How to Grow a Heliotrope Plant Easily?

How to Grow a Heliotrope Plant
15 min reading time

Welcome to our comprehensive gardening guide on how to grow a heliotrope plant. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, our expert tips and techniques will help you cultivate a healthy and flourishing heliotrope plant.

Heliotrope plant cultivation requires a green thumb and a lot of patience, but it’s a rewarding experience that’s well worth the effort. With our step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to select the perfect location, prepare the soil, start from seeds or transplants, plant and water, nurture and maintain, deal with common problems, and extend the blooming period. We’ve also included tips on how to harvest and store heliotrope seeds for future use.

Understanding the Heliotrope Plant

Before diving into the process of planting and growing a heliotrope plant, it’s essential to understand its unique characteristics and features. Heliotropes, also referred to as heliotropium arborescens, are an herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the borage family. These plants are native to Peru and thrive in warm climates.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of the heliotrope plant is its fragrant flowers. Heliotrope varieties come in different shades of purple, ranging from light lavender to deep violet. The flowers bloom in clusters and have a delightful vanilla scent that attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Heliotropes are also known for their velvety leaves, which are deep green and have a wrinkled texture. The leaves of the plant grow in a rosette pattern, while the stems are erect and woody.

When it comes to growing heliotrope plants, they thrive in well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH level. They also require full sun exposure to partial shade to thrive. If the plant gets too much shade, it may become leggy and fail to bloom.

Overall, heliotrope plants are a beautiful addition to any garden, providing an exquisite fragrance and lovely aesthetics.

Selecting the Perfect Location for Your Heliotrope Plant

Choosing the right location is the key to a successful heliotrope plant. Before planting, consider the sunlight requirements, available planting spot, and garden planning.

Heliotrope Plant Location

Heliotrope plants require plenty of sunlight to thrive. Therefore, choose a planting spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. If your garden area has partial shade, pick a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade.

Planting Spot

The heliotrope plant grows up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, so select a planting spot that offers enough space for the plant to grow without getting cramped. The plant also requires well-draining soil, so avoid low-lying areas where water accumulates, potentially drowning the plant.

Garden Planning

While choosing the right location is essential for your heliotrope plant, consider planning your garden to make the most of the planting spot. Optimize space by planting companions that enrich the soil or limit weed growth while providing a beautiful visual display.

Preparing the Soil for Planting

Growing a healthy and vibrant heliotrope plant begins with preparing the soil. The right soil composition and preparation are essential in ensuring your plant thrives in its environment. Follow our expert tips and techniques to prepare a suitable planting bed for your heliotrope plant.

Soil Composition

Heliotrope plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH should be around 6.0 to 7.5. You can test the soil’s pH using a soil testing kit, which is available at any garden center. If your soil is too acidic, you can add lime to raise the pH level. Similarly, if the soil is too alkaline, add sulfur to lower the pH level.

Soil Preparation

To prepare the soil, begin by removing any weeds, rocks, and debris from the planting bed. Next, loosen the soil to a depth of at least eight inches, using a garden fork or tiller. This will allow the plant’s roots to penetrate the soil easily and access the necessary nutrients. Also, work in a good quality compost or rotted manure into the soil to improve its nutrient content and texture.

Creating the Planting Bed

Heliotrope plants prefer a planting bed that is well-draining and slightly raised. So, create a raised bed by mounding soil in the center of the planting area and sloping it downward toward the edges. This will help prevent water from pooling around the plant’s roots and promote good drainage. Also, make sure the soil is firm enough to support the plant but loose enough to allow air and water to penetrate.

By following these essential soil preparation steps, your heliotrope plant will have the best possible start and be on its way to becoming a healthy and vibrant addition to your garden.

How to Grow a Heliotrope Plant: Starting from Seeds or Transplants

Growing a heliotrope plant can be done either from seeds or transplants. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your preferences and experience level.

Starting from Seeds

If you opt for starting from seeds, it’s essential to begin the process indoors, several weeks before the last frost date. Start by filling a seed tray or small pots with a high-quality seed starting mix and moisten it thoroughly. Sow one or two heliotrope seeds per pot, covering them with a light layer of soil.

Place the pots in a bright and warm location, ensuring they receive at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering, as excess moisture can lead to fungal diseases. Germination typically occurs within 14 to 21 days, after which you can transplant the young seedlings to a larger container or to your garden bed.

Starting from Transplants

If you prefer to start with a more established plant, you can purchase heliotrope transplants from a local nursery or garden center. When selecting transplants, look for healthy and vigorous plants with no signs of disease or pests.

