These sweethearts are temperate perennials usually grown as annuals and growing a heliotrope plant will be an additional pleasure for those who live in places with hot, dry summers. They are drought and heat tolerant and deer hate them. Today, heliotrope flowers come in varieties of white and pale lavender, but the hardiest and most fragrant is still the traditional deep purple our grandmothers loved.
Their leaves are long ovals of dark green. They are long bloomers that begin flowering in summer and offer up their fragrant bounty through the first frost. Heliotrope plants grow in one-sided clusters that follow the sun, hence the name from the Greek words helios (sun) and tropos (turn).
The directions for how to grow heliotrope are short, but they do have a few requirements for healthy growing. A heliotrope plant needs at least six hours of sun a day and prefers morning sun. The hotter the climate, the more afternoon shade they need. They appreciate rich, loamy soil and even moisture, particularly if planted in containers. They don’t do well in heavy clay.
There is one warning that should accompany any discussion in the care of heliotrope plants. All parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested. So keep them away from children and pets.