The Heliotrope Handbook: How to Cultivate this Sunny Superstar

Table of Contents


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The sweet aroma of heliotrope is unmistakable, and its lush display of colorful blooms is a sight to behold. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this complete guide to growing heliotrope will equip you with all the knowledge and tools you need to successfully cultivate this stunning plant.

Benefits of Growing Your Own Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Benefits of growing Heliotrope at home

  • Produces beautiful and fragrant purple flowers
  • Attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden
  • Easily grown in containers or in a garden bed
  • Tolerant of various soil types
  • Low maintenance and drought tolerant once established
  • Can be used as a cut flower in indoor arrangements

General Information About Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Plant Family: Borage family (Boraginaceae)
Plant Latin Name: Heliotropium arborescens

Plant Variations Available

Heliotrope, also known as Heliotropium arborescens, is a flowering plant that is native to Peru. This vibrant plant is a member of the Boraginaceae family and is recognizable for its beautiful clusters of fragrant purple, blue, and white blossoms.


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One of the most interesting things about the heliotrope flower is that it is named after the Greek word “helios,” meaning sun, and “tropos,” meaning turn. The flowers of this plant are known to turn towards the sun as it moves across the sky, hence the name Heliotrope.

There are several different varieties of heliotrope, and they each have their own unique characteristics. For example, the ‘Marine’ heliotrope is known for its deep blue flowers and its strong, sweet scent, which is said to be reminiscent of vanilla. On the other hand, the ‘Cherry Pie’ heliotrope has bright pink and purple flowers and a fruity, berry-like fragrance.

In terms of care, heliotrope is a relatively low-maintenance plant that thrives in full sun or partial shade. It prefers well-draining soil and needs regular water to keep its roots from drying out. It also benefits from regular deadheading to promote new growth and more blooms.

Heliotrope is a popular choice for gardens and containers due to its beautiful blooms and sweet fragrance. It is also used in the perfume industry, where it is prized for its unique scent. Whether you choose to grow it in your garden or enjoy it in a perfume, heliotrope is a beautiful and delightful plant.

Germinating Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Preferred Zones

If you’re interested in growing Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) outdoors, you’re in for a treat! These fragrant, purple flowers are a delightful addition to any garden. So, what are the best zones for growing Heliotrope?


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First, let’s start with what Heliotrope needs. This plant thrives in full sun, though it will also tolerate some shade. It prefers well-draining soil that’s kept consistently moist but not soggy. Additionally, Heliotrope likes warm temperatures and is somewhat sensitive to cold.

Given these requirements, Heliotrope does best in zones 9-11. These zones are characterized by mild winters and long, warm summers. Specifically, the plant can be grown as a perennial in zones 9-10, while it is usually treated as an annual in zone 11. However, Heliotrope can also be grown in cooler zones as long as it’s planted in a protected area that gets plenty of sun.

If you’re unsure which zone you’re in, do some research on your local climate and growing conditions. You can also consult with a gardening expert or visit a local nursery for advice.

In summary, the best zones for outdoor growing of Heliotrope are 9-11, though the plant can also be grown in cooler zones with the right conditions. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy the sweet, vanilla-like scent of Heliotrope in your garden all summer long!

Sowing Instructions

Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) is a beautiful and fragrant plant that is known for its stunning purple, blue, and white flowers. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a novice, sowing heliotrope seeds is an easy task that anyone can do with a little bit of patience and care. The following are the best methods and procedures for sowing heliotrope:

1. Choose the right time and location: Heliotrope is a warm season plant that thrives in full sun or partial shade. The best time to sow heliotrope seeds is in the spring, after the last frost has passed. Choose a location that is well-drained and has rich soil.

2. Prepare the soil: Before sowing the seeds, prepare the soil by tilling it to a depth of about 6 inches. Mix in compost or other organic matter to improve soil structure and drainage.

3. Sow the seeds: Heliotrope seeds are small, so scatter them evenly over the soil surface. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or vermiculite, and then gently press down to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

4. Water the seeds: Water the seeds thoroughly after sowing, and then regularly thereafter. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

5. Maintain a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit: Heliotrope seeds require a warm temperature to germinate. Ensure that the temperature remains around 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum germination.

6. Thin out the seedlings: Once the seedlings emerge, thin them out to a distance of about 6 inches apart. This encourages strong growth and prevents overcrowding.

7. Transplant seedlings: Once the seedlings have grown to a height of about 2-3 inches, you can transplant them to their final location. Ensure that the new location has good drainage and receives ample sunlight.

