Plants that smell like chocolate

If you love chocolate and its warm aroma, grow these chocolate scented flowers. These plants are easy to grow in both the garden beds and pots.

If you love chocolate, chocolate scented flowers and plants are must-have in your garden. Several plants and flowers that smell like chocolate or with their chocolate brown color can be a good addition to your chocolate garden. Plant these perennials/annuals in the garden or in containers on your patio, balcony or rooftop garden where you can enjoy the fragrance of chocolate issued by the pleasant wind.

1. Chocolate Daisy

It is also known as the chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata) due to its delicious chocolate like smell. It is a yellow-flowering perennial nectar plant that not only smells good to humans, but is also an allurement for bees, bumblebees, and butterflies.

2. Chocolate Cosmos

Chocolate cosmos adorn itself with amazing deep brown or chocolate colored flowers that emit a smell of rich chocolate. This perennial grows up to 30 inches tall in the full sun to partial shade position. It enjoys a rich, moist soil and is hardy warm temperate and subtropical climates under USDA zones 8 to 10. You can expect a chocolate scent to be the strongest in the early evening after a warm summer day. It is a drought-tolerant plant and easy to grow.

3. Black Salsify

As garden a plant, the Black salsify (Scorzonera hispanica) is too little known since most appreciate only the edible lower part of the plant, namely the root. Its dandelion-like large yellow blooms emanate a soft delicate odor reminiscent of chocolate. The fragrance is most intense in morning hours and from the afternoon it subsides.

4. Carolina Allspice (Sweetshrub)

Carolina allspice is a shrub that doesn’t exceed the height of 2-3 m, you can also grow it in containers. This amazing plant is not only useful for its fragrant flowers that smell like chocolate but also for foliage that emit a cinnamon-like odor. It also produces an edible and delicious spice. Just snip off its twigs and allow them to dry out in the sun, then smash up the bark and use it like cinnamon.

5. Chocolate Mint

Grow chocolate mint in a container or on the ground to add a hint of minty chocolate odor to your garden and food. This perennial grows well in USDA zones 3 to 9b. Plant in partial sun but beware when you plant it directly on the ground as it can be invasive.

6. Chocolate Orchid

Sharry baby orchid is a sweet chocolate scented orchid. It is one plant that can bring the chocolate smell in your room. Place this plant in a well-lit spot away from intense direct sunlight that is high in humidity. Grow it indoors, on an east-facing window where it would receive soft morning sun would be perfect. Also, place the plant in a tray of pebbles filled with water to increase the humidity.

7. Chocolate Vine (Akebia Quinata)

This vigorous perennial vine is famous for its chocolate scented flowers. Its fruits are edible too and you can also grow it in pots. The unusual flowers look amazing and bloom prolifically in full sun to partial shade.

Chocolate. Plants. Put ’em together and you’ve got one of the hottest trends in gardening. If it weren’t enough that there are a number of plants with “chocolate” in their name, (Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles’ and Eupatorium rugosa ‘Chocolate,’ for example), there are several plants that smell like chocolate as well. Here are a few of the best.

Berlandiera lyrata (Lyreleaf Greeneyes, Chocolate-scented Daisy, Chocolate Flower)

Berlandiera lyrata is the most chocolately-smelling of all chocolate-scented plants. A night bloomer, so your garden will smell like cocoa in the morning. Zone 4-10. Full Sun.

Cosmos atrosanguineus (Chocolate Cosmos)
A must have for the chocolate garden. Plants form a medium-sized clump of dark green leaves, bearing cup-shaped blooms of deep burgundy-red, with the distinctive fragrance of dark chocolate. Sun. Zones 8-9.

Akebia quinata (Chocolate vine, Five-leaf akebia)

A deciduous to semi-evergreen twining vine with a chocolate scent, – Akebia quinata has clusters of rounded leaves and racemes of captivating purple-brown blooms with a spicy fragrance. Warning: potentially invasive if left to own devices.
Zone 4 but deciduous in zones 4 through 6. Height 20′ to 40′. Full sun.

Mentha piperita cv. ‘Chocolate’ (Chocolate Mint)

Chocolate mint doesn’t really taste like chocolate to me, but lots of people claim it smells like a combination of chocolate and peppermint. Who cares when it’s got lovely bronze-green leaves. 12-24″ tall. Sun to part shade.

Gilia tricolor (Bird’s Eyes)

This annual California wildflower is deliciously fragrant. Meadow plantings. Full sun. Height 3′.

