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Chocolate Flower

Berlandiera lyrata

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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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

1 to 3 feet

Width:

Up to 2 feet

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Special Features:

Zones:

4-10

Propagation

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.

Check out these fragrant annuals for your garden.

Night-Blooming Garden

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).

Here's how to start a chocolate garden.

Plant Chocolate Flower With:

Poppy mallow
A perfect meadow or cottage flower, poppy mallow bears neon magenta blooms from late spring into fall. Its long taproot makes it difficult to transplant once established but gives the plant excellent drought tolerance. It can self-seed in the garden.
Penstemon
This North American native plant has a home in nearly every garden with flowers that hummingbirds love. Long blooming with brilliantly colored, tubular flowers, penstemons -- ironically -- have been a staple in European gardens for decades.There are many different penstemon types. The leaves are lance-shape or oval, sometimes purple-red as in 'Husker Red'. Some Western species need outstanding drainage to dry conditions and won't thrive during wet weather. However, many, such as 'Husker Red', thrive in a wide variety of conditions. Just be sure to provide excellent drainage. Mulch in areas where a type is marginally hardy.
Little bluestem
A mainstay of the now nearly lost tallgrass prairie, little bluestem was once king of regions where buffalo roamed. Today, in your garden, it's gorgeous when backlit by the sun, especially in fall when it turns a glorious red, tan, or gold. This fine-textured, warm season grass can be incorporated easily into mixed borders, meadows, and wild gardens. It has bluish or green stems and produces tan flower spikelets, which turn silvery white as they age and dry well. It is happy in most soils but little bluestem needs full sun.
Lavender
Lavender fills the early-summer garden with sensory delights: beautiful purple-tone blooms atop foliage that oozes fragrance on a sunny afternoon. Every part of the plant is infused with aromatic oil, making this a choice herb to place along pathways or near outdoor seating areas so you can savor the fragrance. Lavender varieties abound: The darker the flower, the more intense the aroma -- and the flavor in cooking.Drought-, heat-, and wind-tolerant, lavender doesn't like poor drainage, waterlogged soil, or high humidity. Raised beds can enhance drainage; surrounding plants with a gravel mulch can help increase heat around roots. After flowering, shear plants to induce bushiness and subsequent bloom. Avoid cutting plants back to the ground. Dried blooms retain fragrance for a long time; crush dried flowers to release aromatic oils anew.
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