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annual

Garden Heliotrope

Heliotropium arborescens

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Garden Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) at Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Heliotropium arborescens flowers

Heliotropium arborescens flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  18 inches

Spacing:  15 inches

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Other Names:  Cherry Pie Plant

Ornamental Features

Garden Heliotrope has masses of beautiful clusters of fragrant purple flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. Its textured pointy leaves remain green in color throughout the season. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Garden Heliotrope is an herbaceous annual with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its medium texture blends into the garden, but can always be balanced by a couple of finer or coarser plants for an effective composition.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep. Trim off the flower heads after they fade and die to encourage more blooms late into the season. It is a good choice for attracting bees and butterflies to your yard, but is not particularly attractive to deer who tend to leave it alone in favor of tastier treats. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Garden Heliotrope is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Border Edging
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting
  • Hanging Baskets

Planting & Growing

Garden Heliotrope will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 18 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 15 inches apart. Although it's not a true annual, this plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Garden Heliotrope is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Edging  Garden  Container  Basket 
Applications
Flowers  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

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