You are here

Heliotrope

Heliotropium arborescens

In 1786, while serving as Minister to France, Jefferson sent a collection of seeds and plants home to friends, including the lovely blue-flowering heliotrope: "To be sowed in spring. A delicious flower, but I suspect it must be planted in boxes & kept in the house in winter. The smell rewards the care." This flower was first discovered in Peru and brought to France sometime between 1735 and 1757 where it was a novelty much appreciated for its pleasant fragrance. It was likely not widely cultivated in America before 1800. This is the species, or wild form, of heliotrope and is likely identical to the one Jefferson knew in the eighteenth century.

The heliotrope is a garden annual with clusters of delicate, fragrant purple flowers fading to pale lavender in late spring through summer.

Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Heliotrope.
Growth Type: 
Perennial
Color(s): 
Blue, Pink
Hardiness Zones: 
Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10
Location at Monticello: 
East and West Lawn
Planting Conditions: 
Full Sun and Partial Shade
Blooming History: 
June 14, 2001 to November 15, 2001June 14, 2002 to October 23, 2002July 4, 2003 to November 14, 2003June 24, 2004 to November 5, 2004June 10, 2005 to November 15, 2005June 1, 2006 to November 15, 2006June 14, 2007 to November 15, 2007July 11, 2008 to November 10, 2008June 25, 2009 to November 16, 2009May 24, 2010 to December 1, 2010June 28, 2011 to December 6, 2011August 24, 2012 to November 7, 2012June 6, 2013 to November 15, 2013July 23, 2014 to November 21, 2014August 17, 2015 to November 11, 2015June 30, 2017 to October 6, 2017July 15, 2019

Participate

Login or register to participate in our online community.