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Chocolate Flower Seeds

Chocolate Flower Seeds

Cocoa Scented!

(P) Pkt of 20 seeds
Item # 51080-PK-P1

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Every garden deserves this splendid native American wildflower, a bloom machine that offers chocolate-scented daisies from spring through fall on an easy-care plant. Whatever style garden you have, consider adding this magnificent perennial to attract pollinators, deflect nibbling rabbits and deer, add sweet fragrance, and offer months of flowers followed by ornamental seedpods just right for everlastings!

Chocolate Flower is found in the plains and mesas of the southwest, happy in dry, rocky limestone soils but amenable to clay and loam as well. Keep the soil fertility low for best growth and flowering -- this is one plant that will not appreciate your compost and humus! Instead, it is a drought-tolerant, easy-care, "mow me down and I come right back, better than before" treasure for any open setting.

The blooms are daisy shaped and may remind you of tiny Sunflowers, to which they are related. The petals are golden-yellow on the top, but when they close up (which they do nearly every afternoon for a siesta!), they reveal their pretty red stripes on the undersides! So even when these blooms are closed, they're pretty! Some flowers just have all the luck.

Reaching about 2 inches wide, the flowers boast a central cone, which is the source of the cocoa fragrance. Watch butterflies and bees sip from the bright yellow stamens dotting this green-and-russet eye; it is a valuable nectar source, and one that will keep pollinators returning to your garden all season.

Expect the flowers to begin in late spring with a grand flourish. They do need deadheading to rebloom promptly, but if you don't feel like going around with a pair of garden shears, get out the lawnmower! You can roll right over this plant; it will return better than before, and the blooms will come back quickly. Intermittent daisies keep it colorful all summer and fall, right up to first frost. (Or, if you live in a frost-free area, throughout winter, too!) There's nothing like a native plant for toughness and endurance!

The flowers are followed by seedheads that are large and showy, reminiscent (to us, anyway) of star anise. You can let them go to seed -- they will be happy to colonize in your garden -- or you can pick them before the seeds fall. If you do this, the brittle tan-and-cream seedpod makes a stunning everlasting for your indoor arrangements. And because Chocolate Flower blooms pretty much all year, you can go out to the garden almost any time and find some seedpods maturing!

This plant reaches about 18 inches high in full bloom, with its flowers on rather short, leafless stems. It spreads up to 24 inches wide within a couple of years. So it isn't invasive in any way (unless you let it re-seed itself all the time!), yet it makes a pleasing garden presence that needs almost no work and very little water.

Plant Chocolate Flower beside entertainment areas of the garden. Its flowers open at night, releasing their scent most strongly during the late night and morning hours, so it's a lovely choice near benches and firepits. Of course, it also makes great edging, and as a perimeter planting it reminds nibbling animals that they do not want to enter your garden.

Chocolate Flower thrives in full sun in cool and temperate climates, but appreciates a bit of shade in warmer areas. It is not fussy about anything but soil drainage, preferring too-dry conditions to too-moist. In today's water-starved gardens, this is a real boon.

This perennial can be direct-sown or begun indoors and transplanted after the last spring frost. Now, the only thing that isn't quick and easy about Chocolate Flower is the time it takes to germinate. It isn't hard, just long -- the seed will sprout between 30 and 90 days after you sow it. (Seriously!) So here's what to do:

• Make sure you germinate the seeds in a 60 to 70° room

• Light is needed for germination, so sow seeds on the top of the growing medium of a seed flat. If direct-sowing outdoors, cover them lightly.

• Just to be sure, sow 2 to 3 seeds for every plant you want. If you're using the Bio Dome, drop one seed into the hole and place another on the surface of the Bio Sponge. They may both come up, but that's a good problem to have. If you're direct-sowing, count on 3 seeds needed -- you know the birds or washout from rain is bound to steal one!

• Keep plants seeds moist until germination. In the Bio Dome, this is easy: just put water in the bottom of the tray. In seed flats, mist the surface very lightly with water.

Once the seedlings are ready to transplant, space them about 18 inches apart in the garden. And then get ready for the show (visual and olfactory!) of your life! Zones 4-11. Packet is 20 seeds.

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