Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’-Heliotrope

Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ (Heliotrope) after I brought it home on 5-5-18, #435-6.

Heliotrope, Cherry Pie Flower

Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’

hee-lee-oh-TROH-pee-um  ar-bo-RES-senz

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. Plants of the World Online lists 334 accepted species in the genus Heliotropum (as of 12-30-18 when I updated this page).


Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ flowers on 5-5-18, #435-7.

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.


Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ on 6-3-18, #452-10.

Heliotrope always makes a very attractive plant with its dark purple, vanilla-scented flowers and dark green leaves. They are an upright grower so they don’t take up a lot of space.


Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ on 7-29-18, #487-46.

Once flowers start to fade they will need deadheading to keep the plant tidy looking. They will soon send more buds.

Family: Boraginaceae
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
Soil: Well-drained
Water: Average


Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ on 8-26-18, #499-22.

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 an organically rich, well-draining, moist soil. They like a sunny location but appreciate afternoon shade in hot summer climates.


Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ on 10-3-18, #514-4.

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.


Heliotropium arborescens ‘Marine’ with Conoclinum coelestinum and Persicaria maculosa (Lady’s Thumb) on 10-5-18, #516-7.

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.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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