What Is a Heliotrope Flower?


Quick Answer

A heliotrope flower is a cluster of white, lavender or deep purple flowers that grows on the heliotrope plant. The flowers are fragrant and smell reminiscent of cherry pie and vanilla. The heliotrope blooms in summer and continues until first frost.

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What Is a Heliotrope Flower?
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Full Answer

Heliotropes are tropical perennials but are typically grown as annuals. They do best with at least six hours of full sun and moist, well-drained soil. The plant grows between 1 to 4 feet high and resembles a shrub. Its leaves are dark green and oval shaped. All parts of the heliotrope are poisonous to both humans and animals, and most wild animals do not bother trying to eat the plant, as it has an unpleasant taste.

Gardeners can Increase the flower's fragrance by grouping multiple plants together or by placing them in direct sunlight. The sun's heat can increase the potency of the flowers. Heliotropes also do well grown in containers. They can be brought in during the winter months and set on a windowsill to be treated as a regular houseplant, so long as they get direct sunlight. The name heliotrope was derived from the Greek words helios and tropos, meaning sun and turn, because the flowers follow the sun across the sky.

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