter, the plant reproduces due to the seeds that give seedlings. Such representatives bloom quite late in the northern climate, which makes it difficult to enjoy the flowers of this plant to the fullest. And the flowers from each seed are obtained in a different shape, shade and brightness of the smell.

Heliotrope after flowering: how and when to collect seeds

When flowering is complete, heliotrope is traditionally dug up and then discarded. If you are looking to breed with seeds, you need to collect them before you dig up the plant. The collection begins at the moment when the flowers wither and turn black. Seed bolls appear instead. They are carefully collected. Seeds are extracted and sorted out from them. Then they are dried and placed in a matchbox or paper envelope. Store in this form until spring.

Winter heliotrope care

Traditionally, this plant is not preserved for the winter. When flowering ends, it is removed. The flowerbed is dug up for the winter. If you really do not want to part with your favorite plant even for three months, you can simply dig it up and transplant it into a flowerpot. In winter, it will grow on your windowsill. The temperature in the apartment should not exceed 18 degrees. The duration of daylight hours must be increased. In such conditions, it will bring you joy and bloom well. When spring comes, you simply return it to the flower bed.

Heliotrope in landscape design

Heliotropes were successfully used in the 19th century to decorate the gardens and parks of the estates of the nobles. Today you can successfully give your own personal plot a similar style. So in the garden, heliotrope successfully replaces the curbs. It makes luxurious flower beds. It is often combined with various plants in group plantings. Begonias, petunias, pelargoniums, rudbeckia are perfect for him. Flowers should be short. They must not block the sun with the heliotrope.

If grown in single flowerpots, it will become an elegant standard tree.

Popular types and varieties of heliotrope

Today, only a few heliotropes are grown in culture. New hybrid variants of these plants have been developed.

Peruvian (tree)

The most popular variety for breeding. This is a spreading bush. Its height reaches 60 cm. The flowers are incredibly fragrant. Their color is blue or purple. The diameter of the inflorescence is 15 cm. Such a heliotrope blooms well up to the very frost. The most widespread are hybrid varieties from the Marine series:

  • Marine Mini is a low-growing variety. The height of the bushes is up to 25 cm. Its main feature is green leaves with an unusual shade of purple.
  • Luxurious Black Beauty. The flowers are of a pronounced purple color. The characteristic vanilla aroma exudes. The most fragrant of all varieties.
  • Marine Dwarf. Flowers of its characteristic dark blue hue. The plant reaches a height of 35 cm.
  • Charming Princess Marina. It has a weak aroma. Plants grow up to 30 cm in height.

High corymbose

The tallest of all types. They may well grow up to 120 cm. The shape of the leaves is elongated, lanceolate. Outwardly it looks like a boat. Below, the color of the leaves is darker than above. Flowers of light blue or blue hue. Inflorescences reach a length of 10 cm. Such heliotropes bloom from early summer to late autumn.

Lush European

It grows in the Mediterranean countries, as well as in the states of South America. Plant height up to 40 cm. The stem is branching. The leaves are oblong. Their color is yellowish-green or light green. The flowers form curls. Gradually, they form very lush and incredibly dense inflorescences. Bloom from May to late August.

Sprawling Kurasavsky

The bush is quite lush. Its height is palpable. In volume, the plant can reach 1 meter 20 cm. It grows to a minimum of 60, and a maximum of 100 cm in height. Flowers are pale bluish-white. The inflorescence is very lush. The peduncle is long and strong.

Stalk embracing undersized

Not very popular with flower growers. Plant height is small. The leaves are long, lanceolate with wavy edges. Flowers of a pronounced purple hue.

Diseases and pests

It is possible that heliotrope can be affected by diseases of the fungal type. The remedy is fungicides. Insecticides (Actellik) are used to control pests such as whitefly, aphids and spider mites. It is likely that re-treatment will be required after a week.

Today heliotrope has become popular again and many gardeners are happy to grow it. The plant has gained popularity as a raw material for perfumery production - it's all about the noble aroma of vanilla, which is inherent in these luxurious flowers.

It is popularly believed that heliotrope has medicinal properties. It is used to remove parasites. It was also used to treat lichens and warts. Heliotrope contains a poisonous alkaloid. Therefore, you should not use this plant for self-treatment without consulting a doctor.

