Heliophilic plants: what they are and examples

Do you know what heliophilic plants are? If only the sun comes in your garden or balcony, 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 heliophilic plants to take better care of them.

What are heliophilic plants?

The term heliophile derives from the Greek Heliumwhich means sun, and wire which translates as lover or friend; therefore the word means lover of the sun. Heliophilic plants therefore 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 on a daily basis, 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 families (legumes), and Lamiaceae (Lamiaceae), 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 loveYou are looking for a forest)

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

The You are looking for a forest It is a deciduous tree that grows between 4 and 6 meters usuallyalthough 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 (Ceratonia siliqua)

Carob tree in field

The Ceratonia siliqua is an evergreen tree that it 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 it is an evergreen shrub of low height, because measures only 5 meters. The leaves are composed of numerous small green leaflets or pinnates. In summer it produces flowers grouped in yellow-green clusters. It resists pruning, drought and frost down to -7ºC.

Gazania (Gazania freezes)

Gazania is a type of perennial plant

The Gazania freezes 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. It 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 in height. 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, usually at the end, it produces seeds that are called pipes, suitable for consumption.

Cat grass (Nepeta Qatar)

The Nepeta Qatar is a perennial herb with erect stems that reach a height of between 20 and 60 centimetersand sometimes it goes to the subway. 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 especially like. It tolerates well frosts down to -12ºC.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

The Lavandula angustifolia is a perennial and aromatic subshrub plant that 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 chaste)

Mimosa pudica produces flowers in spring

The Mimosa chaste It is a herbaceous plant that reaches one meter in height, but in cultivation 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

La black broom it is a 1-2 meter tall shrubwhich 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 mata, 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.

Washingtonian (Robust Washingtonia)

The Robust Washingtonia it 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?

Heliophilic plants: what they are and examples

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