Chocolate cosmos for sale

How to Design and Care for Perennial Gardens

For many gardeners, there’s nothing like a full perennial border with a crisp edge of lawn.

Perennial plants are the backbone of nearly every flower garden. Unlike annual plants, which must be replanted each spring, herbaceous perennials die to the ground at the end of the season, and then regrow from the same roots the following year. People grow perennial flowers because they are such easy-care, dependable performers, and because they offer an enormous variety of color, texture and form. Here are the basics of garden design, plant selection and care.

The lifespan, bloom time, culture and form of perennial plants varies greatly. Some species, such as lupines and delphinium, are so called “short-lived” perennials, with a lifespan of just three or four years. Others may live as long as fifteen years, or even, in the case of peonies, a lifetime. Bloom time may last for only two weeks each year, or may extend over two or three months.

Some perennials, such as primroses, require deep humusy soil and plenty of shade, while others such as threadleaf coreopsis and cushion spurge wither away unless they grow in well-drained soil and full sun. Some perennials contain themselves in a nice, neat mound, while others, such as gooseneck loosestrife, will take over your entire garden. Some species should be cut back in midsummer, while others, such as hybrid lilies, may die if you remove their foliage.

There are so many different species and cultivars of perennial flowers to choose from that few people ever become completely familiar with all the options. For the perennial gardener, books are an invaluable resource. They provide photographs for identification (and inspiration!), cultural information, a description of growth habits, bloom time, color and characteristics of special cultivars. Invest in a good how-to book that has cultural information, and a color encyclopedia to help you identify plants and plan your selections.

What’s in a Name?

It may be hard to believe, but scientific plant names are used to avoid confusion, not create it. They are developed by taxonomists to ensure that the same plant is called the same name throughout the world, regardless of language. Scientific plant names are usually a combination of Latin and Greek.

Common names, such as “bleeding heart,” are often used to refer to all the plants in a genus and are useful unless you want to ensure you are purchasing a 24-inch high, spring-blooming bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) rather than the ever-blooming species known as the fringed bleeding heart, which is only 12 inches high (Dicentra eximia). To learn more about botanical names, look for a copy of Gardener’s Latin by Bill Neal (Algonquin Books, 1992).

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’: (old-fashioned white bleeding heart)

Dicentra: The first name is the genus. It is always capitalized.
spectabilis: The second name is the species. It is not capitalized.

‘Alba’: The third name, which appears in single quotes, is the cultivar (cultivated variety).

Fellow gardeners are another great source of information about perennials. They can give you firsthand details about bloom time, height, hardiness and cultural requirements, and, if you visit their gardens, you can also see for yourself what the plants really look like up close. Nothing beats seeing a plant in a garden setting, where you can observe how it is being used. You may even go home with some pass-along plants for your own garden.

There’s just no way to know how a plant will do for you unless you give it a try. If it turns out to be too tall, the color is wrong, or the plant doesn’t thrive, you can always move it and try something different.

Perennial Planting Styles

Few if any “perennial gardens” contain only herbaceous perennials. Woody plants, such as shrubs, roses, and trees, are often incorporated to provide a backdrop for the perennial plants, or are used to fill in and give mass to the bed or border. Many gardeners include annuals or biennials in their perennial gardens to provide splashes of dependable color throughout the season. Bulbs are added for early spring color and ornamental grasses for their interesting textures and late-season beauty.

Traditionally, perennial gardens have been laid out in one of two ways: a border or an island bed. A border is typically a long, rectangular flower bed that is about two to four feet deep. The classic English perennial border, which was so popular in the first half of the 20th century, was often as much as eight feet deep and 200-feet long. But for most home gardeners, a better size is about three feet deep and about 12 to 15 feet long.

Borders are usually viewed from only one side, and are located in front of a backdrop. This backdrop may be created with shrubs, a hedge, a fence or a stone wall. A well-defined front edge is important. You may design a solo border, or a matched pair. When selecting plants, keep in mind that borders usually look best when there is a repeating theme of plants and colors.