Video - heliotrope growing through seedlings and care

Heliotrope growing through seedlings and care

Heliotrope Marine: description, features of planting and care, photo

Modern florists have an incredible variety of flowering plants at their disposal. Among them, a more modest flower can be distinguished - the heliotrope Marine, known since ancient times. A perennial plant with a beautiful color delights many gardeners. A long time ago, the plant attracted not only with its flowers, but also with a stunning vanilla scent. It has not lost its relevance to this day.

Types and varieties

In nature, there are more than a hundred varieties of heliotrope, some of which are very poisonous. However, only 3 species are grown in culture, the most popular of which is the Peruvian heliotrope (tree-like) - a shrub 60-70 cm high with pubescent wrinkled leaves of an obovate shape and small fragrant flowers, collected in spectacular inflorescences 10-15 cm in diameter.

Florists are especially fond of the Marina variety series, which includes plants with lilac-green leaves and dark purple inflorescences. Most often, varieties of this variety are used in landscape design - Black Beauty, Chatsworth, Marine Blue (purple), Mini Marine, Princess Marina (violet-blue). Lovers of compact forms will like the miniature varieties Dwarf Marine (bright blue), Regal Dwarf (dark blue) and Baby Blue (lilac-purple). Admirers of delicate beauty will be enchanted by white-flowered hybrids - Lady White (pink flowers in buds) and Alba.

Less commonly cultivated heliotropes scutellous and stalk-embracing. The inflorescences of the first are larger than those of the Peruvian, but not as fragrant. The second of them is a short and inconspicuous species.

Features of early crops

When growing seedlings in February, gardeners face some difficulties. To provide the seedlings with the necessary conditions for development, you will have to make an effort and incur certain costs.The first difficulty lies in the fact that the seedlings can be exposed to hypothermia if they stand on a cold windowsill.

It is necessary to take care in advance that it does not show through the windows. Drafts have a very negative effect on the immunity of seedlings, and can lead to hypothermia. Plants develop worse, they can get sick, and in some cases even die. It is also necessary to isolate containers with seedlings from the cold windowsill. To do this, use special mats made of heat-insulating material or foam substrates.

The second complicating factor is the lack of natural light. Seedlings of most cultivated plants for normal development require a day of light for at least 12-14 hours. Otherwise, the seedlings will weaken, stretch out due to lack of light. Fluorescent lamps, LED strips, phytolamps are used as additional lighting.

All of these types of lighting are economical and provide plants with light rays of the desired spectrum.

Landing on flower beds

Before we start planting and leaving heliotrope in the open field, we will find out when and how to plant it.

Heliotrope will gladly delight the owners when planting directly into the garden, but flowering may not occur until August if the seeds are in the ground in May.

In the spring, the soil prepared in advance is loosened, phosphorus and potassium are added, then the seeds are thrown into the holes, deepening by half a centimeter. After watering.

Further, the care is exactly the same as for seedlings planted in boxes.

Seat selection

Southern heliotrope prefers bright places open to the sun. The gardener receives this information with the purchase of seeds - it is indicated on the bag, which is carefully examined before planting.

Before planting, the place where the flowers are supposed to be planted is dug up, and humus, compost, and organic matter are introduced.


Cutting is carried out by cutting off young shoots, which can root both in the ground, covered with a film, and in a glass of water. After the roots grow back, heliotrope is planted in the garden.


Gloxinia, Cranberry Tiger cultivar. Photo: Senior Gardening

Gloxinia is a perennial herbaceous plant of tropical origin. Gloxinia are divided into two groups:

  1. plants with tubers passing into a dormant state in winter, with a dying aerial part
  2. plants, without tubers, vegetate all year round.

The most popular is hybrid gloxinia - it is grown as tuberous gloxinia.

Gloxinia is propagated by tubers, seeds and leafy cuttings. Seeds are sown in boxes in the snow, in late December - early January in leafy soil with an admixture of peat soil, without covering.

Gloxinia tubers are divided in February, and leaf cuttings in March. Tubers are germinated at a temperature of + 22-25 ° C, cuttings are rooted at a temperature of + 20-22 ° C at the same temperature the crops should be. Rooted gloxinia are grown at + 16-18 ° C.

Gloxinia seeds germinate in 2-3 weeks. Seedlings dive twice. In the spring and summer, two transfers are carried out into larger pots, the last transfer of 12-14 cm pots filled with a mixture of leaf, peat and heather soil (2: 1: 1), sometimes adding light turf to it.

During the summer, gloxinia are fertilized and often sprayed and shaded from direct sunlight.

Gloxinia grown from tubers bloom in May-June, from seeds in July-August.

