The Heliotropium belongs to the Boraginaceae family of rough-leaved plants and it certainly lives up to its family name with its wrinkled leaves which are slightly rough to the touch. Originating from the Andes in Peru, the English name for the Heliotropium is ‘Vanilla Plant’. So it should not come as a surprise to learn that when the wind is still, this plant will welcome you with its sweet, vanilla-like fragrance. It is the plant’s large blue flowers that give off this vanilla-like fragrance, mainly at sunrise and sunset. This plant attracts butterflies throughout the summer on account of its delightfully scented flowers. The flowers are purple and similar to lavender in colour. The name “Heliotropium” consists of two parts: the ancient Greek word ‘helios’ means ‘sun’ and ‘tropein’ means ‘to turn’. This name refers to the tendency of the plant to always turn its leaves towards the sun. In the past, this plant was often used as a bedding plant in the grounds of castles and manor houses.
Where to put the plant on your patio or balcony
The Heliotropium needs plenty of heat, food and sunlight in order to thrive. Its ideal position is a sunny spot on a patio or balcony or in a conservatory but preferably not in direct sunlight.
Caring for your Heliotropium
With the right care, this plant will remain a sight to behold all summer long. During the summer, you should water your plant every day. Make sure that excess water can drain off through a hole in the pot. Give your plant extra food once every two weeks. If you think that your plant has grown too big, prune any long branches that you find. Use pruning shears to remove faded flowers in order to give new flowers more room to grow.