An island bed is a garden that floats in a “sea” of lawn. The shape is irregular, with gentle curves and no sharp corners. It is usually designed to be viewed from all sides, with the tallest plants positioned along the center line of the bed, and the shortest plants around the edges. Island beds look best when they are generous in size. A good size for an island bed is 8-by-15 feet, with the tallest plants reaching a height of about five feet.

Of course perennial flower gardens sometimes look nothing like a traditional border or island bed. Rock gardens break all the rules, for the objective is usually to create an irregular, natural-looking rock outcropping where tiny alpine plants can be featured.

Shade gardens are often irregularly-shaped, because they follow the natural shade patterns of the trees above. Another emerging style for perennial gardens is the large, free-form garden. In this case, the garden is defined by a series of meandering paths that lead the viewer right into and then through the plantings. Perennial flowers can also be mixed in among shrubs, planted around your mailbox, used in woodland or streamside plantings, or even planted in containers.

Arranging Your Plants

The appearance of a perennial garden depends as much upon the shapes of your plants and how they are arranged, as upon their colors.

Height: You’ll want to place the tallest plants in the back of the border, or in the center of an island bed, then work down in height, ending with the shortest plants around the edges of an island bed or the front of a border. Books and labels usually list the average mature height for a plant in bloom. Remember that many plants hold their flowers well above the foliage. This means that when the plant is out of bloom, it may be much shorter than the specified height.

Heights are also an average. When grown in poor, dry soil, a plant may be only half as tall as the same plant grown in rich, moist soil. Be prepared to move your plants around once you see how tall (or short) they really grow. Even the most experienced gardeners rearrange their plants (usually more than once!).

Width: A plant’s width, or spread, is just as important as its height. Width figures given in books or on labels are also an average. The actual width of a plant will vary depending on soils, geographical location and the age of the plant. Be careful about locating slow-growers very close to rapid spreaders. The former may all but disappear by the end of the first growing season.

Spacing: Patience is a virtue, but when most people plant a perennial garden, their goal is to create a full effect as soon as possible. The challenge is to plant thickly, but not break the bank, or create a crowded, unhealthy situation two or three years down the line. When planting a grouping or “drift” of the same kind of plants, you can put them closer together to create a massed look more quickly.

Another trick is to place short-lived plants between slower-growing, long-lived plants. Most peonies, for example, have an ultimate spread of three feet, but it may take seven years for them to reach this size. While you’re waiting, you could interplant with Shasta daisies, a fast-growing, short-lived plant that will provide a full look and plenty of flowers while the peonies get themselves established.

Drifts versus specimens: A garden planted with groupings of five or more plants of the same variety will display drifts of repeating colors and textures. In this type of garden, plants are used primarily as design elements that add up to a pleasing and integrated visual effect.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the collector’s garden, filled with onezies and twozies of all different kinds of plants. These are the gardens of people who simply love plants and want to have one of everything. The look of this type of garden may be a jumble of colors and textures, and maintenance is usually more challenging, but these gardens are about plants first, and design second.

How to Select Plants

When it comes to deciding which perennials to plant, most of us are not very deliberate about our choices. We succumb to a luscious photo in a catalog, stumble upon an irresistible beauty at the nursery, or a neighbor sends us home with a bag full of cast-offs. If you ever do set out to make an informed and deliberate choice, here are some of the things that you should think about.

Your site: Perennials, like all plants, will live longer and be healthier and more floriferous if they are planted in a location that suits them. Does your garden have sandy soil or is it heavy clay? Is it in the sun or shade? Is the soil moist or droughty? Is the pH high, low, or neutral? Is the site flat, gently sloped, or steep? A good reference book can help you figure out which plants will probably be happy in the growing conditions that you can provide.

Hardiness: If a plant is not hardy in your growing zone, it will not survive the winter. If you don’t know which zone you live in, check a USDA Hardiness Zone Map. Though knowing your zone is very important, altitude, wind exposure, soils and snow cover can have a dramatic impact on plant hardiness, effectively shifting the hardiness rating for your garden by as much as a full zone.

