HELIOTROPIUM Heliotrope (half hardy annual)

Once the Heliotrope or Cherry Pie was a popular summer plant, sharing a place in countless Victorian gardens alongside Fuchsias and Geraniums, but its day is now past. The problem is that each individual bloom is tiny, but the flower-heads are large and the fragrance is very strong. An excellent foil for showy yellow flowers such as Marigolds, but a poor choice for cold and exposed gardens.

VARIETIES: Hybrids of H. peruvianum are available in several colours – ‘White Lady’ (white), ‘Lord Roberts’ (dark blue), ‘Vilmorin’s Variety’ (purple) and so on. But the range in today’s seed catalogue is strictly limited – the only common one is ‘Marine’ (1.5 ft. royal purple, dark foliage).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives best in full sun.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 1.5 ft.

Spacing: 1 ft.

Flowering period: June-September.

PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Cuttings can be taken from greenhouse plants in spring.

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