Heliotrope is characterized by a very original feature. Its flowers, settling on a plant like inflorescences of sunflower, turn after the sun, which is reflected in the name of the plant: translated from the Greek, "helios" means "the sun", and "tropein" means "to turn."
It is not by chance that the most famous type of this open field culture is Peruvian heliotrope (Heliotropium peruvianum), common in Peru and Ecuador, because of this peculiarity, it was called the "Peruvian Sunflower". Some authors combine this view in one with heliotrope tree (H. arborescens) and heliotrope corymboid (H. corymbosum), others tend to separate them.
In the natural conditions of South America, Peruvian heliotrope is a highly branched shrub with leaves covered with tough hairs and woody branches, at the ends of which inflorescences are made of small purple flowers that look like petunias in appearance. For the sake of these flowers, which emit an excellent smell, resembling vanilla and attracting with this numerous insects, they breed this group of plants.
In room conditions, the Peruvian heliotrope grows in the form of a small plant (25-30 cm high), but you can get a tall bush and even a stem tree, which it can turn with time (in 3-4 years) in the absence of pruning, because in a year his shoots give a few centimeters growth.
Heliotrope blooms all summer, but if during this period the flowering is limited, clipping the tops of the shoots, then in the winter one inflorescence will appear on the annual growth. Immediately after flowering, it is removed, in order to have new branches, ending in inflorescence.
According to estimates by various specialists, in the Heliotropium genus (borage boraginaceae family) there are from 200 to 250 species of annual herbaceous or shrubby plants (more or less heat-loving) growing in South America and Europe, of which only some shrub species are preferred for growing.
Some American species have been used in breeding cultivated varieties with large flowers of various colors, which later became widespread in other continents. There are also wild heliotrope species in Europe - for example, low (about 20 cm) European (H.europaeum) and prostrate (H.supinum)With small but very fragrant flowers.
In the indoor floriculture of shrub forms of greatest interest is heliotrope hybrid N. hibridiumobtained from crossing H.corymlosum and H.perwianum. The heliotrope hybrid reaches a height of 30-50 cm in a pot culture (it can grow up to 1.5 m in open ground). It has wrinkled, oblong, dark green leaves. Small, very fragrant flowers (from dark purple to white) in the inflorescences-shields he appears in spring and autumn, but he is able to bloom all year round.
Since the heliotrope is light-requiring, a room that is warm and bright (even with an open sun for several hours) can be optimal for its content. At the same time, the plant is protected from direct sunlight, due to which its leaves acquire a purple hue (even burns may appear on them).
In the shade heliotrope quickly withers. Although this plant is thermophilic, it is permissible to contain it at ordinary room temperature. For winter content heliotrope is recommended to pick the brightest place. It should be borne in mind that in order for the heliotrope to bloom early, it can withstand temperatures in the winter at 15. 16 ° C (minimum 7. 10 ° C).
Room heliotrope is very sensitive to cold outside, so in the summer it can only be taken to a balcony, loggia or veranda with the final onset of the warm season, when the danger of frost is passed, but even before carrying it out it is recommended to harden it.
During the active growing season, the heliotrope is watered abundantly (the upper layer is moderately wet) and provides increased air humidity. However, it should be borne in mind that with excessive moisture in the soil the roots easily rot, especially in the winter when the room temperature is low, although watering is severely limited (but in winter the soil should be constantly wet if the room temperature is above 18 ° C) . From May to September, every ten days they do fertilizing with a very strongly diluted solution of liquid fertilizer.
The transshipment of the plant is done in the spring, trying to keep the whole lump when carrying it. Young plants are transplanted more often (as they grow), while the volume of each new capacity is increased only by a size larger than the previous one. Experts advise to pinch the tips of the upper shoots from the transplanted plants.
As a soil soil using greenhouse soil rich in nutrients, or sheet, adding sand to it. In heavy soil, the root system suffers and the plant develops poorly. At the bottom of the flower pot when transplanting necessarily arrange drainage.
Heliotrope begin to feed when the day arrives (late February), and ends at the end of summer. For this purpose, use a solution of complete complex fertilizer (once every 2 weeks), in the winter it is not done.
The stalks of old large specimens become bare as a result of the natural process of leaf fall, therefore, as the heliotrope grows old, it reduces its decorative effect. Therefore, the shoots of the plants are constantly pinching or in a timely manner rejuvenating pruning.
Heliotrope propagated by seeds and green cuttings (8-10 cm long), which can be cut in July, September or February. The cuttings are planted in a box with a mixture of peat and sand, covered with foil and kept in a shaded place.