For best results, choose plants that are well within your zone. You will probably be tempted by those that are at or even just beyond your growing zone. If you can afford to take the gamble (financially and emotionally), it can be very rewarding to discover that you can grow a couple of Zone 5 plants in your Zone 4 garden. Where snow cover is not dependable, a winter mulch of leaves or straw can help marginally hardy plants survive a cold winter. Well-drained soil is also a benefit. Heavy, wet soils will often heave and damage plant roots.

Northern gardeners concern themselves with the minimum temperatures that a plant will tolerate, but Southern gardeners must also pay attention to zone ratings. Many popular perennials, including lupines, peonies, and garden phlox, must be exposed to a period of subfreezing temperatures to produce a good display of flowers. Other perennials will simply not tolerate long periods of heat and humidity.

Color: In working with color, aim for a balance of integration and contrast. Too much of the same color can be monotonous, yet a cacophony of different colors can be jarring rather than pleasing to the eye. You may want to organize your garden around one color; or choose a theme such as pastels, cool colors, or hot colors. You can also experiment with different color themes in different parts of your garden—hot colors by the front door and cool colors in a quieter part of the yard.

Remember that few perennials are in bloom for more than a couple of weeks each year. Most of the time, plants are green, and it is their leaf form and foliage texture that are the “color” in your garden.

Bloom time: A perennial may be in bloom for two weeks a year or for as long as three months. If your objective is all-season color, choose several plants from each bloom season. When selecting plants for a spring garden, concentrate on those that bloom during April and May. After that peak, the garden may lack color for the rest of the season, but you will have achieved a spectacular spring display. For best effect, group at least two or three different varieties of plants together that will bloom at the same time.

Remember that specified bloom time is only an average. In California, April may be the peak bloom time for bearded iris, yet in Vermont, the same plant will not bloom until early June. Recording the bloom times of various perennials in your garden will become an invaluable reference. No book, no matter how good, will be as accurate as your own observations about when plants bloom and how they perform in your own garden.

Seedling, potted or field-grown: When purchasing perennials, try to get the largest, most mature plant that you can afford. The bigger the plant, the more quickly it will fill out and the sooner it will begin blooming. Typically plants are available in pot sizes ranging from 3-inch diameter to 12-inch diameter. Pot-grown perennials can be planted from spring through fall, and will suffer minimal transplant shock.

Some mail-order companies ship their plants bareroot (without soil). Bareroot perennials are usually available only in early spring when the plants are still dormant. The roots must be kept moist, and the plant should be put into the garden as soon as possible (within a couple of days). Once the plant is in the ground and has emerged from its dormant state, it will take hold relatively fast.

A few local nurseries still offer field-grown perennials. These plants are dug up when you come for them and they need to be transplanted immediately (within a few hours) to minimize transplant shock. Field-grown perennials are usually the largest and most mature plants around, but today most nurseries only offer container-grown perennials.

Vigor: Vigor can be good, but it can also create problems. Plants that are too vigorous can invade neighboring plants and gradually take over your entire garden. Determining a plant’s propensity for invasiveness can be difficult, because poor growing conditions can render a normally invasive plant relatively tame, whereas in fertile soil, a normally restrained plant may exhibit invasive tendencies.

Look closely at plant descriptions and be wary of those described as “vigorous.” This may be a euphemism for an invasive plant that you’ll wish you never set eyes on. Perennials with a reputation for invasiveness include: bamboo, Macleaya cordata (plume poppy), Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant), Monarda (bee balm), Artemisia ludoviciana (Silver King artemisia), Lysimachia clethroides (gooseneck loosestrife), Tanacetum vulgare (tansy), Aegopodium (goutweed), and Boltonia asteroides.

Maintaining a Perennial Garden

Though most flowering perennials are dependable, easy-care performers, all perennial gardens require some maintenance. Here are the eight most important steps to ensure a healthy and floriferous garden:

1. Fertilizing
Most perennials are not heavy feeders and they will be happy with one spring application of a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus fertilizer (5-10-5). For established plantings, scratch in a good handful of fertilizer around each plant. Annual or biennial applications of aged manure or finished compost will restore trace elements and improve soil texture and water retention.