(Now only if they tasted like chocolate…)

Chocolate Flower Farm is a Washington-based specialty nursery offering “chocolate” (scented as well as coloured) perennials.

Read more about scent in the garden in Scent for all Seasons.

25 Plants for a Fragrant Chocolate Garden

Most of these plants have been bred to capture the beautiful dark red, brown, and purple colors. They look absolutely striking next to contrasting foliage. And paired with chocolate-scented plants they will complete your chocolate-themed garden.

  • Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioide ‘’Chocolate Mint’) Annual, heat tolerant.
  • Columbine (Aquilegia ‘Chocolate Star’ ‘Single Black’ ‘William Guinness’ ‘Chocolate Soldier’, ‘Black Barlow’) Perennials. (zones 3-9)
  • Coneflower / Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizard’) Perennial. (zones 3-9)
  • Coralbells (Heuchera x villosa ‘Mocha’) (zones 4-9)
  • Dahlia (Dahlia Chocolate Sundae and Karma Choc) Store them for the winter in colder climates. (zones 7-10).
  • Daphne Houtteana (February Plum Daphne) Deep purple to black leaves.
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Sweet Hot Chocolate) Perennial (tuberous root). Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. (zones 1-24)
  • Dianthus / Sweet William (Dianthus ‘Black Adder’) (zones 4-10)
  • Eupatorium (Eupatorium rugosa ‘Chocolate’) (zones 5-9)
  • False Indigo (Baptisia ‘Chocolate Chip’) (zones 4-8)
  • Geranium (Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’) (zone 5-8)
    • Hollyhock (Alcea rosa nigra) Biennial. (zones 3-9).
    • Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’) (zones 4-9)
    • Iris (Chrysographes ‘Black Form’) (zones 4-9)
    • Loosestrife (Lysimachia congestiflora ‘Persian Chocolate’) (zones 6-9)
    • Morning Glory (Lpomoea nil Chocolate ). Check that it’s not invasive in your growing zone.
    • Pineapple Lily (Eucomis comosa ‘Oakhurst) (zones 7-10)
    • Sunflower (Helianthus annus ‘Chocolate Cherry’) Annual.
    • Sweet Pea (Lathyrus odoratus ‘Streamer Chocolate’) Annual (zones 7-10)
    • Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana ‘chocolate smoke‘) (zones 10-11)
    • Violet (Viola x wittrockiana ‘Frosted Chocolate’) Perennial or annual depending on growing zone. (zones 3-8)

      Chocolate-Colored Veggies

      There’s lots of gorgeous dark veggies too. Many are heirloom varieties we don’t see in the grocery stores.

      • Chocolate Corn Black Aztec, Peruvian Purple, Super Sweet Purple Corn
      • Chocolate Pepper Mini Chocolate Bell Peppers
      • Chocolate Tomato ‘Chocolate Cherry’ tomato

Photos by Jean and Roxanne Riggs
Costmary, also known as bible leaf.Ah, mint! Mint is one of the plant families that divide gardeners into beginners, intermediates and advanced classifications. Beginners are excited to grow the plants that are labeled “easy-to-grow” at the nursery and buy quantities of them for their first herb garden, or accept free plants from friends. We always tell people to beware of someone bearing free plants—there is some reason that they are trying to get rid of them.

Intermediates have realized just exactly what is meant by “easy-to-grow” or “free” and have cleared every trace of mint from their gardens, and if possible, from their lives. They use every trick available to them from pulling the plants to mowing the plants to using herbicides (sometimes undiluted) to rototilling the mint bed (don’t they know that rototilling in a mint bed is the same thing as thinning, transplanting and encouraging mint roots?).

The advanced gardener knows that mint is indispensable in an herb garden and has found ways to control its desire to take over the world, from planting it in pots or hanging baskets to cutting the bottom out of a large coffee can and setting the whole can into the ground, leaving only an inch or two above the ground, with the mint plant securely planted in the center of the can.

Anise hyssopThe more advanced and serious gardeners also learn that there are plants that smell or taste like mint, but do not have mint’s naughty growth habits and are therefore welcome additions to the garden or windowsill. It is important to realize that not all true mints (Mentha) smell and taste like the familiar peppermint or spearmint. Some of them, like pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), smell more of caraway and are commonly used as insect or mouse repellants. Sometimes they smell fruity like banana mint (Mentha arvensis ‘Banana’) or sweet and flowery like heliotrope (Mentha arvensis subsp. haplocalyx). And in Michigan some mints are grown as annuals since they are not hardy this far north.