It can be kept unheated (at a temperature not lower than 15. 16 ° C), but with soil heating of the pots (bottom) at 21. 23 ° C, rooting of the cuttings is more rapid rooting (the root system is formed then after 2-3 weeks). Cuttings should often be sprayed. After rooting, each of them is transplanted into a separate small container (10 cm in diameter), later - slightly larger, finally - in May.The seeds of the heliotrope are sown in February-March in a container with nutrient soil (temperature 16. 18 ° C), and already after 3-4 weeks shoots are clearly visible, which immediately after the appearance of the dive into small pots.
Young seedlings are sometimes planted in several pieces in one container in order to get a sufficiently bushy plant faster. Some growers cultivate heliotrope in combination with other cultures. For example, next to the magnificent purple inflorescences of the heliotrope, Saintpaulias and pelargoniums look good. However, with their joint content, the inclination of each plant to the conditions of its content in such a composition (primarily, to the moisture content of the soil substrate) is taken into account.
The most common varieties of hybrid heliotrope are called Florence Nightingale - with pink-purple flowers, Lemoines Giant - with large purple flowers, and Marina - with bluish-purple flowers.
Due to an abnormal content, heliotrope sometimes causes diseases of a physiological nature. If the stems are stretched, there is a strong lightening (even yellowing) of the leaves and no flowering, then the reason for this is a lack of light or too high a temperature in winter.
Dry ambient air also contributes to the drying and folding of the tips and edges of the leaves, so the plant should be sprayed in the summer (this is not done on sunny days because of the fear of leaf burns or the plant is shaded).
To correct this state, heliotrope is transferred to a cooler (12. 15 ° C), but illuminated place. By the way, spraying the leaves in winter reduces their abscission if the elevated temperature in the room is maintained.With an excess of soil coma moisture, souring of the soil in the pot occurs, as a result of which the lower leaves turn yellow and fall off. To improve the well-being of the plant, watering is urgently stopped, and after some earthen coma dries out, the plant is transplanted into fresh soil.
But even with excessive drying of the earthy coma, the leaves wither and fall off. In order to quickly and efficiently saturate the soil and root system with moisture, the pot is directly immersed in the water with the plant.
With long-term maintenance of the plant in a cold and damp room, the appearance of fungal disease spots (gray rot) on the leaves and stalks is possible. In this case, the affected parts of the plant are removed, transferred to a well-lit window sill in a warm room, and treated with a solution of the fungicide.
When the tips of the cuttings and root system of seedlings decay due to a fungal disease during breeding, such plants are removed and healthy plants are transplanted into fresh soil and properly maintained.
At low air humidity in a warm room, a spider mite may appear on the underside of the leaves. The colonization of a plant by moving individuals of this pest is determined using a magnifying glass, as well as by the presence of a thin delicate web and empty larval skins. With severe damage, the leaves turn yellow.
It is necessary to remove such leaves, and the remaining ones - to treat with insecticides (0.2% aqueous solution of neoron or actellica). On young leaves, sometimes aphids settle, causing them to warp. If its individuals are single, they are destroyed by mechanical assembly manually, with high occupancy, by treatment with any of these drugs.
If small white flies fly around the plant and the leaves become sticky, it means that the whitefly has settled them. Heavily damaged leaves are removed with scissors, and the plant is treated with actellic.
A. Lazarev, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Senior Researcher, Institute of Plant Protection
Heliotrope Peruvian is a perennial, rooted in a temperate climate as an annual plant, as it happened, for example, with ganani. Its bushes branch out with straight, sprawling stems up to 60 cm high. The leaves are not uniform green, darkish above and lighter below, pubescent, wrinkled. Inflorescences with a diameter of up to 15 cm, include small, fragrant, dark purple or dark blue flowers, flaming from the beginning of summer to the first autumn frosts.
It should be noted that the delightful aroma of heliotrope grown from seeds is somewhat lost in our time, due to the characteristics of the selective approach, aimed not at enhancing the aromatic properties, but at the development of decorative ones.
Therefore, the intensity of the fragrance may differ upon a detailed study of even the same variety, which is why experts before buying flowering seedlings suggest smelling the plants - most likely, some of them will smell more distinctly.
Varieties and types
The most popular of the Peruvian varieties in the gardens is heliotrope marin. It is quite compact, with an inflorescence diameter of 15 cm, dark purple flowers and dark green-purple foliage. The standard height of flowers of this variety is 45-50 cm. It takes root well and begins to bloom in the same year after sowing.
Heliotrope Sea Breeze - very beautiful variety belonging to the corymbose. Its small flowers create the illusion of easy rippling in the water. The variegated inflorescences are dark blue or purple, and the leaves are colored like those of the Marin variety. The bush can grow 45 cm from the ground. This variety is very fragrant and looks great on the curb.
