How Do I Care for a Heliotrope Plant?


Heliotrope is an old favorite of many gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts. It has a sweet, strong scent like vanilla, and perfumes an area noticeably. It takes its name from its tendency to follow the sun throughout the day, turning its flowers and leaves. Heliotrope comes in several varieties, with the classic variety having purple flowers, but others available in pink, white and lavender.

Step 1

Place a heliotrope in a good location for it. It prefers full sun in the morning, and partial shade during the hottest part of the afternoon, since the leaves can burn in full sun all day.

Step 2

Water regularly. Heliotrope likes evenly moist soil, but don't overwater; add water when the soil dries. This is especially true when you have heliotrope in containers, as they will dry out more quickly and need more frequent watering.

Step 3

Fertilize monthly for good blooming. Heliotrope in containers can take a "heavy blooming" liquid fertilizer like a 10-60-10, although outdoors you should use a more balanced fertilizer, such as 10-15-10.

Step 4

Pinch off runners with garden scissors. This is especially important when plants are young in the spring. Without pinching, the heliotrope will get leggy and not flower much. You can pinch just side shoots if you want a tall plant, or pinch off tips all over the plant for a bushier result.

Step 5

Remove faded or wilted blooms right away. This will keep the plant flowering throughout the growing season and providing its sweet fragrance longer.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Garden scissors


  • Washington State University Extension: Heliotrope
Keywords: heliotropes, houseplant care, fragrant flowers

About this Author

Kim Hoyum is a Michigan-based freelance writer. She has been a proofreader, writer, reporter and editor at monthly, weekly and daily publications for five years. She has a Bachelor of Science in writing and minor in journalism from Northern Michigan University.