In conclusion, sowing heliotrope seeds is an easy and rewarding task that requires a little bit of attention and care. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy a beautiful and fragrant garden full of heliotrope blooms in no time at all.

Preparation Advice

If you’re looking to grow Heliotrope, you’re in luck! Known for their fragrant blooms in shades of purple and white, these beautiful plants are relatively low maintenance and easy to grow if you have the right tools and knowledge.


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To start, you’ll need high-quality soil that’s nutrient-rich and well-draining. Heliotrope prefers slightly acidic soil, so adding some peat moss to your potting mix may be helpful. Make sure to choose a pot or container with good drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom.

Next, you’ll want to give your Heliotrope plenty of sunlight! They can thrive in full sun or partial shade, but at least six hours of direct sunlight is recommended. If you’re growing Heliotrope indoors, be sure to keep them close to a south-facing window or supplement with a grow light.

Watering your Heliotrope regularly is essential to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause root rot, so make sure the top inch of soil is dry before watering again. It’s also a good idea to fertilize once a month with a balanced fertilizer to encourage healthy growth and blooms.

When it comes to pruning, Heliotrope can benefit from a little strategic clipping. Trim the tips of the branches to encourage bushier growth and deadhead spent blooms to promote continuous flowering.

Overall, growing Heliotrope requires attention to detail, but it’s well worth the effort for the beautiful blooms and lovely fragrance. With the right soil, sunlight, water, and pruning, you’ll have a thriving, happy Heliotrope in no time.

Germination Tools and Equipment

When it comes to germinating healthy heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens), having the right tools and equipment can make all the difference. Here are the best items you’ll need to ensure your seeds sprout and grow strong:

1. Germination tray or pots: These are specially designed containers that provide proper drainage and ventilation for your heliotrope seeds. You can find them in various sizes and materials, from plastic to biodegradable plant-based options.


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2. Soil: Choose a lightweight, well-draining soil mix that is enriched with organic matter. Heliotrope prefers a slightly acidic soil pH level of 6.0 to 7.0.

3. Watering can or spray bottle: Heliotrope seeds require consistent moisture for germination, so having a watering can or spray bottle on hand will help you to keep the soil evenly damp without over-saturating it.

4. Heating mat: Heliotrope seeds need warm soil temperatures to sprout, with an ideal range of 70-75°F. A heating mat can help to maintain this temperature, especially if you’re starting your plants indoors or in a cooler environment.

5. Grow lights: Heliotrope requires at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, if you’re growing your seeds indoors or in a low-light area, you may need to supplement with artificial grow lights to ensure healthy growth.


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6. Fertilizer: Once your heliotrope plants have established several sets of true leaves, you can begin feeding them with a balanced fertilizer. Look for a formula that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to promote healthy growth.

By having these tools and equipment on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to successfully germinate and grow healthy heliotrope plants. Happy planting!

Growing Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Light Requirements

If you’re looking to grow your own gorgeous heliotrope, it’s important to know that this plant requires a certain type of lighting to truly thrive. Here’s what you need to know in order to provide optimal lighting conditions for your heliotrope:

Firstly, it’s important to note that heliotropes tend to prefer bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can actually damage the plant, so it’s best to place it in a location that receives a good amount of filtered or indirect light throughout the day.

If you’re keeping your heliotrope indoors, you’ll want to make sure it’s as close to a bright, sunny window as possible without being directly in the sun’s path. This can actually vary depending on where you live and the amount of natural light your windows receive, so it may take a bit of experimentation to find the perfect spot for your plant.

If you’re growing heliotrope outside, the ideal location is one with partial shade or filtered light. This will help protect the plant from harsh sunlight while still providing it with enough light to photosynthesize and grow properly.

Overall, it’s important to keep an eye on your plant’s behavior and adjust the lighting conditions as needed. If you notice the leaves starting to yellow or brown, it could be a sign that your heliotrope isn’t getting enough light. Conversely, if the leaves start to look scorched or burned, you may need to move it away from direct sunlight. Keep in mind that these plants are quite adaptable, so with a little bit of attention and care, you’ll be able to provide the perfect lighting conditions for your heliotrope to thrive.

Temperature Requirements

Heliotrope, a beautiful and fragrant flowering plant, requires warm temperatures to thrive. In fact, it is best grown in warmer climates and is often used as an annual in cooler regions.

To produce healthy heliotropes, it is crucial to ensure that the temperature remains consistently warm, ideally around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and not dropping below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. This warmth is necessary for the plant to develop healthy foliage and produce abundant blooms throughout the growing season.


