Sorry to disappoint you all those chocolate lovers out there, this flower is named Chocolate Cosmos for is chocolate-like fragrance but is inedible! If you want to experience and enjoy sumptuous and melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, visit here.
Known as Cosmos atrosanguineus, these flowers are easy to grow and make for wonderful flowers, which attract butterflies. Dark reddish or even almost black in color, these plants can be cultivated in indoor containers in colder climates. In hardness zones of 7 or above, these can be grown as a perennial outside. Native to Mexico, these flowers have plush vanillin scent, like most of the chocolates. As the day progresses to dusk, the flowers are at their blooming best at the evening time and the scent of chocolate also becomes more noticeable.
A species of Cosmos, the flowers became extinct in the wild and were reintroduced into the cultivation. Now wherever you see a chocolate cosmos growing up, it is a clone of the flower that was reproduced in the year 1902 by vegetative propagation.
The plant can grow up to 40 or 60cm tall and has pinnate leaves of 7-15cm long. The fleshy tuberous root is used to grow the plant by using tissue culture, root basal cutting or division method in early spring. The right time to tissue culture or divide the tuber is when you can see the ‘eyes’ on it.
Its seeds are sterile so, while it is an ornamental plant and attract bees and bugs, the pollination is of no use.
In warmer climates, it is grown as perennials whereas in colder areas, these tend to be annuals. In areas that receive extreme sun, the chocolate cosmos plant need to be organic mulched during winter.
These velvety flowers bloom on lean and long red-brown stems. The blooming season for chocolate cosmos is early summer to autumn. If you are looking for fresh cut flowers, these can be your go-to option. The flowers are bloomed in two rings, disc florets making its center and ray florets comprising six to ten broad florets. Since Mexico, the origin land of the plant is a dry area; the plants can do with once-a-week watering. The soil of the plants should be allowed to dry between the watering sessions.
The flowers prefer moist yet well-drained soil and full sun, for almost 6 hour of the day. Keep them frost-free and store them in barely moist soil in winters to keep them safe. You may want to dig the tuber and store it away in a frost-free zone if you are living in colder areas. If you are growing the plant in containers, keep them inside in moderate temperature.
Powery mildew, stem canker, molds and aphids are the main pain-points for the plants. Main problems of the plant arise from the poor water drainage, which causes stem and root rot.
A Word of Caution:
Despite how alluring the fragrance might be, note that these flowers aren’t inedible. If you have small kids at home, then don’t!