Gloxinia sheds leaves for the winter. Gloxinia tubers are stored in a dry room in peat powder or dry sand at a temperature of + 10-12 ° C.

Captivatingly sweet heliotrope nets

Blooming heliotrope with amazingly beautiful cluster-shaped inflorescences of numerous small blue-violet flowers and bright green velvety leaves can not only decorate a balcony, terrace or summer flower garden, but also envelop the surrounding atmosphere with a delicate aroma of vanilla. It is a pity that the growers have forgotten a little about this plant.

Fragrant miracle flower

Heliotrope is an evergreen perennial shrub that pampers us with its long flowering, which lasts from May to late autumn. Another highlight of this flowering plant is a pleasant vanilla aroma, which not only evokes a bunch of childhood memories, as if returning us to those distant times, but also attracts a huge number of butterflies and bees to the balcony.

The enchanting heliotrope can be grown both in balcony boxes, tubs, and outdoors in the garden.

Heliotrope care

The flowers and leaves of the heliotrope turn after the sun: in the morning they "look" to the east, during the day, following the sun, they turn to the west, during sunset they again look to the east in order to meet the rising sun at dawn. All this is reflected in the name of the plant: in translation from Greek "helios" means "sun", and "tropein" means "to turn". Therefore, a flower that follows the sun needs a sunny place. Only under this condition, the heliotrope will have abundant flowering in a proper way. Insufficient lighting can lead to the fact that the shoots of the plant stretch and break from the slightest breath of wind.

All shades of blue sky are displayed by the bloom of heliotrope arboreal "Scentropia Dark Blue" in the company with lobelia and clematis

Heliotrope needs a lot of nutrients. Therefore, plant it in fertile soil with a large admixture of sand for better water permeability. When planting young seedlings, they maintain a distance of about 20 cm, older (overwintered) specimens require more free space.

Heliotrope, with its rich flowering, loves abundant watering, but does not tolerate waterlogging of the soil. Therefore, good drainage should be provided in pots so that the roots do not rot. The need for heliotrope in water is often underestimated: if its leaves hang sluggishly down, you should increase the dose of watering. If you do not make up for the loss of water at this stage, then the edges of the leaves will turn brown. It is urgently necessary to water the plant abundantly. In most cases, the heliotrope recovers quickly and after a few weeks is again covered with brushes of its dark purple colors.

To support abundant flowering, the Bavarian Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture (Bayerische Landesanstalt für Weinbau und Gartenbau) recommends feeding heliotrope with complex fertilizers once a week throughout the season, adding 2-3 grams per liter of water. We are adjusting the proportions so precisely because our vanilla-scented flower is very sensitive to excess and overfeeding of fertilizers. Often we can observe such a picture when flower growers, driven by good intentions, pour liquid fertilizers for flowering plants with a generous hand. This is absolutely unacceptable for heliotropes. It is better to reduce the fertilizer concentration by half in relation to the fertilizer indicated in the instructions on the package, gradually increasing it to the required value.

Heliotrope on the balcony is capable of reaching in height and diameter up to 50 cm or more. Its erect stems grow vertically upward. A plant grown and overwintered in a tub over the years can reach up to one meter in height, and its leaves and flowers form a crown up to 1 m in diameter. In this case, the heliotrope in the tub definitely needs support.

In open ground conditions, heliotrope can reach up to 80 cm in height. When planting a plant in the garden, choose a bright, wind-protected place for it. And in this case, it would be a good idea to tie the stem to the support, since in an adult heliotrope, the inflorescences become quite large and heavy, and therefore they can break fragile branches.

Blooming heliotrope care

After the heliotrope blooms its first flowers, the duration and abundance of flowering depends entirely on you. If you remove faded umbrella inflorescences in time, new ones will immediately appear. This cleaning of the bush stimulates new flowering and prevents seed formation. This means that faded flowers must be removed before seed formation. You can simply pick the inflorescences with your hands, but if you attach great importance to a beautiful appearance, it is better to carry out this procedure with kitchen scissors. This will avoid possible damage to the entire plant. Thanks to this trick, the heliotrope will try its best to attract beneficial insects to itself in order to ensure its reproduction, that is, it will constantly form new flowers. In addition, regular cleaning of faded inflorescences protects the plant from attack by fungal diseases, because fungi, as a rule, settle on pollinated flowers.

Plucked or cut heliotrope flowers can be used in the future: a fragrant potpourri of dry inflorescences will serve not only as a beautiful interior decoration, but also for a long time aromatizes the air in the room.

