Heliotrope, Vanilla flower. Blue sage - Heliotropium arborescens


to the genus heliotropium belong about two hundred and fifty species of plants, widespread in most of the temperate zones of the planet; Heliotropium arborescens is a herbaceous, perennial, evergreen plant, originating from Perщ. The leaves, dark green in color, are wrinkled, with deeply marked veins; in spring and summer it produces small flowers of deep purple, white or lilac, gathered in large racemes, which bloom in succession; the flowers of H. arborescens give off an intense scent of vanilla. This plant is often grown in hanging baskets, to better enjoy the scent of flowers; generally it reaches the 40-50 cm of height, it is therefore indicated for the cultivation in container, but also in the borders. All parts of the heliotrope are toxic if ingested; from the flowers an oil used in the perfume industry is extracted.


It is advisable to place the heliotrope plants in a sunny place, where they can enjoy a few hours of shading in the afternoon; specimens of vanilla flower, also called blue sage for the characteristic flowers they produce, can withstand temperatures close to zero, but in places with very cold winters it is advisable to cultivate the heliotrope in a container, in order to store the vases in a cold greenhouse when the autumn cold arrives; often Heliotropium arborescens is grown as an annual.
To obtain a compact and densely branched shrub it is advisable to cut the specimens of vanilla flower grown in the ground, in early spring.


Blue sage plants do not tolerate drought, especially during the very hot months; from March to October it is therefore good to water the specimens of vanilla flower regularly, wetting the ground in depth, always allowing the soil to dry slightly between one watering and another, but in such a way that it can retain a certain degree of necessary humidity for plants and checking that water stagnation does not form which could compromise the health of blue sage specimens. In the vegetative period, supply the heliotrope specimens with fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15-20 days.


the heliotropium arborescens are grown in a rich, very well drained, dissolved and fresh soil; you can use a good universal soil, mixed with little sand or perlite.
The ideal soil allows a correct drainage so that the formation of water stagnations dangerous for the development of vanilla blossoms is avoided.


The multiplication of the plants of this variety to obtain new specimens takes place by semi-woody cutting in spring, sometimes the twigs root with great ease and the cuttings can be rooted directly at home; in autumn and spring it is possible to proceed with sowing.

Heliotrope, Vanilla flower. Blue sage - Heliotropium arborescens: Pests and diseases

Specimens of this genus appear not to be affected by pests or diseases. For this reason it is not necessary to intervene with preventive treatments based on insecticide products.
It is possible that plants of this kind show signs of suffering if the environment in which they live is excessively dry and the humidity in the air is too low.