2. Watering
A perennial garden does not require as much water as a vegetable garden. Depending on where you live, if you select plants suited to your site, and mulch them well, you may not need to water at all. If you live where summers are very dry and you do need to water, try to water deeply and avoid getting water on the foliage (soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems are great for perennial gardens).

3. Mulching
By early summer, a densely planted perennial garden will shade out most weeds. But a new garden, a spring garden or a garden that is more sparsely planted, will benefit from some kind of mulch. The mulch will keep weeds to a minimum and help retain moisture in the soil.

The aesthetics of the mulch are as important as the function. Your garden will look best with a finely textured material such as shredded leaves, dry grass clippings, peanut shells, cocoa hulls or shredded bark. Big chunks of bark, newspaper or straw will overpower your plants.

4. Neat Edges
A neat, cleanly defined edge between your lawn and flower bed will give your garden a professional look. You can achieve this in one of two ways: get a nice sharp edging tool and recut the edge several times during the growing season; or install some permanent edging. A defined edge will also help keep grass and weeds from growing into the bed.

5. Pinching
Some kinds of perennials, including asters, chrysanthemums, phlox and salvias, benefit from being pinched back. Pinching creates a bushier plant that produces more blooms and is less likely to flop over. Pinch back the growing tips–using thumb and forefinger–once or twice during late spring. Not all kinds of perennials should be pinched. If in doubt, pinch a little here and there, and see what happens.

6. Deadheading
Some plants drop their spent flowers and seed heads. Others hold onto them for months, or even right through the winter. Removing spent flowers will keep your plants looking their best, and it often stimulates reblooming. It also prevents plants from expending their energy on seed production. After bloom, some plants should be shorn rather than deadheaded. This is true for creeping phlox, nepeta, hardy geraniums, daisies, pinks and lavender.

7. Staking
Many tall or weak-stemmed plants need support when they reach blooming size. Delphiniums and hybrid lilies are two prime candidates. But other, shorter plants can also benefit from some kind of support. Supports should be as invisible as possible. For individual stems, you can use bamboo canes. For entire plants you can use wire support rings. For loose and airy plants, try using a few thin branches. For best results, put the supports into position in early spring. That way the plants will hide the supports as they grow.

8. Dividing
If your perennials are happy, most of them will need to be divided every few years. They may become too large for the space; the center or oldest part of the plant may die out leaving a bare middle; or the growth may become so dense that the plant is no longer blooming well.

Use a shovel to remove the entire plant from the garden and place the root ball on a tarp. Then you can either pry the plant into pieces using two forks, tease the pieces of the plant apart into different sections, or use a shovel or knife to cut the plant into several pieces. Plants should not be divided when they are in bloom or in full growth. In all but a few cases, this is a job for early spring or late fall.

Perennial Tips for the Ages

  • When planting a new perennial garden, prepare the soil well at the outset. That may be your only opportunity to loosen the soil, remove rocks, and add organic matter.
  • If you start plants by seed, put your first-year seedlings in a “nursery bed” rather than directly into your flower garden. They will not bloom or have much of a presence until their second year anyway, and a nursery bed will allow you to keep a better eye on their performance.
  • Most perennials should be divided in early spring when new growth is only a few inches high. If you miss your chance in the spring, wait until fall. Irises are the one major exception to this rule: they should be transplanted in early summer, right after they have bloomed.
  • Keep newly transplanted perennials well watered for the first few weeks. Water deeply to saturate the entire root ball and establish good contact between the roots and the surrounding soil.
  • Most perennials prefer a pH of about 6.5, although, some prefer more alkaline or acidic soil. If you have trouble with a particular plant, check its pH requirements and the pH level of the soil in your flower garden.
  • If your plants look stressed during the growing season, or if you see disease or insect damage, feed your plants with a quick-release organic fertilizer (try a blend of seaweed and fish emulsion).
  • All plants die eventually, and some will die sooner than others, no matter what you do about it. If a plant performs poorly, try moving it to a different location. If it still is not happy, give it away or send it to the compost pile.
  • When designing a perennial garden, think about how you’ll get access to your plants to stake, deadhead, or divide them. Flat rocks can be used as stepping stones within the garden. A walkway created at the back of a border will be hidden during the growing season, but will make the bed accessible for spring and fall chores.

