Would you like to be able to fill your garden with beautiful flowers that smell like dark chocolate? Yes, you heard that right. There’s a variety of flowers out there called chocolate cosmos. The reason they’re called that is that they emanate a strong fragrance that smells just like dark chocolate. While this is definitely one of the main points of interest when it comes to chocolate cosmos, the way the flowers look is another thing that makes them a great addition to any garden. Not to mention the fact that they’re low-maintenance as well. If this has convinced you to give chocolate cosmos a chance, today’s guide will teach you how to grow your own no matter the season.
Chocolate Cosmos Growing Guide
Before getting into the process of growing chocolate cosmos, let’s give you a bit of information about these flowers. It’s important to make sure you understand the plant you are about to grow so that you can make sure you are prepared to take care of it properly. For instance, you should know that they’re hardy perennials. This makes them the perfect option to plant in rock gardens, garden edgings, and flower beds. They’re part of the larger cosmos variety, which has 26 different species. The chocolate cosmos are also called “Chocamocha” or “Coco Chanel”, due to their scent. In fact, they’re the only type of cosmos that have a scent.
The scent isn’t only appealing to people who choose to grow this plant in their garden. Bees, birds, and butterflies also enjoy it. For many people, this is yet another reason to plant chocolate cosmos. They reproduce from tuberous roots and grow up to 4 feet tall and 24 inches wide. Their leaves have a bluish-green shade and they’re shaped like a lance. The flowers are shaped like a cup, and they have thin and tall stems. Another reason why these flowers are called chocolate cosmos is that the blooms don’t only smell like chocolate, they also look like it. They’re dark maroon and velvety (sometimes almost black), which is not something you usually see in a plant.
Their blooming season starts in late summer and can end in early winter. Still, if you manage to deadhead the plants weekly and get rid of dried flowers, you might be able to prolong their blooming time. Due to their color, shape, and scent, a lot of people grow them in order to use them as cut flowers or create a chocolate cosmos bouquet. They provide any home with a lovely look and scent. As long as you use a planting mix that is high-quality, there’s no reason why you can’t grow them in containers indoors as well. This is an option many people rely on, especially if they don’t have a large garden.
Chocolate cosmos flowers are not difficult to grow and maintain. Still, there are certain growing conditions that you should be aware of before planting them in your garden. The first thing you should know is that they’re most likely to thrive in a hardiness zone of 7, up to 10. The best place for them is an area that gets a lot of sun since they like sunny locations.
If you live in a place that gets extremely cold in the winter, then prepare to dig them up and keep them indoors. This will avoid them dying because of the low temperature, snow, frost, and cold winds. Or, as we’ve already mentioned, you can simply grow them directly in containers. That way, you can leave the containers outside when the weather is warm, and bring them inside once it starts to get cold.
The soil is also important when it comes to growing chocolate cosmos flowers. While you’re going to be able to enjoy this flower variety in almost any type of soil, the perfect soil conditions involve a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Also, make sure that the soil is well-drained and rich in nutrients. If your garden has clay soil, you might find it a bit more challenging to grow chocolate cosmos flowers. Still, this is not an impossible thing either.
Another thing you should remember regarding the soil is the fact that you have to enrich it by using organic material before planting the cosmos and during their growth. This is especially important in spring and fall. That’s when you should sprinkle it around the plants and mix it in with the soil. Even if you’re growing your plants in a container, you should never skip this step. We advise you to add an organic 10-10-10 fertilizer.
The soil should be moist, but make sure it doesn’t become soggy. If your plants are drought tolerant, they won’t require as much water in the summer. Only water them once a week, making sure the water penetrates an inch of the soil.
If you notice any cosmos blooms that have died, remember that the plant will only thrive if you remove them as soon as possible. If you live in a climate where the winters are warm, make sure to provide your plants with plenty of mulch. On the other hand, if you live in a colder climate, that means you’re going to have to grow the cosmos as annuals instead of perennials. In this case, you should dig them up in the fall and transplant them in moist peat. Keep them there during the winter to avoid frost damaging them.
As we’ve already mentioned, you should water them once a week, but not too much, because their roots might rot. Before watering them, make sure the soil is completely dry and it hasn’t preserved any of the moisture from the last watering.
When it comes to pests, you shouldn’t worry about them affecting the health of your plants. Generally, chocolate cosmos flowers are pest-free. What you should keep in mind though is the fact that they’re prone to grey mold, powdery mildew, and Rhizoctonia stem rot.
Finally, what happens if you want to propagate your plants? Chocolate cosmos flowers are unlike most cosmos types. That’s because the way to propagate them is by their tuberous roots. If you thought you can simply plant cosmos seeds and watch your plants grow, then you should know that this isn’t the case. The chocolate cosmos seeds are sterile, so no plants will grow from them.
If you’ve been loving the way this type of cosmos looks in your garden and you want to have more of them, then you’re going to have to check for cosmos roots that already contain a new growth. That growth (called a tuber) is going to develop into a plant if taken care of properly.
Now, the process of propagation depends a lot on whether you’re growing cosmos flowers as annuals or as perennials. If you’re growing them as annuals, then look for tubers in the fall, the moment you dig the flowers up in order to transplant them to a warmer place. If you’re growing them as perennials, the best time to look for tubers is in early spring. However, you shouldn’t do this every year. That’s because the process entails you digging up your plants in order to divide them. Every couple of years should be enough to ensure that you get new and healthy plants and also keep the old ones looking their best.
When you have identified a tuber that has a new growth on it, use a knife to separate it from the rest of the plant. Then, place it inside a wooden or cardboard box that you’ve previously filled with vermiculite or sawdust. You should store the box in a warm and dry area. Also, remember to check up on it regularly to make sure the tuber doesn’t shrivel or mildew affects it. If you notice any mildew, we recommend you to buy a dry fungicide and treat it as soon as possible. When spring arrives, all the tubers that survived winter are safe to plant in your garden.
Everything Summed Up
Chocolate cosmos are definitely one of the most interesting looking and gorgeous smelling flowers that one can plant in his or her garden. Especially if you’re a chocolate lover and you’d like your garden and house to smell like dark chocolate without you having to rely on all sorts of products that you can find at the store, growing chocolate cosmos flowers comes as a natural alternative that you’re definitely going to love.
The awesome thing about them, apart from their look and scent, is the fact that they’re quite low-maintenance. You can grow them both as annuals and as perennials, depending on the climate of the area where you live. This way, both people who live in areas with harsh winters, and people who normally enjoy warmer weather but also draughts, can grow this cosmos variety without worrying that it won’t survive weather conditions.
All in all, we consider chocolate cosmos plants to be one of the easiest to grow and beautiful flowers that anyone interested in gardening should consider planting and taking care of.