To all chocolate lovers out there, the chocolate cosmos can be a great addition to your garden. Apart from its sweet intriguing chocolate-like fragrance, this stunning flower with its large red-brown velvety petals can be a treat to the eyes too.
Native to the region of Mexico, the chocolate cosmos, whose scientific name is Cosmos atrosanguineus, has been extinct in the wild for over 100 years but can still be grown throughout the world.
The most impressive quality of these rare flowers is its unique fragrance, which is due to the presence of vanillin compound that is also an essential component in vanilla bean and of course most chocolates. It is known that the fragrance of this flower only intensifies as the day passes by.
The scent is not only known to mesmerize people but also attract butterflies, bees, bugs, and moths.
The chocolate cosmos is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to a height of 40 to 60 centimeters with a fleshy tuberous root. The flowers meanwhile are a diameter of 3 to 4.5 centimeters, with a stunning cluster like a center that is raised and velvet-textured petals that open up like a cup.
The flowers of the chocolate cosmos are hardy and thus can be grown outside as a perennial in hardiness zones 7 and above. Although they enjoy warm climates, when the temperature is low, one can opt to grow these plants in a container hanging from your balcony; this way you can appreciate the fragrance and admire the beauty of the flower up close.
Additionally, the chocolate cosmos, notes Gardening Know How is self-sterile; thus, it will not produce the fertile seeds with its own pollen. The website that specializes further in garnering tips suggests that one should look for the roots that have an “eye” or new growth on them to start new plants.
The plant does enjoy basking in as much sun as possible and needs at least six hours of sunlight a day. The chocolate cosmos also requires a fertile well-drained soil, but it’s important to note that too much water can cause the stem or tuber to rot, which can render the tuber incapable of asexual reproduction and division.
It’s important to remember that propagation is done by the division of tubers only. However a deep watering once a week along with letting the soil remain dry in between waterings can help keep the plant healthy.
Another great feature of the plant is that once the flower has died, the plant benefits from deadheading, which further encourages additional blooms.
As chocolate cosmos makes wonderful cut flowers that can enhance your interiors, it is advised to keep them away from children, as they might get attracted to its scent and take a bite of the flowers.
With its distinctive fragrance and striking color, this flower is sure to remind you of a red velvet cake.
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