One of the most whimsical theme gardens you can build is a chocolate garden, where all of the plants smell like chocolate, look like chocolate, or have been given a fun chocolately name.
More Information About Chocolate Garden
Perennials with a Chocolate Garden theme including Berlandiera and Verbesina.
If you are a devotee of Hershey, Nestle, or Cadbury then listen closely. Lovers of Godiva, Lindt and Toblerone pay attention. You too, Tootsie Roll fans. One of the most whimsical theme gardens you can build is a chocolate garden, where all of the plants smell like chocolate, look like chocolate, or have been given a fun chocolately name. You too, can pay homage to your favorite fudgy treat by planting a chocolate garden.
We have scoured our plant catalog to assemble a group of perennials that relate somehow to chocolate and can be grown in a temperate chocolate garden. The real chocolate plant, Theobroma cacao, is tropical, so unfortunately does not make our list. Neither does the plant from which carob is made, Ceratonia siliqua. It is a little more cold hardy, but still can only be grown in the same areas as citrus trees. Too bad.
There are a few cold hardy perennials that actually smell like chocolate and are perfect for the chocolate garden. Two that we occasionally grow here at PDN are Berlandiera and Verbesina microptera. Berlandiera flowers appear in summer and smell like rich milk chocolate, especially in the morning. Berlandiera is a small, cute perennial with yellow, daisy-like flowers. Verbesina flowers appear late in fall and smell exactly like chocolate Tootsie Rolls. They too, are yellow, but the flowers are flattened corymbs similar to queen anne's lace. Verbesina is a large woody shrub that tops out at about 15 feet.
Most of the plants in our chocolate garden list are there because they have flowers or leaves with a chocolate brown color. This may sound like a strange color for a garden, but these plants look very nice planted together and will complement light colored plants nicely. Amorphophallus and Arisaema have plenty of chocolate colored members. So do Canna, Colocasia, Dahlia, Heuchera, and Manfreda.
Finally, there are plants with chocolatey names like 'Chocolate Chips' (Manfreda, Baptisia), 'Dutch Chocolate' (Baptisia), 'Chocolatte' (Epimedium) and 'Persian Chocolate' (Lysimachia). We are rotate plants into and out of our catalog, so bookmark this page and check back to see when chocolate garden plants return such as Eupatorium 'Chocolate', Geranium 'Chocolate Candy', Heuchera 'Chocolate Ruffles' and 'Chocolate Veil', Persicaria 'Chocolate Dragon', Rodgersia 'Chocolate Wings', or Tiarella 'Mint Chocolate'.
If you want to go all the way, you can sometimes find mulch made from cocoa hulls for your chocolate garden. It smells just like chocolate, but the scent only lasts for a few weeks. If you are familiar with the internet sensation, Tay Zonday, you might be able to arrange for some Chocolate Rain in your garden, too. Good luck! When you are ready to buy chocolate garden plants, check out our online list of chocolate garden plants for sale.