Reproduction of heliotrope

Despite the long period of development, it is not so difficult to grow heliotrope from seeds. Sowing in boxes is carried out in February - March in a wet mixture of peat and sand, after which the boxes are placed under glass. At a soil temperature of + 18 ° - + 20 ° C, seedlings appear in two weeks. After another 2-3 weeks, the seedlings need to be thinned. When the seedlings reach 10 cm, it is necessary to pinch the top to enhance tillering and avoid stretching. Up to three young plants are planted in a standard container in a permanent place. Heliotrope blooms approximately 12 to 16 weeks after sowing.

If you want the heliotrope to bloom next spring in May, you should distill it by sowing the seeds from late spring to June. Then young seedlings will have time to gain strength before autumn to successfully winter, and next spring they can be planted in a permanent place. Forcing young plants are rarely watered in winter, and pruned in spring.

Heliotrope reproduces successfully by cuttings. To do this, cut off young green shoots approximately 10 cm long from the mother plant and immediately plant them in a pot with a substrate. For the propagation of overwintered heliotrope, cuttings are carried out at the end of winter - in February.

Overwintering heliotrope

The birthplace of the vanilla-scented flower is the Peruvian Andes, where it does not live in extreme conditions, but at an altitude of about 500 m above sea level, in tropical forests, preferring the area along wet, sandy river beds. Therefore, the plant is very sensitive to frost.

For this reason, heliotrope is often cultivated in our country as an annual plant. However, you don't have to adhere to this rule. Heliotrope is a perennial plant and you can leave it over the winter. It's worth it, because after a couple of years, the heliotrope will turn into a prominent plant that looks like a small tree.

Before the first frost, move the heliotrope into the house, giving it a cool and bright place. It is better, of course, that the air temperature in the room was about + 5 ° C, but this is not necessary, and it is unlikely that such a temperature will be in the living room, because it is unacceptable for us. But resourceful florists who love their flowers will always find a way out by placing their favorites in a bright, unheated garage or attic for the winter.

Some varieties of heliotrope lose their leaves and even a few shoots in the winter dormant period, which grow again with the arrival of spring. At the end of winter, cut off all dried parts of the plant. And as soon as the threat of recurrent frosts has passed, heliotropes in tubs are again exposed to the balcony or terrace. The plant should be taken out carefully, gradually accustoming it to the sun, and in the first days either shade it or take it out for a short time, then removing it into the house.

Heliotrope varieties

Among the abundance of semi-shrub varieties, in addition to tree heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), which blooms with lavender-blue and lilac flowers, the following varieties are most common among gardeners:

Treelike heliotrope "Alba" (Heliotropium arborescens "Alba") with white flowers

The tree-like heliotrope "Aurea" (Heliotropium arborescens "Aurea") has a wonderful golden yellow foliage

H. arborescens "Lord Robert" impresses with its dark purple-green leaf color

H. arborescens "Marine" forms a fairly compact shrub, which is covered with dark blue flowers during the flowering period

H. arborescens "Schloss Ahrensburg" is the smallest cultivar, reaching a height of about 30 cm, with one of the first light blue flowers

H. arborescens "Gruppenkönigin" is distinguished by especially large inflorescences of dark purple color

H. arborescens "Madame Poschinger" grows up to 50-60 cm in height and blooms with delicate blue flowers

In the last two hybrid varieties, the seeds are sterile, that is, they are not similar, so they propagate only by cuttings. If you want your favorite vanilla-scented flower to live with you as long as possible, pay attention to naturally grown heliotropes. Such varieties tolerate winter better and are more frost-hardy and strong than weak hybrids. From these varieties, you can collect seeds and grow your own heliotropes, which will be better adapted to the local climate.

Diseases and pests of heliotrope

Heliotropes, especially overwintered specimens, are most often affected by whiteflies and aphids. It is desirable to deal with such a scourge with natural protective agents based on oil or tea. If the plant is damaged again, it should be treated with special preparations that fight pests.

No serious heliotrope diseases have been observed by flower growers. The abnormal condition of the plant is often associated with improper watering.


If you have a weakness for flowers, you should definitely plant heliotrope and be sure to grow it not as an annual, but as a perennial plant. The only thing is that heliotrope is not recommended to be kept in homes where there are animals or small children, because it contains toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Translation: Lesya V.
specially for the internet portal
garden center "Your Garden"

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