Caring For Chocolate Cosmos Plants: Growing Chocolate Cosmos Flowers

Chocolate isn’t just for the kitchen, it’s also for the garden – especially a chocolate one. Growing chocolate cosmos flowers will delight any chocolate lover. Read on to learn more about growing and caring for chocolate cosmos in the garden.

Chocolate Cosmos Info

Chocolate cosmos flowers (Cosmos atrosanguineus) are dark reddish brown, almost black, and have a chocolate scent. They are relatively easy to grow, make wonderful cut flowers and attract butterflies. Chocolate cosmos plants are often grown in containers and borders so their color and scent can be fully enjoyed.

Chocolate cosmos plants, which are native to Mexico, can be grown outside as a perennial in hardiness zones 7 and above. It can also be grown outside as an annual, or in containers and overwintered inside in colder climates.

Propagating Chocolate Cosmos Plants

Unlike most other cosmos flowers, chocolate cosmos are propagated by their tuberous roots. Their seeds are sterile, so planting chocolate cosmos seeds will not get you the plants you desire.
Look for roots that have an “eye” or new growth on them to start new plants.

If you are growing chocolate cosmos flowers as an annual, the best time to look for this is when you dig them up in the fall. If you are growing chocolate cosmos flowers as a perennial, every couple of years you can dig them up and divide them in early spring.

Caring for Chocolate Cosmos

Chocolate cosmos plants like fertile, well-drained soil and full sun (6 hours of sunlight a day).

Too much water will cause the roots to rot, but a once a week deep watering will keep them healthy and happy. Make sure to let the soil dry out between waterings; remember that chocolate cosmos flowers originated in a dry area.

Once a bloom has died, the plant will greatly benefit from it being removed, so be sure to deadhead the cosmos regularly.

In warmer climates, where they are grown as perennials, chocolate cosmos plants should be heavily mulched during the winter. In colder climates, where chocolate cosmos plants are grown as an annual, they can be dug up in the fall and overwintered in a frost free area in slightly moist peat. If they are in a container, be sure to bring them inside for winter.

Cosmos, Choca Mocha Plants

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Keep soil evenly moist but not wet.
  • After plants are about 6 inches tall, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
  • Tall cultivars may need staking to prevent their thick, hollow stems from breaking due to heavy rain or wind.
  • Pinch off spent flowers to encourage continuous bloom. Pinching stem tips can reduce height and encourage branching but isn’t necessary. Deadheading is recommended since it lengthens the bloom season. Cosmos plants that aren’t deadheaded will self-sow in warm regions.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
  • Remove plants after they are killed by heavy frost in fall to avoid disease issues the following year.

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The Captivating Chocolate Cosmos Flowers

Chocolate cosmos flower is a stunning little perennial from Mexico. As the name suggests, these beautiful burgundy flowers do smell like chocolate, especially at the end of a sunny day. The scent is like that of chocolate.The aroma comes from the vanillin that the flower produces; it is the same substance that gives cocoa its characteristic odor.The flower looks and smells so tempting that every chocolate lover wishes for it to be edible.The foliage of this flower is lance-shaped and glossy green.

This is a tuberous perennial which appears on long stems right above the foliage. These flowers look most attractive when they are kept hanging in a basket or a combo pot. These flowers grow to be about 12-18 inches high, or we can say about 45 centimeters in height. Chocolate cosmos flowers are also known as black cosmos. In earlier times, it was also popularly known as black Biden.

