Heliotrope, Cherry Pie Flower
Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’
Synonyms of Heliotropium arborescens (12) (Updated on 12-2-22 from Plants of the World Online): Heliotropium arborescens var. genuinum I.M.Johnst. (1928)(not validly publ.), Heliotropium arborescens var. grisellum I.M.Johnst. (1928), Heliotropium corymbosum Ruiz & Pav. (1799), Heliotropium corymbosum var. grisellum (I.M.Johnst.) Luebert (2020), Heliotropium grandiflorum Donn (1811), Heliotropium odoratissimum Gaterau (1789), Heliotropium odoratum Moench (1794), Heliotropium odorum Salisb. (1796), Heliotropium peruvianum L. (1762), Heliotropium peruvianum var. voltaireanum Paxton (1849), Heliotropium voltaireanum (Paxton) Loudon (1850), Synzistachium peruvianum (L.) Raf. (1838)
Heliotropium arborescens L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this plant. It was described by Carl von Linnaeus in Systema Naturae in 1759.
The genus, Heliotropium Tourn. ex L., was described by Carl von Linnaeus in the first volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753. It had previously been named by Joseph Pitton de Tournefort and Linnaeus gave him the credit for first naming and describing the genus.
As of 12-2-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 240 species in the genus Heliotropum. It is a member of the plant family Boraginaceae with 158 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
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I bought this Heliotrope ‘Marine’ from Wagler’s, a local Amish greenhouse, on May 5, 2018. This is the second one I have tried, the first was in 2014.
Heliotrope always makes a very attractive plant with its dark purple, vanilla-scented flowers and dark green leaves.
Once flowers start to fade they will need deadheading to keep the plant tidy looking. They will soon send more buds.
Origin: Species native to Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11b (30-40° F)
Size: 15-20” tall
Light: Sun to part shade
Heliotrope flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds and flowers right up until frost. The flowers are very dark purple but the photo looks much lighter.
Heliotrope prefers organically rich, well-draining, moist soil. They like a sunny location but appreciate afternoon shade in hot summer climates.
They are treated as an annual in mid-Missouri but are perennial in USDA zones 10-11.
Heliotrope make great bedding plants but can also be grown in containers. Since they are an upright grower they also make great plants to use in combination planters.
If you have grown them in a pot, they can be overwintered inside in bright light in a cool temperature around 50° F. Cuttings can also be taken in late summer for overwintering inside. Seed is also available for planting.
Heliotrope arborescens typically have no insect or disease issues while growing outside. Whiteflies, spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs can be a problem on plants overwintered inside.
Heliotrope is one of my favorite annuals and I always buy one if I see them at one of the local greenhouses. In 2019 I think I will buy three or so and plant them together for a fuller appearance.
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