Chocolate Lovers Unite

The light brown seeds of the Chocolate Flower barely hint at the blossoms that wait inside. These little pods hold the promise a deliciously fragrant flower that smells good enough to eat.

A member of the sunflower family, Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata) is a Southwest native known for its fragrant, yellow daisy-like flowers.

Gardeners who love chocolate will find plenty to love about this plant, too. It’s a hardy perennial that grows in full sun and likes dry, well-drained soil. It blooms continuously from May to September.

  chocolate-flower

The Chocolate Flower is a fragrant addition
to any xeric landscape.
Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey © 2007

These xeric characteristics led to its selection as a Plant Select winner in 2004. The Chocolate Flower, sometimes called chocolate-scented daisy, is a delicious addition to any water-wise landscape design, perennial flower bed or container. It’s recommended for planting in gardens below 8,000 feet, according to Plant Select information.

One of the best uses for Chocolate Flower is as an edging plant along a walkway or close to a patio seating area to take full advantage of its early morning signature fragrance. The unmistakable smell of chocolate is always a pleasant and welcome surprise.

Be sure to plant the plant it in a hot sunny garden with other drought-tolerant plants, like Agastaches. Chocolate Flower prefers dry soil conditions, once it’s established in the garden.

Because Chocolate Flower attracts beneficial insects and butterflies to the garden, plant in groups of 3-5 plants so there’s plenty of nectar to go around. The plant grows 12-15 inches tall and when in bloom will drop its petals each day. The seed pods that remain can be used for dried flower arrangements or other craft projects.

Although the Chocolate Flower isn’t a long-lived perennial, it re-seeds quite well and will often pop up in unexpected places. Be sure to save some seeds at the end of the season to give as gifts to other chocolate lovers.

Chocolate Flower plants are available from garden centers that carry Plant Select offerings or through the High Country Gardens catalog.

Copyright © 2009 Jodi Torpey
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