Growing and Caring of Heliotrope Plants

Growing and Caring of Heliotrope Plants
Growing and Caring of Heliotrope Plants | image source: The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

Heliotropes (Heliotropium arborescens), which are frequently used as outdoor bedding plants, can also be cultivated indoors as houseplants, bringing color and a pleasant scent into your home. Breeders have recently released new types with variously colored flowers as the plant has grown in favor among outdoor gardeners, but the purple heliotrope is still the most common.
Unfortunately, the heliotrope plant is harmful to animals in all of its components. The majority of pets and animals stay away from heliotropes since they are not highly tasty despite having an alluring smell. In any case, you need to make sure that this houseplant is kept out of the reach of any curious family pets.

Heliotrope Care

Heliotropes can be grown indoors as houseplants with the right care, even though they are normally cultivated outdoors in garden beds and containers. It’s crucial to plant your heliotrope in a potting container with drainage holes in addition to giving the right growing conditions. Due to the fact that heliotropes prefer continually moist soil, good drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging and root rot.


Full-sun plants called heliotropes need a lot of time in the sun in order to bloom. In the absence of a grow light or a plant placed in a west-facing window, this can be challenging to accomplish indoors.


Heliotrope grows best indoors in potting soil that is loamy and well-draining. The majority of common houseplant soil blends will work fine, or you can make your own loamy mix by blending one part potting soil, one part peat moss or coco coir, and one part perlite.


Don’t allow the soil dry up and keep it evenly moist but not soggy. Once the plant has finished blooming and the weather is cooler, reduce watering slightly.

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Temperature and Humidity

Heliotropes thrive in warm, dry environments, which makes them ideal for growing inside. They dislike extreme heat and humidity, and they are highly sensitive to cold weather. In USDA zones 9 to 11, they are capable of year-round outdoor growth.


Due of their strong feeding habits, these flowering plants will require frequent fertilizer during the active growing season. For promoting blooming, phosphorus-rich fertilizers work best, however balanced fertilizers can also be used. Avoid using fertilizers high in nitrogen, which will promote foliage growth and prevent flowering. Every two to three weeks during the spring and summer, fertilize your plant.

Kinds of Heliotrope

There are several other common heliotrope kinds available, but the cultivators that flower the most frequently are as follows:

Princess Marina
Mary Fox
Florence Nightingale
White Lady
White Queen


Even indoors, pruning is a crucial part of heliotrope maintenance. Regular deadheading and pruning will promote a fuller growth habit as well as consistent blooming throughout the growing season.

Propagating Heliotrope

Anytime during the active growing season, stem cuttings in soil can be used to multiply heliotropes (spring and summer). The simplest technique to begin cultivating this flowering shrub indoors may really be to start cuttings from an established outdoor plant. These steps should be followed to propagate heliotrope by cuttings:

  • Take stem cuttings of 4 to 5 inches from an established plant, making sure to make the cut slightly below a leaf. Additionally, you should avoid using woody stems and obtain cuttings from stems that are still green and fleshy.
  • The lower half of the cutting should be cleared of leaves, and the end should be dipped in rooting hormone.
  • Put the cutting(s) in a pot with pre-wetted soil and place the pot in an area with strong indirect light.
  • Avoid placing the cuttings in direct sunlight and keep them evenly moist.
  • The cuttings should start to take root after a few weeks, at which point you may begin gradually exposing the cuttings to more direct sunlight.
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How to Grow Heliotrope From Seed

Heliotropes can be grown from seed in addition to through propagation. Although you can technically start the seeds for a houseplant at any time of the year, most people start their seeds 10 to 12 weeks before the final frost. Heliotrope seeds must be started successfully at a temperature of between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so a seed warming mat is necessary. The seeds should germinate in 28–42 days if the soil is consistently moist.

Common Pests

Even when planted indoors, heliotropes are not particularly susceptible to pests or diseases, but you should watch out for a few common houseplant pests. Your heliotrope may become infested with aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, fungus gnats, and whiteflies once they spread from other houseplants. Until the infestation is controlled, treat infected plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Getting Heliotrope to Bloom

Since they typically receive less sunshine indoors—a crucial need for strong, dependable blooms—heliotropes might be more challenging to get to bloom. Make sure your heliotrope is located in a bright, sunny area indoors, fertilize it frequently in the spring and summer, and maintain the soil moisture at all times to promote profuse blooming. Consider relocating your heliotrope outdoors during the warmer spring and summer months and overwintering it indoors as a houseplant if you are still having trouble getting it to bloom indoors.

Common Problems With Heliotrope

Heliotropes are typically trouble-free and low maintenance, but they may have more problems when grown indoors due to inadequate lighting or watering. Watch out for the following issues.

Dropping Leaves

If your heliotrope is losing leaves, your watering plan needs to be adjusted since it is not getting enough moisture. Make sure to maintain the soil properly moist and to prevent it from drying out.

No Flowers

If heliotropes aren’t flowering inside, it’s usually because they aren’t receiving enough water or sunlight. Make sure to use phosphorus-rich fertilizer as well, since this will promote blooming.

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TINOLOADED is an online platform where the founder "Ali Kenneth" shares to you "Garden Care Made Easy" tips which helps you Keep Your Garden Healthy and Beautiful All Year Round. Garden Equipment For Houseplants, Landscaping, etc.

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