his spring, many people are planting what’s known as a “Chocolate Garden.” Sounds like something straight out of Willy Wonka’s factory, right?
Well, it’s a beautiful reality. There are fragrant flowers, and edible flowers, but everyone seems to forget that there are a wealth of flowers out there that smell exactly like chocolate! (And some of them are even edible too, as a bonus.)
Before you start buying and planting all the varieties of plants out there with “chocolate” in the name, remember that not all of these will smell like cocoa.
For those of us who have green thumbs and love chocolate, but may be watching our weight, filling our gardens with flowers and shrubs that give off the delicious scent of chocolate are a must-have.
Whether your chocolate garden is planted in a window box, in your main garden, or nearest to a window or patio where you tend to sit, most chocolate plants grow best in either full sun or partial shade.
If you’re worried that planting chocolate plants will net you an unremarkable, dull garden, take heart.
Each chocolate plant in this guide has a unique look, size, and color that will ensure your garden stays varied, beautiful, and above all, fragrant.
Let’s take a look at some of the prettiest chocolate-scented flowers around! Remember, some of these beauties are edible too!
Let’s get inspired to tackle this great new trend!
1. Carolina Allspice
Carolina Allspice is a southeastern native shrub that blooms spring through summer and turns a brilliant gold in the fall. Also known as sweet shrub, Carolina Allspice thrives in USDA zones 4-9 and grows to be, on average, 8 feet tall and up to 12 feet wide.
The bark, leaves, and blooms give off a spicy, fruity, and chocolatey scent that many people find very attractive. If you choose to buy one of these plants, find one that is in bloom so you can ensure you get one with the popular fragrance.
Plant Carolina Allspice in the spring or fall in well-drained soil. They love full or partial sun, and you do not need to fertilize the plant every year. This is a great plant to add to a garden where deer are a problem, as they are repellent to pests.
2. Chocolate Cosmos
Chocolate Cosmos, or Cosmos atrosanguineus, is a native of Mexico, although it is now extinct in the wild. The plant only survives through cultivation, and produces no viable seeds. Instead, it is propagated by the division of its tubers.
The lovely dark red to maroon flowers have a light chocolatey scent, and enjoy full or partial sun. The Chocolate Cosmos blooms from mid to late summer, and does best in zones 6-11, as it is frost-sensitive.
If you are in a temperate zone, the tubers should be dug up and stored in a frost-free store over the winter.
3. Chocolate Flower
Berlandiera lyrata, or the chocolate-scented daisy, is a quarter-sized vibrant yellow daisy with striking red undersides. It’s renowned for having one of the best chocolate scents for gardens.
The small plant makes for great informal edging, but is most fragrant in groups. The flower is native to the southwest, and blooms during the night.
The herbaceous perennial can grow up to 2 feet tall. For the best blooms, water regularly, although the plant is drought resistant once established in your garden.
4. Chocolate Vine
Akebia quinata, the vanilla and chocolate scented vine is a hardy deciduous semi-evergreen that can grow up to 15 to 20 feet. From May through June, the vines bloom in lovely lilac flowers.
These plants do best in partial shade, and require regular pruning, as they can easily take over a garden. They’re favored for use on trellises, pergolas, and fences, as they grow very quickly and have an attractive fragrance.
5. Chocolate Mint Plant
The chocolate mint plant is great grown indoors or outdoors, although it must absolutely be grown in a container, as it tends to spread out of control. It’s easy to grow, loves partial sun, and needs to be watered and fertilized only occasionally.
The plant is favored as an herb, and is great for adding to drinks, desserts, and as garnishes. You may harvest throughout the growing season, unless you’d like to enjoy the lovely pink flowers that pop up in late spring and through midsummer.
6. Bird’s Eyes
These beautiful flowers are California natives and are also known as Gilia tricolor. They love full sun and can grow as tall as 2-3 feet in a well-watered garden.
They are known for their 5 bell-shaped fused petals that are a vibrant purple-indigo at the ends. These often attract hummingbirds, native bees, and even the occasional butterfly, so they’re great for those who love to watch the garden for animal life.
Bird’s Eyes are an annual wildflower, and new seeds can be started immediately after the last frost.
Heuchera, or Coral Flower, have beautiful veined foliage and love full sun or partial shade. The tall stems of bell-shaped pink flowers add another element of beauty to this plant.
Heuchera love fertile, well-drained soil, and should be mulched annually. These plants do well in USDA zone 3, and will bloom from late spring to early summer, although there are late-blooming varieties available.
Once established, you should cut back any woody growth in the spring.
8. Oncidium Orchid
The beautiful, bold Oncidium Orchid loves warm weather and bright light. The plant should be fertilized at least once a month, and should never be in standing water.
Typically, these orchids should be potted, as they are trickier to grow than more tolerant orchids, like the Lady Slipper or Moth Orchid. If you live in an area where the temperature dips below 55° at night, keep your orchid in a pot and bring it inside.
9. Himalayan Honeysuckle
Although the Himalayan honeysuckle, or Leycesteria formosa, looks like a vine, it is actually a shrub. It does well in USDA zones 6b or 7, so if you live in a high mountainous area, this plant will not do well in your garden.
The flowers start out small and white, but by midsummer they are surrounded by rich, dark red bracts. In late summer, your plants will begin producing edible fruits that are mature when they turn dark purple.
The fruits are said to taste a little like burnt caramel. Often, the plant flowers and produces fruit simultaneously, adding to the beauty of the Himalayan honeysuckle.
10. Chocolate Soldier Columbine
These beautiful perennials are ultra-fragrant, with chocolate-purple and green blooms. They grow to be between 8-12 inches tall, and may spread up to 10-14 inches.
They do best in zones 3-8, and love full sun or partial shade. The small, but fragrant blooms appear in the spring, and look gorgeous in a garden as part of the border or flower bed.