Fragrant flowers forum: Who grows heliotrope?

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Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
Jan 27, 2017 4:59 PM CST
I'm interested in starting these from seeds; does anyone have experience with them?
I read on GGate that they smell good and lures butterflies. Sounds like a great addition to have.
While the earth remains, Seed time and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease. Gen. 8:22
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Feb 28, 2017 10:27 AM CST
watching... I've tried them from seed and been disappointed in the lack of scent. I seem to remember thinking that I'd start them sooner next time, too -- like Jan/Feb, so they'd bloom sooner.
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Name: Janine
NE Connecticut (Zone 6a)
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janinilulu
Apr 1, 2017 11:29 PM CST
I do and I love them. I don't think the varieties 'Marine' or 'Mini Marine' are very scented, if at all, but the tall species Heliotropium arborescens is lovely and butterflies & honey bees love it. I grow it every year.
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Apr 3, 2017 6:48 AM CST
I'm glad you posted -- I didn't know there was a tall one! I'll have to look for seeds... next year! :-)
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Name: Janine
NE Connecticut (Zone 6a)
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janinilulu
Apr 6, 2017 6:35 PM CST
They're a little hard to find, but I'd be glad to share if you need some.
Name: Critter (Jill)
Frederick, MD (Zone 6b)
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critterologist
Apr 10, 2017 2:44 PM CST
Janine, that would be great! Do you start it early or direct sow it? Is there anything you're looking for? Or could I just send SASBE? I'm definitely trying to increase nectar blooms out there... and fragrance is always a huge plus! I can wait until fall if you don't have extra seeds now. :-)
I'm learning to dance in the rain. Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Name: Mimi
SE North Carolina (Zone 7b)
hoyasnorchids
Dec 3, 2017 12:26 PM CST
Hi all... new here and I know this post is a few months old but I thought I'd chime in, as I know folks searching on Google will be harvesting answers from old threads like this, for years to come. I do it every day and am always grateful when I can find some semblance if an answer somewhere.

I've been growing and loving fragrant indoor plants for 2 decades... I don't have a lot of experience with Heliotrope but I think I can offer some limited advice that might be helpful re: growing from seed...

About 15 years ago I was visiting a large nursery and I followed a heavenly scent, which brought me to full hanging basket of purple heliotrope. For years I have believed it to be marine heliotrope (may have just assumed, via pictures online). Anyway, I grew it indoors for about a month, and life got in the way at the time, and I let it fade and die. I was so sad and missed that beautiful scent.

So, 5 or so years later, I purchased marine heliotrope seeds on EBay and this is what I remember... the seeds are TINY, I believe you have to provide the roots heat from below, which I did, I also provided them with full spectrum artficial lights (i vaguely remember that they needed light to germinate, as most tiny seeds do) hundreds of tiny little green seedlings germinated. I took the clear dome off and lightly misted them for a couple of days, anxious to see their first set of true leaves appear, but when I went to check on them, on day 3, the entire crop of seedlings had been very quickly wiped out by fungal infection.

So, I'm not sure if the bush kind, mentioned above, has seeds just as small, but I would have 3 suggestions, based upon my experience, if anyone were going to try to grow these from seed.

1. Either use a mixture of vermiculite and perlite to sow your seeds, which will retain humidity for the tender seedlings while also providing drainage and a "close to" sterile environment. Or bake the soil you plan to use in your oven, at 350F for an hour. Let it cool off after and use that to sow your seeds on top of , to cut down on the risk of your tiny seedlings damping off.

2. Use several smaller pots, under a humidity dome, to sow your seeds. That way, you will have a chance to catch any problems early and remove problem seedlings before it spreads to them all. They are so tiny, and grow so slowly at first, the chance of there being a problem in that time, that wipes out all of your seedlings in the blink of an eye, is very high if you don't take this precaution. You may not even want to place the pots under the same dome, if space and supplies allow for that.

3. My little seedlings all germinated in a thick little patch... I didn't have much experience back then and sprinkled them too densely. I think the lack of spacing contributed to a lack of air movement and helped the fungal infection to spread so quickly, so if I were to do it again (and I will be doing it again soon) I would mix the seeds together with a handful of course sand... maybe 5-10 parts sand to 1 part seed, and I would sprinkle the seed that way.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone or "someones" out there on the internets! 🤞
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Dec 3, 2017 2:11 PM CST
Welcome! Thanks for sharing your experiences Mimi. I was following this thread as I purchased a Heliotrope this last spring and I agree, the fragrance was wonderful. Unfortunately it died in later summer due to extreme heat and I'm sure not enough moisture. It seemed that watering didn't seem to help.
At any rate, I will have another...

Whistling
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
May 28, 2018 5:30 AM CST
Are folks seeing these plants in stores this year?
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
May 28, 2018 6:07 AM CST
Now, now... I'm trying to stay out of "stores" this year. Whistling And here I was trying to be good.

Thinking about it, I need to go to that greenhouse where I found this plant. They had some unusual plants.
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Sharon Davis
Winchester Ca (Zone 9a)
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shalyn
May 28, 2018 6:19 AM CST
Hummmmmm yes I am sure that there must be a plant that must be rescued Whistling
I can almost hear it calling your name , oh dear or is it calling myyy name I better go and find out lol Rolling my eyes.
Peace , quietness , tranquility , space , a place apart , this is my garden .
Poland
gre51
Jun 20, 2018 7:31 AM CST
My mother tried it once. I remember that she did it in spring and it was growing very good; however, climate in country where I live, Poland, is not so suitable for them..Heliotropes can survive here only one year, because of frosty winters. As I remember, you need to water it regurarly and also be aware about soil where you want to grow it. Not every will be good.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
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pod
Jun 20, 2018 9:01 AM CST
Welcome @gre51 ~ do you remember how wonderful it smelled?
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Poland
gre51
Jun 20, 2018 9:16 AM CST
Yes, of course! It also reminds me about my childhood, because my mom had it when I was a young child :D Amazing memories!

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