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Monday - April 10, 2006

From: Clearwater, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation
Title: Cultural requirements for Heliotropium angiospermum in Florida
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

What are the cultural requirements for Heliotropium angiospermum?

ANSWER:

Heliotropium angiospermum, often called Scorpion's' Tail, is a plant that likes disturbed soil and, within its range, is often seen in rocky or sandy areas. Some researchers have found that potted Heliotropium angiospermum does well in compost-rich soil.

It is usually said to prefer sun to part shade and is considered a good native shade plant for Florida. Though it is somewhat drought-tolerant, it may need supplemental water during dry spells.

Its native range reveals that it is not very tolerant of cold. It ranges from northern South America north through the West Indies, Central America, and Mexico to Florida and the southern tip of Texas.

It blooms and produces seeds throughout the year and can expand rapidly under favorable conditions, so much that some gardeners deadhead it to keep it within bounds. Tall grasses, however, may limit its spread. Scorpion's Tails in South Texas have been observed to increase when taller grasses are cleared away.

A South Texas friend of mine found that it transplants easily. He moved one that had come up in a neighbor's rock garden into his prepared garden soil. It adjusted quickly and is now spreading seed and attracting hordes of butterflies. One of its other common names is Butterfly Heliotrope.

Native plant nurseries and native plant societies in your region may be able to give you more information. In addition to checking our National Suppliers Directory, you might also contact the following Florida nursery websites, whose databases indicate that they carry the plant:

www.floridanativeplants.com

www.wilcoxnursery.com
 

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