Known to encapsulate any audience with their scent, black cosmos certainly stands out from the crowd. The botanical name of the flower is Cosmos atrosanguineus, where atrosanguineus means dark blood red, so as the color of the flower. But as everybody calls it chocolate cosmos flower, people like to use their imagination and believe the flower to be of chocolatecolor. They are not even completely wrong. These flowers are at their darkest and most chocolaty color when they open. They then eventuallytransform into dark wine or redcolor over the time.Chocolate cosmos flowers have pinnate leaves that reach up to 30 to 60 cm in height. The flower also resembles the well-known sulfur cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus), a famous garden annual. The flowers are about the same sizeand shape, but different in color. The sulfur cosmos isyellow or orangecolor which is way different from these dusky brownish-red blooms.

Chocolate cosmos flower, one of the rarest in the world

The black cosmos or the chocolate cosmos flowerhas a fleshy tuberous root with a center raised area. We all know the name of the flower has chocolate in it, but we are yet to discover why these flowers have ‘cosmos’ in the name too. The flower has a unique appearance. The central part of the flower adds beauty to the elegant and attractive leaves.The flower opens in a particular shape which is of cosmos with velvety petals.An interesting fact about these flowers is that they became extinct in the wild. However, the florists began to grow them once again. If you happen to see these chocolate cosmos, you will most probably find a clone of it. They were reproduced by vegetative propagation in the year 1902.

Owning to their deep burgundy color, these flowers are growing in popularity with the brides. When mixed with white or green colors, these accentuate and transform the whole arrangement from basic to something extraordinarily beautiful. These delicate flowers are sure to create memorable centerpieces, boutonnieres and wedding bouquets. Their breathtaking beauty can easily make anyone fall in love with black cosmos.These beautiful cosmoses have a velvety texture. They are deep burgundy in color and are so close to being chocolate blooms. Having them in your bouquet is a striking addition. Chocolate cosmos have a very royal smell, and they are admired by many for their wayward stems and dainty flowers. Theyadd charmin bouquets where there are contrasting flower and they go well against light colored flowers like white, peach or blush.If you are planning the wedding for a bride who is a great chocolate fan, then this is the flower for you!

Where to buy chocolate cosmos

Commonly grown for decorative purposes or as cut flowers, chocolate cosmos enhances the beauty of any floral arrangement. Chocolate cosmos as a plant can be found at very few places for sale. One such place from where you can buy chocolate cosmos flower for sale on Whole Blossoms. Known for their quality and timely delivery, they are amongst the best flower dealers in the United States. Before shipping the flowers to the final destination, they prepare the flowers for their journey by following proper hydration methods.They provide a valuable service by giving shoppers access to fresh flowers online that can be delivered just about anywhere at any time that too quickly and simply. Their extensive network of professional workers and their specially picked flowers allows them to ensure that they deliver nothing but the best locally and globally. So, if you are looking for any online florists who can help you with fresh flowers for wedding arrangements, this is the best place for you. They also ensure their customers a cut above the rest at unbeatable prices. If anybody can provide you with a rare flower like chocolate cosmos flower for sale, they have got to be the best!


Cosmos is a genus of around 25 species of annual and perennial plants in the family Asteraceae from Mexico. Two species frequently used as annual bedding plants are Cosmos bipinnatus (pink, white) and Cosmos sulphureus (orange and yellow). The word ‘cosmos’ derives from the Greek ‘kosmos’ for order or adornment. See Revision of the genus Cosmos for historical details.

Cosmos atrosanguineus is commonly called chocolate cosmos; previous names include Bidens atrosanguineus and black bidens. At the end of the 20th. century, gardening pundits firmly placed it in an interesting band of plants described as extinct in the wild and surviving in cultivation as a single non self-fertile clone. Other examples are the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus) and tiger lily (Lilium lancifolium). The situation was not so simple and by 2010 there were reports of Cosmos atrosanguineus plants producing viable seed and the appearance of named cultivars, see plant patent 12587072.