Heliotrope Odyssey - It is a dense grassy bush less than 30 cm tall, with fragrant small flowers. Rich and long blooms in summer. Mainly used in landscaping balconies and in carpet flower beds.
Heliotrope pubescent - A poisonous plant that can not be used either in gardening or in other areas. It is characterized by a branchy stem from 20 to 50 cm tall, oval or almost round leaves, small flowers with curls on the tops of the branches and the stem on one side and small pubescent decaying when ripe. Distributed in the south-east of the Russian Federation, in Azerbaijan, growing along the roads and littering the wheat crops. If you find this plant in your own flower garden, know that it is better to get rid of it!
Heliotrope hybrid - grows up to 50 cm in height, has straight branched stems. Dark green foliage elongated heavily pubescent. Small flowers form inflorescences up to 15 cm in diameter with violet, lilac or white colors with a very pleasant smell.
Completely white color of inflorescences characteristic of the variety. Heliotrope Alba. At grade Heliotrope White Lady The flowers are pink, but turn white when they bloom.
Heliotrope planting and care
Planting heliotrope in the open ground is impossible without the preliminary cultivation of seedlings, due to the fact that after germination approximately 100 days pass before the inflorescences are formed.
Seeds should be sown at the final stage of winter or on the first March days in a specially prepared substrate consisting of 4 parts of peat per 1 part of sand. The mixture must be steamed and must be calcined to destroy the fungus.
After filling the container with soil, it is recommended to level it well and compact it a little, then simply sprinkle the heliotrope seeds over the surface and lightly sprinkle it on top of the ground. In the room where the seeds will grow, temperature conditions close to the room should be observed - 18–20 ° C, and 22 ° C - when sprouts appear.
With the advent of 2-3 leaves, the plants are seated in containers and watered abundantly. During the germination of seeds soil moisture in the greenhouse is necessary, for which the soil is lightly sprayed.
The heliotrope seedlings can be planted in open ground in the first days of June, when the nighttime cold spells have ended, on a sunny plot with loosened, preferably fertile, humus-rich soil.
Heliotrope is a sun-loving plant, but it does not tolerate the direct scorching rays of the sun. Pinching sometimes shoots, you can make heliotrope bloom more lush.
Some gardeners confidently believe that heliotrope should be attributed to fastidious plants, but this opinion is not confirmed if the plant is watered in the right way.
In fact, he likes moisture, but he really doesn’t like excess water, so it’s better to maintain optimum soil moisture - when it dries, it’s worth watering. Moreover, the creation of conditions of slightly increased humidity, which is typical for tropical zones, will only be beneficial by spraying.
If you make mulching of the soil with compost or peat, it will become easier to care for heliotrope, because you will not often have to loosen the soil. The loosening procedure itself is obligatory, because this is how the earth is protected from the occurrence of a crust. Fertilized soil also does not require frequent watering.
We keep heliotrope in winter
The plant can not winter in open ground. Before the onset of cold weather, he is transplanted into a pot and sent for wintering into an apartment, well-lit room. At the same time, the flower is protected from direct sunlight, as a result of which delicate leaves can acquire a non-native dark shade or even burn a burn.
Fertilizers for heliotrope
Fertilizing heliotrope is recommended throughout the season, regularly with an interval of 2-3 weeks. Liquid and highly diluted complex mineral fertilizers are excellent for these purposes. After 2 weeks after the occurrence of 2-3 leaves in the seedlings, fertilizing for the seedlings begins.
Heliotrope seed cultivation
Reproduction of heliotrope seeds is carried out in February or March in a wet sand mixture with peat. The boxes are covered with glass or film. After 3-4 weeks, sprouts will appear, then you need to move the boxes into the space with diffused light and keep the temperature around them in the region of 22-23 ° C.
Watering is better with settled water at room temperature. Seed propagation provides a heterogeneous material for planting with fast-growing seedlings, large bushes, flowering in the fall and small inflorescences.
Reproduction heliotrope cuttings
Based on the above, we can conclude that heliotropes are often bred by cuttings. It is best to cope with the role of the mother liquor old individuals, giving in the spring significantly more quality cuttings.
During the winter season, the queen cells are kept in greenhouses, keeping the surrounding thermal regime in the range of 8–15 ° C and producing moderate watering. From the 2nd half of the last month of winter and until May, they are grafted by cutting off shoots with 3-4 internodes, performing pruning of leaves to reduce the waste of moisture.