Once you have your transplants, prepare the planting bed by loosening the soil, amending it with compost or aged manure, and adding a balanced fertilizer. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the transplant and place it in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Water the plant thoroughly, and continue to water it regularly for the first few weeks until it establishes in the new location.

Whether you’re starting from seeds or transplants, remember to follow proper care guidelines for your heliotrope plant to ensure healthy growth and flourishing blooms.

Planting and Watering Your Heliotrope Plant

After preparing the soil, it’s time to plant your heliotrope. Here’s the planting process:

  1. Dig a hole in the soil, twice as wide and deep as the root ball of your plant.
  2. Gently remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole.
  3. Backfill the hole with soil, making sure to pack it down tightly around the root ball.
  4. Water the plant thoroughly, ensuring the soil is adequately moist.

When it comes to watering your heliotrope plant, it’s important to follow these tips:

  • Water your plant deeply, ensuring that the soil is moist to a depth of at least one inch.
  • Water your plant in the morning or early evening to reduce evaporation.
  • Do not overwater your plant, as this can lead to root rot. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.

Following these planting and watering tips will help your heliotrope plant thrive and grow to its full potential.

Nurturing and Maintaining Your Heliotrope Plant

How to Grow a Heliotrope Plant

Congratulations on successfully growing your heliotrope plant! To keep it healthy and beautiful, regular care and maintenance are essential. Here are some tips on heliotrope plant care, maintenance, pruning, fertilizing, and pest control measures:

Plant Care

Heliotrope plants require regular watering, especially during hot and dry weather. However, be careful not to overwater, as this may cause root rot. Check the soil moisture level regularly to ensure it’s not too dry or too wet.

Additionally, make sure your plant receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If your plant is not receiving enough sunlight, it may not bloom as expected.

Plant Maintenance

To maintain the health and appearance of your heliotrope plant, you’ll need to prune it regularly. Prune out any dead or damaged branches, as well as any old flowers. This will encourage your plant to continue blooming and keep it looking tidy.

Additionally, removing the branches that are crossing over each other and pruning back the branches that are overgrowing may help maintain your plant’s shape and size.


Heliotrope plants benefit from fertilization, which provides the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and blooming. Apply a balanced fertilizer every four to six weeks during the growing season, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pest Control

Heliotrope plants may be susceptible to spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies. If you notice any signs of infestation, such as yellowing leaves or webbing, take action immediately. Use an insecticidal soap or spray to control the pests, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Regularly inspecting your plant for signs of damage or infestation will help you detect and address any issues before they become severe.

By following these heliotrope plant care and maintenance tips, you can keep your plant healthy, beautiful, and blooming all season long. Happy gardening!

Dealing with Common Heliotrope Plant Problems

While heliotrope plants are relatively easy to grow, they may encounter common issues that can affect their growth and health. Here are some of the most common problems you may encounter when growing heliotrope plants:

Plant Diseases

Heliotrope plants are susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spot. These diseases can cause yellowing and wilting of leaves, stunted growth, and premature death of the plant. To prevent and treat plant diseases, ensure proper spacing between plants, avoid overwatering, and use fungicides if necessary.

Pest Infestation

Heliotrope plants can attract common garden pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. These pests can damage the leaves, stem, and flowers of the plant, leading to reduced plant growth and bloom. To control pest infestation, use insecticidal soaps, prune infested areas, and keep the surrounding area free of weeds and debris.


If you notice any issues with your heliotrope plant’s growth or appearance, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Check the plant for signs of damage or disease, such as yellowing leaves or wilted stems.
  • Adjust the amount of water and sunlight the plant is receiving, making sure not to over or under-water.
  • Prune any damaged or diseased areas of the plant to prevent the spread of disease or pests.
  • Consider using organic fertilizers to provide the plant with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

By taking these measures, you can overcome common problems and keep your heliotrope plant healthy and flourishing.

Extending the Blooming Period

One of the most rewarding aspects of growing a heliotrope plant is enjoying its vibrant blooms. Luckily, there are simple techniques you can use to prolong the blooming period and get the most out of your plant.

Deadheading spent flowers is one of the easiest ways to extend the blooming period of your heliotrope plant. By removing the old flowers, you encourage the plant to produce new buds and blooms. Be sure to remove spent flowers regularly to keep your plant looking neat and tidy, and to prevent it from diverting energy to seed production.

Another way to prolong the blooming period is to fertilize your plant regularly. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer applied every two weeks can provide the nutrients your plant needs to produce abundant blooms. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooming.

