Heliotrope Seeds - Marine
- Seed Count: 50 seeds
- Maturity Date: 70-80 days from germination
- Plant Type: Annual or tender perennial
- Origin: Native to Peru
- Height: Up to 1-2 feet
- Spread: 1-1.5 feet wide
- Light Requirement: Full sun to partial shade
- Soil Preference: Rich, well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH
History: Heliotrope, known botanically as Heliotropium arborescens, has a fascinating history that takes us back to its native land in Peru. It became popular in European gardens during the 19th century, particularly for its strikingly fragrant blooms and vibrant purple flowers. The 'Marine' variety is renowned for its especially strong vanilla-like aroma and deep purple, almost indigo blooms. Historically, heliotrope has been associated with various cultural and mystical practices. In folklore, it's often considered a plant that can help "turn one's luck around," which gives a nod to its name, as 'Heliotrope' comes from the Greek words for 'sun' and 'turn,' describing how the plant turns towards the sun.
Uses: The Marine variety of Heliotrope is a multifaceted plant that not only beautifies gardens but also serves as a delightful aromatic addition. It's a popular choice for border plantings, container gardening, and even as a houseplant. Its delightful fragrance makes it a standout in sensory gardens, and the deep purple blooms provide a striking contrast to lighter-hued plants. Furthermore, the fragrant flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, thus enhancing biodiversity in your garden. The flowers can also be used in floral arrangements and as potpourri, providing a lasting, vanilla-like scent that's popular in many homes.
Growth Habit & Planting Instructions: Heliotrope 'Marine' is a relatively easy plant to cultivate but does prefer specific growing conditions for optimal bloom and fragrance. Start the seeds indoors about 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Use a high-quality seed starting mix and plant the seeds about 1/8 inch deep. Keep the soil evenly moist and place the container in a warm location; germination usually occurs within 14-21 days. Once the danger of frost has passed, harden off the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over the course of a week, then transplant them into your garden or preferred container. The plants require a rich, well-drained soil and appreciate regular fertilization. They are best suited for full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Once established, the plant requires moderate watering, but make sure not to let the soil become waterlogged. Pinch back the tips to encourage bushier growth, and deadhead spent flowers to prolong the blooming season. With proper care, you can expect a lush plant with deep purple blooms and an intoxicating fragrance from early summer until the first frost.