Cuttings treated with growth compounds are planted in boxes filled with humus and sand in proportions (2: 1) and placed in a ventilated illuminated place under a film or glass. While rooting occurs, the temperature needs to be stabilized at the level of 22-25 ° С, while watering the plants every day.
Уже через 18-25 суток могут появиться корни, и черенки следует рассадить в торфяные горшки с удобренным минералами разрыхленным субстратом, включающим торф, дерновую землю и песок пропорционально 4:2:1.
Первую неделю после пересадки молодняк удерживают в тенистых местах и ежедневно опрыскивают водой по 2-3 раза. Неоднократным прищипыванием саженцев можно добиться большей компактности взрослого гелиотропа. В грунт лучше высаживать на расстоянии друг от друга в 15-20 см.
Diseases and pests
- Of all the pests of the heliotrope enemies, it is necessary to isolate the flower spider mite that infects young shoots and leaves.
- Besides it, diseases can be caused by whitefly and aphids.
It is preferable to deal with all of them using the “Actellic” agent, repeating the treatment in a week if necessary. Fungicides can be used against gray mold.
Heliotrope Marin is the most popular plant of its kind since boasts very high (up to 50 cm) bushes and large inflorescences 15 cm in diameter. Its main difference from other varieties is the ability to bloom in the year of planting.
However, for growing on the territory of Ukraine is still better suited Mini Marin variety. It is distinguished by the relatively low height of very compact bushes, which, even under the most favorable conditions, stretch only up to 40 cm.
But the inflorescences on the bushes of such a heliotrope form the same large ones, the flowers have a dark purple-blue color. The plant surprises with its fragrant aroma and long flowering period.
This variety of heliotropes is also distinguished by its miniature, so that it can be planted not only as a separate plant, but also as an integral part of the flower composition. In height heliotropes Dwarf Marindrawn out only up to 35 cm, but at the same time richly covered with thyroid inflorescences with bright blue flowers.
This is about heliotrope hybridwhich is the youngest of all the varieties of Peruvian heliotrope.
It was received only in 2003, but it has already found wide distribution: thanks to its compactness and small growth of bushes, the plant is ideal for planting in containers and large floor vases.
But heliotrope baby blue - this is not only a beautiful bush, but also bright lilac-purple flowers with a very strong aroma.
For this reason, plant vases should not be placed in a room where you spend a lot of time or sleep. A balcony or terrace of a private house is better for a flower.
The beauty of this variety is just fascinating. Low bushes from 30 to 40 cm during flowering period are very densely covered with thyroid inflorescences, the flowers in which have a dark and very saturated purple color. But even more attractive in the plant is its strong aroma, which is in many ways similar to the flavor of vanilla.
Another Peruvian heliotrope is Marin Blue variety. It is a fairly large plant, the height of the bushes is about 45 cm. It is distinguished by its lush inflorescences with purple flowers.
During the flowering of this heliotrope, even at a considerable distance, you can feel the aroma that resembles the smell of cherry or cherry pie.
Another very compact heliotrope variety with bushes up to 30 cm in height is suitable for those who love this plant, but it does not tolerate the intense aroma of most of its varieties, since Princess marinait is almost invisible.
At the same time the bush differs in very large inflorescences consisting of violet-blue flowers, and has a long flowering period.
Among the stunted shrubs special attention deserves Job variety.
Its attractiveness lies in large dark green leaves that go down to the ground.
The inflorescences on the bushes are large, the flowers have a dark purple color.
During flowering on the bushes of this plant are formed very delicate pink buds, which later bloom into attractive white flowers, forming a lush inflorescence. The bush itself is very compact, spherical, about 40 cm high.
If you are looking for the most compact heliotrope variety, then you should pay attention to the plant Rigal Dwarf.
With a maximum height of 30 cm bushes during flowering very densely covered with luxurious and large inflorescences. Flowers have a dark blue color, and also differ in intensive aroma.
This is another Peruvian heliotrope variety that forms buds with a slight pink tint before flowering. However, delicate pink flowers do not appear on it, but it blooms with lush white inflorescences. The Alba variety will appeal to flower growers who like vanilla scent.
This type of heliotrope due to the color of flowers is of particular interest flower growers. The fact is that inflorescences inPlants Freigrant Domay have a very different shade that goes from rich purple to delicate lavender.
Vanilla comes from these stunted bushes. You can grow them both in open ground and in large pots in the apartment.
Due to the large number of varieties, it is easy to choose Peruvian heliotrope for planting in the country or at home.
The main thing is to foresee the size of an adult shrub in advance, as individual varieties can be quite large, and also decide whether you are ready to tolerate the strong odor of heliotrope, from which you can easily lose consciousness.