Finally, providing optimal growing conditions such as adequate sunlight and well-draining soil can also help extend the blooming period of your heliotrope plant. With these simple techniques, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of your heliotrope plant for even longer.

Harvesting and Storing Heliotrope Seeds

Heliotrope plants produce small, round seeds that can be harvested for propagation or future use. Knowing when and how to harvest and store heliotrope seeds properly will ensure that they remain viable for a long time.

When to Harvest Heliotrope Seeds

Heliotrope seeds are typically ready for harvest when the flowers start to fade, and the seed heads begin to dry out. The ideal time to harvest is when the seed heads turn brown and start to crack open, revealing the small, black seeds inside.

How to Collect Heliotrope Seeds

To collect heliotrope seeds, gently pluck the dry seed heads and put them in a paper bag or envelope. Label the container with the date and the name of the plant to avoid confusion. Shake the container gently to release the seeds from the seed head, then pour them into a clean, dry jar or envelope.

Storing Heliotrope Seeds

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining the viability of heliotrope seeds. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. A dark, airtight container like a glass jar or a resealable plastic bag is ideal for storing the seeds.

It’s also a good idea to include a silica gel packet or a dry paper towel in the container to absorb any excess moisture. Check the seeds regularly to ensure that there is no mold, and discard any seeds that appear discolored or shriveled.

Growing a Healthy and Beautiful Heliotrope Plant

Now that you have successfully grown and cultivated your heliotrope plant, it’s essential to continue providing the necessary care and maintenance to keep it healthy and thriving.

Watering and Fertilizing

Water your heliotrope plant regularly and deeply, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Allow the topsoil to dry out slightly before watering again. Consider adding a layer of mulch to the soil to conserve moisture and prevent weed growth. Fertilize your heliotrope plant every four to six weeks during the growing season, using a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth and flowering.

Pruning and Deadheading

Regular pruning and deadheading will help your heliotrope plant maintain its shape and produce more flowers. Prune back any dead or damaged stems, and pinch back the tips of the plant to encourage branching and fuller growth. Deadhead spent flowers regularly by snipping them off at the base of the stem to promote continued blooming.

Pest and Disease Control

Keep an eye out for common heliotrope plant pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Use an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray to control infestations. To prevent plant diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot, ensure proper air circulation around the plant and avoid getting the foliage wet when watering.

Winter Care

In colder climates, your heliotrope plant may need extra care during the winter months. Consider bringing it inside to a sunny location or covering it with a frost cloth to protect it from freezing temperatures.


By following these simple tips for care and maintenance, your heliotrope plant will continue to bloom and thrive, adding beauty and fragrance to your garden for years to come. With our easy-to-follow gardening tips, you’ll be able to grow a gorgeous plant that will add beauty and fragrance to your garden. Happy gardening!


What is a Heliotrope plant?

Heliotrope plants, also known as “Cherry Pie,” are popular garden plants known for their sweet fragrance and vibrant purple or white flowers. They are native to Peru and can grow up to 4 feet tall.

What kind of environment does a Heliotrope plant prefer?

Heliotropes thrive in full sun to partial shade environments. They prefer well-drained soil and a location that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day.

How often should I water my Heliotrope plant?

Water your Heliotrope regularly, but let the top layer of soil dry out between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can damage the plant.

When is the best time to plant a Heliotrope?

The best time to plant a Heliotrope is in early spring after the threat of frost has passed.

How do I propagate Heliotrope plants?

You can propagate Heliotropes through stem cuttings. Simply cut a 4 to 6-inch stem from an existing plant, remove the lower leaves, and plant it in a pot with well-draining soil.

Do Heliotropes attract any pests or diseases?

Heliotropes are prone to pests like aphids and spider mites. Regularly check your plant for these pests and treat them with an appropriate pesticide if necessary.

Can Heliotrope plants be grown indoors?

Yes, Heliotropes can be grown indoors. They make excellent houseplants, but they still require a lot of sunlight, so place them near a south-facing window if possible.

Are Heliotrope plants poisonous?

Yes, all parts of the Heliotrope plant are toxic if ingested by humans or pets. They contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause liver damage. Therefore, they should be planted in areas away from the reach of children and pets.

How do I ensure the best bloom for my Heliotrope plant?

Regular watering, plenty of sunlight, and a balanced fertilizer during the growing season will help your Heliotrope produce the most vibrant blooms.

Why is my Heliotrope plant wilting or losing leaves?

Wilting or leaf loss in Heliotropes can be a sign of overwatering, under-watering, or a pest infestation. Check the soil moisture levels and inspect the plant closely for signs of pests.

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