This species was originally found in Zimapán, Hildago, Mexico. It is said to have been introduced to cultivation in 1835 at Ipswich by William Thompson (born 1823, and later to found Thompson and Morgan) who received seeds from Mexico and passed the plant on to Joseph Hooker at Kew. Hooker then described it in the botanical literature. Popular through the early part of the 20th century, by 1970 the only widely known population was at Kew, from which the single non self fertile clone was propagated. Seemingly whilst the pundits spoke, fertile forms were quietly growing in gardens in New Zealand, and this is where the new cultivars and seed have appeared from.

There has also been mention in the PBS list of seeds being collected in Mexico. A discussion in the light of the species not being extinct begins here.

In 2016 seed was offered on the PBS list and a commercial source appeared.

Someone wrote to the PBS saying that “a self fertile clone was patented in NZ by Russell Poulter in 1996. under the name Cosmos atrosanguineus ‘Pinot Noir’. It is has small flower and sets 10-30 seeds per flower. After ‘Pinot Noir’ was developed another North Island plants breeder and licensed propagator released sterile clones (3-4) to the market all patented in NZ. I understand all chocolate cosmos on the market come from ‘Pinot Noir’ seeds and all are sterile. The source of the seed lives in the same area that ‘Pinot Noir’ was developed”. The idea here is that the fertile form escaped into gardens in NZ from a plant breeding programme. However the source of the seeds insists the opposite happened. Another patent describes ‘Pinot Noir’ as “unpatented”, it reveals that breeding of chocolate cosmos had been going on for some time.

More information can be found in The Story of Cosmos Atrosanguineus by Graham Rice in The Plantsman for June 2017.

The Latin term atro means dark and sanguineus means blood-red. The roots are similar to Dahlia tubers and cultivation is similar to Dahlias, with the tubers being put somewhere frost free for Winter (see this posting for crucial differences). It gets its common name from producing a fragrant chemical constituent of vanilla, often chocolate has vanilla added to it.

The centre of the flower is composed of a number of florets, each of which has its own petals. As is typical for Asteraceae there are five stamens with anthers that are fused into a tube, pollen is released inside this and pushed out by the developing style. The florets open one by one, overall this gives the effect of pollen being produced first and then later all the florets being in a pollen receptive state.

First photograph by Jacob Uluwehi Knecht, rest by David Pilling. The fourth annotated photograph is of the centre of the flower. The next photograph shows (arrowed) styles breaking through the anthers. The last photo is of a style with developed stigmatic tissue. Given the history above, these photographs are of the same plant; flowers are on stems over three feet high.

Photograph 1 is of roots along with a one pound coin which has a diameter of 22.5 mm, the stem is towards the top right. Photos 2 and 3 are of developing seed. Photo 4 is of seed received from 2013/2014 SRGC seed exchange; visible on the end of the seed are the remnants of the two styles (left hand end of top seed, right hand end of bottom seed). Photo 5 shows shoots in spring.

Photograph 1 shows the contents of a packet of seed, the numbers by each seed are the weights in milligrams (see Cleaning Seeds). Seed was placed in a zip lock plastic bag with moist kitchen towel and kept at room temperature (around 65 °F), germination started within a couple of days. Photos 2 and 3 show the seed from photo 1 which weighed 11 mg. The seed which weighed 3 mg was the only one to not germinate; no surprise; yet it was one picked for the seed photo above; showing it is not easy to tell good seed by eye. Photo 5 is one plant grown from the seeds; by the end of July it was full size and flowering. Photo 6 compares a flower of the usual clone (right) with the flower of a seed grown plant; this particular situation (of an old flower and a new one) exaggerates the differences. It seems that pollen from the seed grown plants produces seeds easily.

Cosmos atrosanguineus ‘Chocamocha’ is a new cultivar, widely available in 2012. It is shorter than the usual one at around 40 cm, and according to vendors has redder and more strongly scented flowers. The first photos trace the development of one flower over three days; Cosmos flowers do become lighter with time. In the first photo the green bracts at the back of the flower are visible; the petals around the outside are provided by special ray florets. The last two photos compare ‘Chocamocha’ (left) with the common form.

