There is something very sweet and nostalgic about this plant, with which I got acquainted in literary works before we met in real life.

What is it that I find so fascinating about heliotrope? I don't know. Maybe it's its deep purple flowers that glow like gems wrapped in dark foliage, maybe it's its cherry vanilla scent, which doesn't seem to match the flowers at all, maybe it's the way it always looks like it's brooding, like a creature of the night caught in bright sunshine, a bright sunshine it actually loves and can't do without, by the way. As its name indicates, heliotrope flowers always turn their faces towards the sun, just like sunflowers.
The heavy rains that visited us lately prompted the young clumps to develop an assortment of thick and broad leaves, deep green, a good support system for the hot summer months.

The plant does just as well when grown in containers as it does when planted directly in the garden. Pinch the new growth in spring; this will delay its blooming, but it will encourage the plant to grow bushier and produce more flowers later in the season. Fertilize lightly and water regularly, it doesn't tolerate drought.

Heliotrope is grown as an annual and it blooms all summer if conditions agree with it. The plant is actually perennial and can be moved indoors during winter, but it doesn't thrive there, you are better off getting new plants in spring.

It is a great addition to butterfly gardens, especially in mixed borders alongside sedum, butterfly weed, coneflowers, lantanas,salvias and asters.

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight"; "A Year and A Day"; "Möbius' Code"; "Between Mirrors"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.