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In areas with cooler climates or during colder seasons, heliotropes can be grown in greenhouses, using heaters or heating mats to maintain the appropriate temperature. Additionally, planting heliotropes in optimum locations, such as areas with full sun exposure or near walls that radiate heat, can help to keep the temperature warm and consistent.

Growing healthy heliotropes requires careful consideration of temperature and proper care. With consistent warmth and attention to detail, these beautiful and fragrant plants will thrive and reward gardeners with their stunning blooms and sweet scent.

My Favorite Tools For Growing Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

So you’ve decided to cultivate your very own heliotrope plant – great choice! Heliotropes, also known as cherry pie plants, have beautiful clusters of fragrant purple flowers that bloom from summer to fall. To ensure that your plant thrives and stays healthy, here are some essential tools and equipment that you’ll need:

1. Potting soil: Heliotropes prefer well-drained soil that’s nutrient-rich. Potting soil formulated specifically for flowering plants will work best.

2. Fertilizer: A plant-specific, balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) will help your heliotrope grow strong and produce abundant blooms. Apply according to package directions.

3. Pruning shears: Regular pruning of spent flowers and stems will keep the plant looking tidy and promote healthy growth.

4. Watering can: Heliotropes require consistent moisture, especially during hot weather. A watering can with a sprinkler head attachment will allow for gentle, even watering.


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5. Sunscreen or shade cloth: While heliotropes need plenty of sunlight to thrive, intense heat and direct sun can scorch the fragile leaves. Consider placing a shade cloth over the plant during the hottest part of the day, or applying a protective spray to the leaves.

By using these essential tools and equipment, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining a healthy heliotrope plant that will bring you joy for years to come!

Preferred Soil Type

Heliotropes, like many plants, have specific soil requirements that are essential for their healthy growth. These requirements can be met by paying close attention to a few key factors.

Firstly, the soil pH should be around 6.5 to 7.5, which is slightly acidic to neutral. Heliotropes prefer soil that is well-drained, moist, and rich in organic matter. You should ensure that the soil has good drainage, because stagnant water can cause root rot and deprive the plants of much-needed oxygen. A good rule of thumb is to water the plants moderately, without overdoing it or leaving the soil parched.

Secondly, maintaining soil fertility is critical for the overall health of your heliotropes. Make sure your soil contains enough nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If your soil is lacking in these nutrients, you can add some organic fertilizers, like compost or aged manure, to give the plants a boost. You can also use slow-release fertilizers to ensure a steady supply of nutrients for the plants over time.


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Finally, heliotropes prefer soil that is slightly loamy and well-aerated. Loamy soil refers to soil that contains sand, silt, and clay in the right proportions, which allows it to absorb and retain moisture while still providing enough air for the roots. If your soil is heavy clay or sandy, you can amend it with organic matter to get the texture right.

By providing your heliotropes with the appropriate soil conditions, you can expect healthy growth, better performance, and a more delightful appearance. With a little attention to detail and careful nurturing, you can ensure that you have a gorgeous and thriving garden of heliotropes.

Watering Requirements

Heliotropes require consistent watering to maintain healthy growth and beautiful blooms. These plants prefer moist, well-draining soil and need to be watered regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. It’s important to avoid allowing the soil to dry out completely, as this can lead to wilting and stress.

During the hottest months of summer, it may be necessary to water Heliotropes twice a day to prevent the soil from drying out. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can cause root rot and other issues. To avoid this, allow the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

To prevent water from collecting around the base of the plant, it’s recommended to water at the base of the plant or use a soaker hose. This will help ensure that the water reaches the roots where it’s needed, rather than sitting on the surface of the soil.

In addition to watering, be sure to monitor the moisture levels in the soil by regularly checking the soil with your fingers. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water again. With consistent watering and proper care, your Heliotrope will thrive and add beautiful color and fragrance to your garden.

What You Need To Know About Fertilizing Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) is a stunning plant species that can add beauty and charm to any garden. However, for these plants to thrive, they require proper fertilization.

One of the essential nutrients that heliotrope requires is nitrogen, which is essential for the growth of healthy leaves and stems. Nitrogen promotes lush and robust foliage growth, something critical to the aesthetic appeal of the plant. You can incorporate nitrogen-rich fertilizers such as fish emulsion, blood meal, or cottonseed meal into the soil while planting, or apply them regularly as a top dressing.

