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Sea Lavender

Heliotropium gnaphalodes L.

  • Common Name: Sea Lavender (Argusia) (other common names: Sea Rosemary, Bay Lavender).
  • Scientific Name: Heliotropium gnaphalodes L. (Other names it is known by: Tournefortia gnaphalodes or Argusia gnaphalodes).
  • Family Name: Boraginaceae
  • Origin: Coastal native to southeastern Florida from Brevard County to the Keys. (Bermuda, the Caribbean coast of Central America, Bermuda, Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula), and Venezuela.
  • Height: 5’
  • Width: depending on how much you choose to tame down this sprawling plant, it can form colonies from 5’ -  20’ wide.
  • Growth: Fast growing in youth but slows as it matures. 
  • Zone: 9B – 12B
  • Light Needs: Full sun
  • Salt Tolerance:  High
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Sandy, free-draining, nutritional requirement is low, alkaline to neutral or slightly acidic
  • Soil Moisture: Average to moist drained soil.
  • Drought Tolerance: High
  • Pests/Diseases: Occasional branch dieback or root rot.
  • Growing Conditions: This evergreen, mounding-to-sprawling shrub can grow to be 10’ tall, although usually it is shorter. It can form colonies that measure more than 20’ wide.
  • Characteristics: This evergreen succulent has leaves that are simple and it blooms repeatedly throughout the year. The flowers are rose/mauve and under 2”. The fruit are brown when matured.
  • Propagation: By softwood cuttings, seeds or ground-layering.
  • Wildlife: Attracts butterflies.
  • Facts: Endangered in Florida because of coastal development. They trap sand and stabilize dunes, thereby facilitating the establishment of other plants. It has a chemical in it that is released when the leaves start to rot that male butterflies use to attract their mates.
  • Designer Considerations: It has a high wind and salt tolerance so it great for planting at a beachside residence. And because it can handle drought, it is great for xeriscaping. The flowers are good for drying and preserving. They go well with native porterweed, sea purslane, chapman’s cassia, scaevola, beach elder, and beach cocoplum. Used for planting in masses, hedges, groundcover, small specimen plants, and dune reclamation.​


Butterfly Garden

Sea Lavender