Heliophilic plants

Do you know what heliophilic plants are? If in your garden or balcony only the sun arrives, you may have some, since they grow in places that are exposed for hours to the rays of the sun. They depend so much on it that when they are kept indoors or in the shade their stems quickly lengthen in search of light.

At first, this may make us happy because their growth rate is accelerating, but in reality, it is something that should concern us: when they become ethiolate they become very weak, and it is not uncommon for them to fall or bend due to not being able to support their weight. . So let’s see what and what are the heliophilic plants to take better care of them.

What are heliophilic plants?

The term heliophile derives from the Greek helium , which means sun, and phylum which is translated as lover or friend; therefore the word means lover of the sun. Therefore, heliophilic plants are those that need to be in sunny areas to be able to live, grow, and develop normally .

Contrary to the sciophiles, which are the ones that grow in the shade, our protagonists must be located in places where the Sun shines on them, for hours, and daily, so that they can perform their functions and be healthy.

In this group we find the heliotropic plants. These have a very peculiar characteristic, and that is that they move their leaves and flowers in the direction of the star king. They do it in response to the blue light emitted by the Sun, and as examples we have the sunflower or the gazania.

Types of heliophilic plants

There is a great variety of Sun-loving plants: trees, shrubs, succulents, palm trees, and so on. Most belong to the Fabaceae ( legumes ) and Lamiaceae (lamiaceae) families , although there are species that are from others. Next we will talk about some of them so that, in this way, you know where to put them in case you want to buy them:

Tree of love ( Cercis siliquastrum )

The tree of love is a small tree that can be planted at home

Cercis siliquastrum // Image – Wikimedia / Batsv

The Cercis siliquastrum is a deciduous tree that usually grows between 4 and 6 meters , although it can reach 15 meters. Its crown is rounded and fills with beautiful pink flowers in spring, before the leaves sprout. Resists up to -7ºC.

Carob tree ( Ceratonia siliqua )

Carob tree in field

The Ceratonia siliqua is an evergreen tree that can measure up to 10 meters in height, but it is difficult for it to exceed 5 meters . Its crown is rounded, and branches several meters from the ground. It produces dark green, paripinnate leaves, as well as fruits called carob beans that are used as food for livestock. It resists drought very well, as well as frosts down to -7ºC.

Caesalpinia ( Caesalpinia gilliesii )

The Caesalpinia Gilliesii is an evergreen shrub low rise, as measured just 5 meters . The leaves are composed of numerous small green leaflets or pinnates. In summer it produces flowers grouped in greenish-yellow clusters. It resists pruning, drought and frost down to -7ºC.

Gazania ( Gazania rigens )

Gazania is a type of perennial plant

The Gazania rigens is a perennial herb that reaches a height of 20-30 centimeters . Its leaves are lanceolate, with a toothed margin, green on the upper surface and whitish on the underside. It produces flowers similar to daisies during spring and early summer, of varied colors: yellow, red, orange, bicolor. These open with the Sun, and remain closed on cloudy days. Resists cold and frost down to -4ºC.

Sunflower ( Helianthus annuus )

Sunflowers need direct light to grow, because they are heliophilic plants

The Helianthus annuus is an annual cycle herb that can measure up to 3 meters high . It develops an erect stem with green, stem-shaped leaves. Its flowers are grouped in inflorescences composed of yellow bracts that serve as petals. In summer, normally at the end, it produces seeds that are called pipes, suitable for consumption.

Cat grass ( Nepeta cataria )

The catnip is a perennial herb with erect stems that reach a height of between 20 and 60 centimeters , and sometimes reaches the meter. The leaves are cordate, have a toothed margin and a hairy underside. Its flowers are lax and pedunculated spikes, yellow and pink in color. Likewise, it must also be said that it is aromatic, since it gives off a citrus aroma that cats tend to like especially. It tolerates well frosts down to -12ºC.

Lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia )

The Lavandula angustifolia is an aromatic subarbustiva perennial and reaches a height of approximately one meter . Branches a few centimeters from the ground, developing stems from which lanceolate leaves sprout. Its flowers are lavender in color and bloom in spring. Its cultivation in hot and dry regions is very interesting, since it can live with little water if it is in the ground. In addition, it supports frosts down to -7ºC.

Sensitive mimosa ( Mimosa pudica )

Mimosa pudica produces flowers in spring

Image – Wikimedia / H. Zell

The Mimosa pudica is an herbaceous plant growing meter high, but in culture rarely exceeds 50 centimeters . The leaves are bipinnate, and have the peculiarity that they close as soon as they are touched, or when an insect lands on them. The flowers are round inflorescences, and pink in color. Can’t stand the cold.

Black broom ( Cytisus scoparius )

The black broom is a heliophilic plant

Image – Wikimedia / Willow

The black broom is a 1-2 meter tall shrub that produces few and very small green leaves. From spring to early summer its yellow flowers bloom in great numbers. It resists drought and frost down to -7ºC, but you should know that it is considered an invasive exotic species in the Canary Islands, as well as in other parts of the world, including the United States and South Africa.

Thyme ( Thymus vulgaris )

Thyme is a heliophilic plant

The Thymus vulgaris is a subshrub, also known as a bush, that reaches a maximum height of 40 centimeters. It develops erect, woody stems that branch well. The leaves are oval in shape and green. During the spring it blooms, producing pink flowers. It resists frosts down to -7ºC.

Washingtonia ( Washingtonia robusta )

Image – Wikimedia / Alejandro Bayer TamayoImage – Wikimedia / Argo Navis

The robusta Washingtonia is a palm tree that reaches a height of 35 meters. Its trunk is robust, measuring up to 40 centimeters thick at the base. Its leaves are fan-shaped and have spiny petioles. It blooms in spring, producing pendulous inflorescences. The fruits are spherical, black and measure 0.5 centimeters. It resists drought, as well as temperatures down to -6ºC.

Did you know heliophilic plants?

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