Heliotropium curassavicum

Salt heliotrope

Plant Type: Perennial
Sun: Partial Shade, Sun
Drainage: Adaptable
Water: Occasional, Regular
Height X Width: 2' X 2'
Santa Clara County Local: Yes
What do these mean?



The salt heliotrope is a peculiar little plant. It occurs in a wide variety of plant communities in California and beyond, from coastal wetlands to the arid deserts. The little white flowers bloom in a row on a curved inflorescence, looking something like the suckers on an octopus' tentacle. The salt heliotrope grows as an open little mound with gray-tinted leaves. The flowers appear in abundance in spring, and then sporadically throughout the summer. It will go semi-dormant in the winter then spread via rhizomes in the spring. Although tolerant of salty and/or alkaline soil, salt heliotrope is adaptable to a variety of soil types. It may also be grown in a dark pot which will show off its light foliage and intricate flowers. I first discovered this plant while camping along Coyote Creek in Henry Coe State Park. It was growing among the rocks on the bank of the creek. The unique flowers and foliage intrigued me. I was fortunate to later find some in cultivation at the Theodore Payne Foundation in LA County.


Deer Resistant: No
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Deciduous