Heliotropum arborescens

Fragrant Heliotrope Heliotrope is flat-out gorgeous with splendid large green leaves and heavy heads of purple blossoms replete with a marvelous, heady scent of vanilla. I have two planted side-by-side and I'm hoping that next year they'll come back with considerable vigor. This plant follows the course of the sun. After opening, it gradually turns from the east to the west and during the night, turns again to the east to meet the rising sun. Heliotrope means to follow the sun.

In warmer zones, this lovely plant can be grown as an evergreen shrub, blooming through the winter, which it has done for me. My plants have bloomed constantly so far. I expect it to slow down considerably during the hot summer months and come back strong in the fall. The plant does prefer full sun, but I have it in a spot where it gets afternoon sun. Because Florida's sun seems much stronger, I felt that would be sufficient.

Heliotrope, a very popular plant in the Victorian period, can be successfully grown in all zones, but north of Florida, it will be an annual. Remove faded flowers to promote new blooms.

Spring 2002: I've added 5 more heliotrope to my gardens. All will get a half-day of sun. I did discover that slugs also enjoy this plant. Once they become more active, the plant should be checked two or three times a week for damage.

The heliotrope says ‘devotion and faithfulness’ in the language of flowers.