Heliotropium arborescens [hee-lee-oh-TROH-pee] [ar-bo-RES-senz] is a species of flowering plants from the family Boraginaceae along with the Nemophila baby blue eyes flower and Echium Pride of Madeira.
It is native to Peru and known by the common names:
- Cherry Pie Plant – due to its unique scent
Some people think it smells more like a fruity dessert, while others believe it has a more vanilla-scented fragrance.
Heliotropium Arborescens Plant Care
Size and Growth
This low growing plant is hardy to grow in zones 9 to 11.
At full maturity, plants reach a height of 1’ to 4’ feet with an equal spread.
It also comes in varieties with much more compact growth of only about 10” inches.
Flowering and Fragrance
The plant flowers with small star-shaped flowers in shades of blue, purple, white, or lavender.
They cluster together and are characterized by a strong scent of vanilla.
Light and Temperature
The flowers on the Cherry Pie plant move with the sun. They thrive best in a spot getting plenty of sunlight.
This will also help the flower fragrance become more pronounced.
If you grow them indoors, then a sunny spot near a south-facing window will be ideal.
The plant can also tolerate growing in partial shade.
These plants are hardy down to 41° degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in a zone where the temperature drops below 41° degrees Fahrenheit, bring the plant indoors during the winter months.
Watering and Feeding
Cherry Pie plant needs plenty of water to grow well during its growing season.
It is not a plant you should let dry out between waterings.
Keep the soil moist at all times but not drenched during the hotter months.
In winters, you can water sparingly.
You can feed container plants while they are growing every two weeks with a liquid water soluble fertilizer.
Plants growing in the ground don’t need as much feeding and can be given fertilizer every month alone.
Soil and Transplanting
This plant does not enjoy rich soils as it leads to less attractive growth.
The plant will also become more prone to insects and diseases in rich soils.
Choose a well-draining soil that holds moisture without becoming waterlogged.
This plant enjoys soils with a pH between mildly acidic to mildly alkaline.
Grooming and Maintenance
Cherry Pie plant can be pruned back in spring to remove dead flower heads.
This will help keep the plant nice and compact.
You may also like: Echium Plants
How to Propagate Heliotropium Plants
You can propagate Cherry Pie plant from seeds.
Germination can take between a month to forty-five days.
Plant seeds right before the last spring frost.
It will allow them time to germinate, provided the temperature is maintained between 70° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also propagate this plant through cuttings. The best time to do this will be in late summer.
Heliotropium Pest and Diseases
Cherry pie plants are not prone to insects or diseases.
However, they may occasionally fall prey to spider mites, especially if the plant is grown indoors.
You can control this by using a water spray or homemade insecticidal soap.
A common problem with Cherry Pieplant is leaf browning and leaf dropping.
This occurs when the plant has been left to sit in soggy soil.
It can be treated easily by giving the plant good drainage and aeration.
When consumed, Cherry Pie plant is extremely poisonous for humans and animals alike, so take care to keep children and pets away from it.
Uses For Cherry Pie Plant
This is a beautiful and fragrant addition to your garden.
Plant them close to your windows so the fragrance can waft inside or grow them along more colorful annual plants to make your garden look cheerful all year around.