02 August 2009

Growing Dark Chocolate

They really do smell like chocolate - dark unsweetened baker's chocolate. The first chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) was purchased in the fall over a year ago and planted in the rear garden as bare root. It grew, died back for the winter, and was never seen again.

Undaunted, another plant was purchased from Wayside Gardens this spring. It came as a dried out twig in a small pot. After a few weeks on the window sill, it began showing green shoots. Planted in the rear garden again, it is now producing a few flowers. The first was cut and brought indoors to appreciate the rich velvety maroon color and unique aroma. The first good news is that the cut flower lasted over a week.

The plant has a few more blooms now, but by no means are they numerous. It is very tipsy since it lacks strong upright stems. The blooms are about 1-inch (2 cm) across, and the plant is about 10-inches (25 cm) high. A friend of a friend gave up trying to grow this plant in the area after lousy results. I don't know what her problems were, but I observe some yellow spots beginning to appear on leaves, similar to those common to roses and tomatoes in this area. Also, the 'bush' cucumbers are trying to crawl up the plant and need to be disciplined. Just to be safe, a move to a more protected location with more sun will be considered in the fall.

For The Record:
  • Medium soil
  • Mostly full sun, some shade
  • No fertilizer

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: Cosmos, zinnia, nicotiana, nasturtium, cleome, sunflower
  • Harvested first tomatoes, cucumbers


Kenneth Moore said...
That flower is beautiful--it will have to be on my list for when I expand the Mr. Yogato garden.
Anne said...