Plants in Focus – Heliotropium arborescens

21 June 2013

Our Plant in Focus for June is Heliotropium arborescens.

Heliotrope has also been called “Turnsole,” after its tendency to turn its flowers and leaves toward the sun over the course of each day. And at night it readjusts itself to face eastward, to be ready for sunrise. That tendency is at the root of the name heliotrope, too: it means to move with the sun.

There flowers are very fragrant and can flower for most of the year indoors. Feed fortnightly with a water-soluble fertiliser that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen (10-60-10), throughout the growing season (March – October). You will need to keep pinching them back to create a bushier plant.

Health Fact: Heliotrope oil is excellent for aromatherapy uses – to scent soaps, massage and bath oils and of course as a perfumed body oil. The smell is magnificent.

Environment: When grown indoors, the ideal light would be high direct to high indirect light. However the hotter the climate, the more afternoon shade they need, to avoid their foliage becoming burnt.

Care: The amount of water needed will depend on the quantity and quality of light the plant receives. If given the ideal light, keep plant moist but well-drained at all times.