Now, these Chocolate Flowers are not the chocolates you eat (except in the case of chocolate mint). Some of these plants have a chocolate fragrance to their flowers or leaves. Others have chocolate color in either foliage or blooms.
The degree of the chocolate aroma depends on the sniffer’s nose. Some gardeners detect strong chocolate scents, while others smell hardly anything.
You may not find all of them in garden centers now and may need a gift certificate instead. But when you do find them, enjoy them indoors now.
And with that certificate, plant a chocolate garden outside in the spring.
Several chocolate geraniums are available, all tender perennials, so bring them indoors in the fall. Pelargonium quercifolium ‘Chocolate Mint’ has a strong, minty scent with a hint of chocolate.
It has velvety, purple-streaked leaves and small, light-pink flowers. Plant it in a white pot, and tie a pink bow around it (to match the pink flowers). Or plant it in a pink pot, and tie a white bow around it.
P. (for Pelargonium) tomentosum ‘Chocolate Mint’ has an intense chocolate mint scent. Its large, round, fuzzy leaves have brown or chocolate zones. P. ‘Chocolate Joy’ also has leaves with purple veins and an intense chocolate scent.
P. ‘Cocoa Mint Rose’ has large green leaves and more of a mint fragrance with a slight chocolate overtone. Both ‘Chocolate Joy’ and ‘Cocoa Mint Rose’ grow to more than 2 feet tall, so plant them in a large pot indoors.
The leaves of chocolate mint (Mentha x Piperita) smell like chocolate. Add sprigs of chocolate mint to vanilla, chocolate ice cream, or to hot or iced tea.
Chocolate mint (Mentha x Piperita) has slightly bronze foliage and lilac flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Chocolate mint is a perennial in St. Louis and will overwinter well.
Too well, some experienced gardeners might say. Unless you want the chocolate mint to run rampant over your yard and maybe your neighbors’ yards, contain it in a pot. Well, maybe having the whole neighborhood smell like chocolate isn’t all bad.
Heuchera has a chocolate leaf color, not a chocolate scent. Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ has rounded, ruffled, coppery leaves that mature to dark chocolate. Heuchera ‘Chocolate Veil’ has smooth, chocolate-black leaves. Both have tiny white flowers.
The chocolate flower cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) has brownish-red flowers with a chocolate scent. This plant is not winter-hardy in the St. Louis area, but you can lift the tubers during the fall and store them until spring.
Aquilegia viridiflora ‘Chocolate Soldier has flowers with chocolate-purple petals and green sepals.
Capsicum ‘Chocolate Beauty Hybrid,’ a sweet bell pepper, bears chocolate-colored peppers that are sweet and delicious.
Akebia quinata, a vine, has shiny green leaves that hide delicate deep-burgundy flowers with a sweet chocolate scent.
Digitalis parviflora looks just like any other foxglove but produces chocolate-colored flowers.
Helianthus tuberosus, commonly known as Jerusalem artichoke, is covered with daisylike bright-yellow flowers in summer. Often its flowers have a distinct chocolate scent. Bees, butterflies and birds like this plant, not for its chocolate scent but for its bright flowers.