Cosmos diversifolius is a lilac flowered species related to Cosmos atrosanguineus.

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Fabulous, rich velvety-maroon-to-almost-black, chocolate-scented flowers open over a very long period from early summer right into the frosts of autumn. Amazed growers cannot resist smelling this wonderful perfume which comes from a chemical constituent very similar to vanilla! Although available for many years as sterile plants, viable seeds have never been produced, but after a spontaneous mutation occurred, one plant was discovered with just a few fertile seeds, and plants grown from these seeds will also produce a small number of fertile seeds. Incredibly, these plants vary in stature and colour of flower, some being very dark, almost black, as illustrated! Mature plants vary from tight compact clumps with short-stemmed blooms, up to large branching beauties with very long stemmed flowers which are ideal for cutting. Flowers range from small to opulently-large, whilst the fragrant petals vary from notched or feathered to oval and entire, as shown in the picture. Just a few named clones currently exist, one of which is known in the trade as ‘Chocamocha’ a beautiful, top-selling dwarf form of this plant which has redder petals than many of the forms these seeds will produce. Originally from Mexico, this rare and lovely plant is now described as extinct in the wild, but you now have the opportunity to grow your own new variety. We collect laboriously by hand, and one at a time, just a very small limited number of good fertile seeds of this legendary and incredibly valuable plant, hence the very high price.

There are many chocolate colored flowers available, but Chocolate Cosmos gets a special boost. I give it this rating because, not only does it have a lovely dark chocolate fragrance, but it is also one of the top 10 rarest flowers in the world. The plant is a perennial and is easy to grow and a stunner in the garden.

Imaging walking through your garden and getting a whiff of dark chocolate with a hint of vanilla wafting from a pretty chocolate colored flower. You have just happened upon a chocolate cosmos!

Chocolate Cosmos has a lovely Chocolate color and Dark Chocolate Fragrance.

This variety of cosmos is a native to Mexico, but has been extinct in the wild for over 100 years.

Photo credit: Ali Express

Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) is a perennial plant with a fleshy tuberous root. The flowers are red to maroon brown with a center raised area. The plant has a dark chocolate fragrance that becomes more noticeable as the day wears on.

The center of the flower forms in a cluster like appearance and opens into the traditional cosmos shape with velvety petals. Once the flower has died, the plant will benefit from deadheading, which will encourage additional blooms.

Once open, the flower has a cupped appearance but keeps the stunning cluster center that makes it so interesting. The color can vary from reddish brown to deep chocolate.

Photo credit Flickr – Tanaka Juuyoh

If you can find a plant, it is fairly easy to grow, as are all Cosmos. Chocolate Cosmos can get by on rather dry soil, as long as it is amended. Avoid waterlogged conditions, or the tubers will rot.

Chocolate cosmos makes wonderful cut flowers and does a great job at attracting butterflies to your garden. The Clumps get larger with each passing year. The plant likes lots of sun and a well draining soil. It is hardy to about 20 degrees but can be dug up and stored for the winter the way you do with dahlias.

Raised beds and organic mulch help to maintain even moisture. Propagation is by division of the tubers. This is best done in early spring or fall.

Chocolate cosmos should be grown in a border or in containers where the flowers and fragrance can be appreciated up close. They make very good cut flowers.

This plant comes with both good and bad news. The good news is that it is a perennial, so once you find one you don’t have to replace it every year (as long as you dig it up and save it). The bad news is that it doesn’t throw fertile seeds, so this plant only propagates by its roots.

I grew cosmos for the first time a few summers ago. It is prolific when it comes to bearing flowers and a delight in my garden.

Chocolate Cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus), as a plant, can be found in limited amounts for sale at Burpee, New Garden Plants, and Joy Creek Nursery. I have seen seeds for sale on Amazon, but cannot vouch for them, since the plant throws infertile seeds. Another plant which is available as seeds is Osiria rose , which are sold on Amazon, and likely will not grow.

Have you had any luck growing Chocolate Cosmos?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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