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How to Care for Heliotrope

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Although the big, showy blooms of the heliotrope plant are beautiful, it's the cinnamon-vanilla fragrance that sets the heliotrope plant apart. Plant heliotrope outdoors in a few simple steps, but wait until the weather warms as heliotrope won't tolerate frost. Plant it at nose level in a pot or hanging container to take best advantage of the heliotrope's delightful scent.

Plant heliotrope in sun or partial shade, but avoid locations where it will be in the hot afternoon sun. Heliotrope can be planted in-ground or in a patio pot or hanging container.

Keep the soil moist, but don't water to the point that it's saturated. Container-grown heliotrope plants dry out faster and require more-frequent watering than heliotrope planted in the ground.

Fertilize heliotrope once a month during the growing season, using an all-purpose liquid fertilizer applied according to the manufacturer's directions. Don't fertilize heliotrope during fall and winter.

Deadhead, or remove blooms, as soon as they fade. This will encourage the heliotrope to continue blooming throughout the season. Pinch off the tips of the plant to encourage a nice shape and bushy growth.

Bring container-grown heliotrope indoors before the first frost of the season. Heliotrope grown in the ground won't survive cold weather, but if desired, you can dig it up and plant it in a large pot to bring indoors until spring.


Things You Will Need

  • All-purpose liquid fertilizer
  • Large pot

About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.