The chocolate flower: an outstandingly beautiful plant with an unmistakable color and scent

by Mark Bennett

June 10, 2024


A flower that smells like chocolate, with dark, velvety petals: this is the beauty and wonder of the so-called "chocolate flower", or Cosmos atrosanguineus (Cosmos) - a perennial plant that is worth considering adding to your green spaces. Note: even though it smells like chocolate, Cosmos should not be ingested! Beautiful in pots or in flower beds, Cosmas looks similar to a dark, red daisy, and has an irresistible chocolaty scent. Let's find out how to cultivate this amazing plant:

Cultivating the chocolate flower


Cosmos has dark green leaves and loves sunny locations. It can be potted to grow as a compact bush with thin stems that the flowers will emerge from. Of course, Cosmos can be planted in open ground (ie. in the garden) and, when doing so, the bulbs should be at least 40 cm apart.

Note, however, that the locations you choose for Cosmos should offer some shelter: while this plant can resist harsh winters (even in pots), it is still preferable that it is not exposed to the worst of the winter's cold. So, protect your Cosmos from strong, cold winds, frost and cover the soil with bark or leaf mulch if very low temperatures are expected.

In regions where the winters can be brutal, treat your Cosmos like you would dahlias: dig up their tubers/bulbs at the beginning of autumn and store them in a sheltered, dark, dry place. These can then be replanted at the end of winter, (and when there is no longer any risk of late frosts).

The soil for your Cosmos must be rich and well-draining.



Cosmos can grow to a maximum height of around 70 cm, so can be easily combined with plants such as lavender, gazania, or helianthemum. Obviously, you can also have a mix of the varieties of Cosmos that can be purchased from nurseries.

Cosmos does not have any special watering needs: water when the soil has dried out (and be a little more attentive to your potted Cosmos to avoid waterlogging and/or the plants overheating in the summer).

Flowering can start as early as June and continue until October, meaning that your Cosmos can decorate your home for a good part of the year!


If your Cosmos plants wither and wilt in winter, don't worry: except in very mild climates, these plants tend to lose their foliage when it's cold, but this will re-grow in the spring. Some gardeners recommend "beginners" start by growing Cosmos in pots, moving on to cultivate them in the open ground when experience has been gained.

As you can easily imagine, these fragrant flowers are also irresistable for bees and butterflies. Given this, having Cosmos in your garden will give you something beautiful and fragrant to enjoy, but which is also good for the environment!

Would you like to try growing this unique plant at home?