We are going to talk about just some of the plants that are mint “wannabes.” One of our favorites is costmary (Tanacetum balsamita). This is a large plant that can get four feet tall, and is hardy. The leaves used to be pressed in bibles where they were supposed to repel insects, and the leaves were used as fragrant fans during long church services, perhaps to help keep ladies in tight corsets from fainting. It also makes a fine bookmark for any book. The yellow clusters of flowers dry to a fragrant, pretty gold and are used in wreaths and other craft projects.

Another favorite is mountain mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum). This is used as a mint substitute in the kitchen where the leaves and flowers are used to flavor soups and other dishes, and to make a minty tea. The flowers are dried for a number of crafts and for their fragrance in potpourri. It is hardy in Michigan.

Did you know that there is a mint marigold (Tagetes minuta) that is used mainly as an insect repellant? It grows tall, up to four feet or more, is an annual, has lacy foliage, and rarely flowers in Michigan. It is also known as Mexican marigold or weedkiller plant. It destroys noxious weeds like bindweed and ground ivy, and is supposed to be good at mosquito control. It is used in the kitchen to flavor meats and vegetables.

Peppermint geranium, left, and mint rose geranium both smell like mint and provide a great scent for the windowsill.There are nice houseplants called St. John’s mint (Micromeria brownei) and Jamaican peppermint (Satureja viminea). St. John’s mint is used in Jamaica, where it grows naturally, to flavor herb tea. Jamaican peppermint (sometimes listed as Micromeria viminea) is used for upset tummies in Costa Rica and to flavor meat in Trinidad. It grows like a small shrub, to three feet tall. Neither of these plants is hardy in Michigan, thus they are grown indoors.

One that has been hardy in our gardens is the mint shrub (Elsholtzia stauntonii). It blooms with lavender-colored flower spikes in late summer until frost, and frequently entertains butterflies. It has an anise-mint fragrance and has woody canes that winter over. The flowers dry for crafts and potpourri, and the leaves are used for flavoring, more commonly in the Far East.

Short-lived perennials called anise mint or anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) and its close relative called Korean mint (Agastache rugosa) self-sow in our gardens and come up in other places, thanks in some part, probably, to the goldfinches that like the seeds and decorate the gardens in autumn. As you can tell by the Latin names, these are neither anise nor hyssop, although they both have a strong anise-mint fragrance and flavor. The flowers are edible and the leaves are used to flavor herb tea, meat dishes and salads.

There is also a mint thyme (Thymus ‘Mint’). It has a creeping habit with tight foliage and a mild mint fragrance, and would be nice planted among paving stones in a walk. It is perennial in Michigan.

And there is a eucalyptus tree called Australian peppermint (Eucalyptus dives) that smells like a good peppermint. It is used in liquid soaps and disinfectants, and in vaporizers for colds. It is a 50- to 70-foot tree, although it can be grown for a while in a pot in Michigan. It is not hardy.

And we haven’t even started on the scented geraniums. The most common of the peppermint geraniums is Pelargonium tomentosum, which has velvety leaves and a sprawling growth habit that does especially well in hanging baskets. These leaves are used as a poultice for bruises, and as a flavoring in teas, desserts, jellies and chocolate cakes. These plants are not frost hardy, but they make nice houseplants in the winter. There is an upright version called pungent peppermint (Pelargonium tomentosum ‘Pungent Peppermint’) that has the same fragrance and is a bit tidier on the windowsill. There are others too, including ‘Peppermint Lace’ with deeply cut leaves, and ‘Peppermint Spice’ with very deeply cut leaves and a spicy peppermint fragrance. One of our favorites, ‘Variegated Mint Rose’ (Pelargonium x asperum ‘Variegatum’), combines the fragrances of mint and rose in a very pretty plant. Even ‘Chocolate Mint’ (Pelargonium quercifolium ‘Chocolate Mint’) has a good mint fragrance and some people say smells a bit like chocolate although the old herb books tell us that the chocolate in the name refers to the chocolate-colored marks on the leaves.

Each of these fake mints has its own uses and craft projects. Most of them can be substituted for mint in your projects. The fragrance may vary a bit, but probably no one but you will be the wiser. And if someone notices, they will just think of you as an expert!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *