Heliotrope is a genus of flowering herbaceous plants consisting of about 250 different species. All heliotropes turn their leaves to face the sun to maximize the amount of light absorbed. Heliotropes have dark green foliage and bloom in summer and fall. The flowers are purple and grow in clusters. Heliotrope plants grow as annuals throughout most temperate regions, but can be transported indoors before winter and replanted the following year after temperatures rise.
Plant heliotropes during early spring about one week after the final frost of the year. Choose a location that receives between four and six hours of direct sunlight each day and that has fertile, well-drained soil.
Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the soil surrounding heliotrope plants to increase water conservation and to increase the fertility of the soil. Start the layer at least 2 inches from the base of the heliotrope to allow plenty of room for growth.
Water heliotrope plants once per week during spring, summer and fall. Increase watering to twice per week during periods of drought when at least one week has passed without significant rainfall.
Feed your heliotrope plant three times per year in late spring, mid-summer and early fall. Use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for proper application.
Transplant heliotrope into a small container filled with potting soil just before the first frost of winter if you live in an area where winter temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring the plant inside and keep it in a cool, sunny location with an average temperature of about 65 degrees. Water once per week, but do not fertilize. Replant outdoors the following spring after the threat of frost has passed.