Another critical nutrient for a healthy heliotrope plant is potassium. It plays a vital role in aiding the plant to build strong roots, better resist diseases, and withstand harsh weather conditions. You can add potassium to the soil through the use of fertilizers like kelp or greensand.

Lastly, Phosphorus plays a crucial role in promoting the flowering of heliotrope plants. It encourages the growth and development of healthy flowers and fruits, which are instrumental in seed production. To provide your plant with sufficient phosphorus, consider adding bone meal or rock phosphate to the soil while planting or as a top dressing during the growing season.

In conclusion, to grow healthy heliotrope plants, you need to ensure that you provide them with the right fertilizers. Nitrogen for lush foliage, potassium for strong roots and disease resistance, and phosphorus for healthy flowering, fruit development, and seed production. With the right fertilization, excellent garden soil, and ample sunshine, you’ll be able to grow healthy, gorgeous heliotrope plants with a spectacular floral display.

My Favorite Fertilizers For Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

When it comes to keeping your heliotrope plant strong and healthy, choosing the right fertilizer is essential. Thankfully, there are a few fantastic options that can help your heliotrope thrive.


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One of the top choices for heliotrope fertilizers is a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This type of fertilizer provides the necessary nutrients for healthy growth, while also releasing them gradually over time to avoid overfeeding your plant. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for the best results.

Another excellent option is a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. This nutrient is essential for strong root development and healthy blooms, making it perfect for heliotropes. Look for a fertilizer with a higher middle number (the phosphorus number) on the label. Using a phosphorus-rich fertilizer during the growing season can help your heliotrope produce beautiful, fragrant flowers.

In addition to traditional fertilizers, there are also organic options available for those who prefer an all-natural approach. One great choice is a compost tea made from natural compost and water. This nutrient-rich liquid can be applied directly to the soil around your heliotrope for a gentle but effective boost.

No matter which type of fertilizer you choose, it’s essential to remember that moderation is key. Over-fertilizing your heliotrope can lead to stunted growth, weak foliage, and reduced blooms. Always follow the package instructions and monitor your plant for signs of stress or nutrient imbalance. With the right care and attention, your heliotrope can grow into a strong, healthy, and vibrant addition to your garden.

Harvesting Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Time To Maturity

Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) is a beautiful and fragrant plant that can be commonly found in many gardens across the world. These plants are known for their clusters of small, purple flowers that are shaped like stars and their oval-shaped leaves that are deep green in color.

If you’re thinking about growing Heliotrope in your garden, it’s important to understand the timeline for their growth. It typically takes about 6-8 weeks for Heliotrope seeds to germinate and sprout, after which they will start to develop their leaves and stems.

As the Heliotrope plants continue to grow, they will start to produce their gorgeous purple flowers. This typically occurs after about 12-14 weeks of growth, but can vary based on environmental factors and how well the plants are cared for.

From the time of sprouting to maturity, Heliotrope plants typically take around 24-26 weeks to become fully mature. During this time, they will continue to grow, produce more flowers, and strengthen their roots.

While the time it takes for Heliotrope to mature can vary based on the specific growing conditions, with the right care and attention, you can expect to have beautiful, fully grown Heliotrope plants in your garden in around 6 months.

Harvest Instructions

Harvesting Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Heliotrope is a stunning, fragrant flowering plant that can add a touch of elegance and beauty to any garden. If you’re interested in harvesting your heliotrope, here’s a helpful guide on how to do it:

1. Timing is everything: The best time to harvest heliotrope is during the peak of its blooming season, which typically occurs in mid-summer. Harvesting during this time will ensure that you get the highest quality blooms and the strongest fragrance.

2. Preparation: Before you start harvesting, make sure you have all the tools you need. You’ll need a clean pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears, a bucket or container for storing the cut flowers, and gloves to protect your hands from the plant’s sticky sap.

3. Locate the blooms: Heliotrope blooms grow in clusters at the top of the plant’s stems. Identify the flowers you want to harvest and select a few of the healthiest-looking ones.

4. Cut the blooms: Using your scissors or pruning shears, make a clean, angled cut about 1/4 inch beneath the base of the flower cluster. It’s important to cut at this angle so as not to disturb the plant’s overall shape and growth pattern.

5. Store the blooms: Once you’ve cut the blooms, immediately place them in your bucket or container filled with cool water. This will help keep them fresh and vibrant. Avoid placing the blooms in direct sunlight or near any type of heat source.

6. Enjoy: Your freshly harvested heliotrope blooms are now ready to be enjoyed! Arrange them in a vase or use them to decorate your home. They’ll fill any room with their beautiful aroma and vibrant colors.

