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At home on the plains, mesas, and grasslands from Colorado to Texas and south into Mexico, chocolate flower blooms from late spring until frost and year-round in warm regions. Pair this North American native with other natives to create a wildflower meadow with food and shelter for local pollinators and wildlife. Easy to grow from seed, chocolate flower (also known as chocolate scented daisy) is a great plant for cottage gardens and perennial borders.
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Chocolate Flower Care Must-Knows
Chocolate flower is a tough perennial with excellent drought tolerance. It grows best in full sun and well-drained soil, but tolerates a wide variety of soil conditions—from sandy loam to clay. Water chocolate flower regularly during the first growing season to help it establish a strong root system. Water infrequently after the first season, because excess moisture will cause the plants to develop floppy stems.
Chocolate flower reseeds readily in optimal growing conditions. If desired, prevent reseeding by deadheading plants right after they finish blooming. Gravel mulch around plants in rock gardens will also cut back on reseeding. If plants become leggy and overgrown in midsummer, cut stems back by half to encourage fresh, compact foliage and a new flush of flowers.
In Zones 4 through 6 blanket chocolate flower with a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch in late fall. Marginally winter hardy in some areas, chocolate flower is especially prone to winter damage in planting spots that are poorly drained. In spring cut chocolate flower back to 2 to 3 inches above the soil level.
Chocolate flower, like a handful of other perennials, blooms at night. The chocolate-scented, daisylike flowers open at twilight, and their cocoa aroma flows through the garden in early morning. Other great night-blooming plants include moonflower (Datura), night phlox (Zaluzianskya), flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata), and four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa).