We grow heliotrope – a flower that will conquer you with its aroma
Choosing flower cultures for your garden flowerbed, you should definitely pay attention to the charming heliotrope, which will complement any landscape and create a unique emphasis on the site. The lush inflorescences of this plant will not only please with its high decorativeness, but will also fill the entire surrounding space with the delightful aroma of vanilla.
Due to this rare property, the heliotrope is widely used not only in floriculture, but also in the perfume industry, where it has long been used for the manufacture of perfumes and various cosmetics. In addition, this amazing flower has another unusual quality: during the day it unfolds its inflorescences to the sun as it passes through the sky (translated from Greek “helios” means the sun, and “trope” means a turn).
The homeland of the heliotrope (Heliotropium), belonging to the Boraginaceae family, is South America, from where it spread to many countries. But if in a tropical and subtropical climate this flower grows in one place for many years, then it invariably freezes in the winter and therefore it is cultivated in the open ground as an annual plant.
However, this quality does not prevent the heliotrope from winning the hearts of gardeners. The eye is attracted not only by its thyroid inflorescences, composed of many small flowers and sometimes reaching a diameter of 20 cm, but also large dark green leaves of an obovate shape, having a wrinkled or wavy texture and covered with small pubescence.
Depending on the variety, the bushes of this plant are from 20 to 60 cm in height, and the inflorescences can have dark purple, bright lilac, blue or white. And therefore, a catchy and fragrant heliotrope can act as an additional element of any group planting, and its undersized representatives will look spectacular in hanging flower pots and street flowerpots.
The heliotrope grown from seeds blooms after 3-4 months. In order to fully enjoy the flowering, which lasts until the onset of steady cooling, it should be sown for seedlings in late February or early March.
Such seed, most likely, will produce bushes of different heights, which will be inappropriate when arranging a group planting in a flower garden. It is better to purchase a package of seeds in a specialized store.
The soil mixture, which must be fertile and loose, can be prepared independently. To do this, mix ripened humus, sand and peat in equal proportions. A ready-made substrate designed for growing flower seedlings is also suitable. But in either case, before planting seeds, seedlings should be steamed or spilled with a strong solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection.
After sowing the heliotrope seeds in a box filled with moist soil, they fill up with a layer of the earth no more than 1-2 mm. Then the container is covered with a film and left at a temperature of +18 … + 20 ° C.
The film will protect the seeds from drying out
The emergence of seedlings takes from 1 to 3 weeks, after which the film should be removed and rearrange the container on a light window sill. The heliotrope is kept at a temperature of +20 … + 23 ° C, periodically watered, and 12-14 days after germination, it is fed with any complex preparation according to the instructions.
With the appearance of two real leaves on the seedlings, you need to plant them in separate pots with a depth of at least 9-10 cm. A week after transplanting, it makes sense to repeat top dressing with any fertilizer for seedlings.
Heliotrope seedlings develop better in individual pots
When the seedlings grow to 10-12 cm, you need to pinch each point of growth. This procedure stimulates the appearance of lateral shoots and makes it possible to subsequently obtain more lush and abundantly flowering bushes.
Transplant to the ground
Hardened seedlings are planted in open ground when the threat of freezing frost completely passes – in late May or early June. The heat-loving and photophilous heliotrope is placed in an open sunny place, the soil for it is previously digged with the addition of organic matter. On heavy soils, it is good to add sand for digging, and, on the contrary, add clay to sandy soil.
Seedlings are planted in open ground in late May or early June
Seedlings are transplanted by transshipment into wells located at a distance of 30-50 cm (depending on the strength of growth of a particular variety). Then slightly compact the earth around the plants and water it abundantly.
The plant is a densely leafy bush up to 60 cm high and decorated during flowering with blue or violet inflorescences with a diameter of about 10-15 cm.An adequate number of varieties and hybrids were bred on its basis, as well as when crossing with corymbose and stem-barking breeders. They have taken root in our personal plots and every year they find an increasing number of fans.
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