Overall, harvesting heliotrope is a relatively simple process that can be done by gardeners of all skill levels. With a little bit of preparation and care, you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of heliotrope blooms for weeks to come.

My Favorite Tools For Harvest Time

When it comes to harvesting heliotrope, having the right tools and equipment can make all the difference in efficiency and yield. Here are some of the best recommendations:


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1. Pruning shears: Heliotrope can be quite delicate, so it’s important to use sharp pruning shears to gently snip the stems. Look for shears with a comfortable grip and a fine-tipped blade for precision cuts.

2. Gloves: Heliotrope has small hairs on the leaves and stems that can irritate the skin, so wearing gloves is essential. Choose gloves made of a breathable material like cotton or leather and make sure they fit snugly for maximum protection.

3. Harvesting baskets or bags: You’ll want something to hold your freshly cut heliotrope as you move through your garden. Look for a basket or bag that is lightweight and easy to carry, with enough space to hold your harvest without crushing the delicate blooms.

4. Watering can or spray bottle: After harvesting, it’s important to keep your heliotrope hydrated. Use a watering can or spray bottle to moisten the stems and blooms as needed.

5. Floral foam or vase: If you plan to arrange your heliotrope into a bouquet, you’ll need a way to keep the stems upright. Floral foam or a vase filled with water can help ensure your arrangement looks its best.

By investing in these tools and equipment, you’ll be well on your way to a successful heliotrope harvest. Happy cutting!

End of Season & Overwintering

As the fall season winds down and the temperatures begin to drop, it’s important to start thinking about end of season care for your beloved heliotropes. These fragrant plants are known for their wonderful scent and vibrant blooms, making them a favorite of gardeners everywhere. Here are some tips to ensure your heliotropes survive the winter and thrive when spring rolls around.

First and foremost, it’s essential to give your heliotropes a good pruning before the first frost sets in. This will help to remove any dead or damaged stems and encourage new growth in the spring. Be sure to use clean, sterilized pruning shears to prevent the spread of disease or pests.

Next, it’s time to prepare the soil for winter. Add some compost, mulch, or other organic matter to help the soil retain moisture and provide nutrients to the roots. Also, make sure the soil is well-draining to prevent water from accumulating and causing root rot.

If you live in a colder climate, it’s a good idea to provide some winter protection for your heliotropes. Consider covering them with a layer of straw or pine needles to insulate them from the cold. You could also wrap them with burlap or other breathable material to shield them from the wind and snow.

Finally, it’s important to keep an eye on your heliotropes throughout the winter months. Check the soil regularly to make sure it’s not too wet or too dry, and look for signs of disease or pests. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your heliotropes survive the winter and come back even stronger in the spring. With a little bit of care and attention, these beautiful plants will continue to delight you for years to come.

Final Thoughts on Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Congratulations, you have successfully completed the ultimate guide to growing heliotropes from seed to harvest! We hope that our step-by-step instructions and valuable tips have helped you create a beautiful and healthy garden filled with these fragrant, colorful blooms.

Remember, germinating heliotrope seeds can be a bit tricky, but with patience and a little extra care, you will be rewarded with vibrant, long-lasting flowers. Be sure to keep your plants in a warm, sunny spot with well-draining soil and adequate moisture.

During the growing and flowering stage, it is important to regularly water and fertilize your heliotrope plants to encourage healthy growth and a profusion of blooms. Deadhead spent flowers to promote even more blooms throughout the season.

When the time comes to harvest your heliotrope flowers for their sensual, vanilla-like fragrance and potential medicinal benefits, be sure to do so in the morning when the oils are most potent. Dry the flowers in a cool, dark place and store them in a container for future use in sachets, potpourri, or essential oils.

We hope that this guide has inspired you to try growing heliotropes in your own garden and to enjoy the beauty and benefits of this charming flower. Happy growing!

Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

Q: Is Heliotrope a difficult plant to grow?
A: Heliotrope is generally easy to grow but requires some attention to its basic needs. It prefers full sun and well-draining soil with regular watering to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal problems.

Q: What type of soil is best for growing Heliotrope?
A: Heliotrope prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A mixture of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss works well. The pH level of the soil should be acidic, preferably around 6.0.

Q: How do I keep Heliotrope healthy and blooming?
A: Regular deadheading of spent blooms will encourage new growth and prolong the blooming period. Fertilizing every 2-3 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season will also help keep the plant healthy and blooming. It is important to keep an eye out for pests such as aphids and spider mites, and treat them as soon as they are spotted.

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