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The Chocolate Daisy


Flowers usually smell flowery, but every now and then you’ll come across a flower that smells like food. The chocolate daisy  is so named because of the distinctive scent of cocoa wafting from its central disk and daisy-like petals!

Closeup of a single chocolate daisy flower.

If you love the delectable fragrance of delicious chocolate, berlandiera chocolate flowers exude an unmistakable chocolate odor in your garden. You can enjoy their delicious fragrance from the morning hours to mid-morning when its strongest.

Don’t believe us? Keep reading to learn more about chocolate daisies and how you can bring them into your garden space this year.

What Is the Chocolate Daisy?

The chocolate daisy or chocolate flower plants, scientifically named Berlandiera lyrata, is a delicate-looking perennial wildflower with fragrant blooms that offer a scent of cocoa every morning. Pick these Texas wildflowers up and their scent becomes even more pronounced.

Chocolate flower plants work well as edge plants and look even more beautiful when grown together.

They may look a bit listless in afternoon sun locations, but they’ll perk right up the next day. Despite the name, the chocolate daisy is actually a member of the sunflower family!

What Is the History of the Chocolate Daisy?

The scientific name of chocolate flower plants comes from the celebrated French-Swiss physician, naturalist, and anthropologist Jean-Louis Berlandier who spent his life collecting native Texas plants and plants native to Mexico in the 1800s.

This flower is a native plant in southwestern USA and Mexico. Today, it’s part of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

Other common names of the Berlandiera lyrata include chocolate flower and green-eyed lyre leaf.

Chocolate daisies.

Significance of the Chocolate Daisy

The plant’s scent of chocolate comes from aromatic stamens that attract beneficial insects.

In addition to having a cocoa fragrance, its stamens taste like dark chocolate. If their unsweetened chocolate flavor isn’t to your liking, leave the flowers in your chocolate garden and just enjoy the smell.

It’s reported that Native Americans used this plant to treat stomach-related issues. Some cultures have also been known to burn their dried roots to calm nervous conditions and inspire courage.

Characteristics of the Chocolate Daisy

Appearance and Physical Characteristics

This hardy, leafy plant features bright blooms of yellow flowers and 8 petals that fan out from the center. The eyes of the flowers are green with burgundy stamens which is where the cocoa fragrance originates.

The plant has short branches at the base and longer-leaning leafless stalks on top where the flower blooms.

Closeup of chocolate daisy flowers on long stems.

Blooming Season

These perennial wildflowers generally bloom during nighttime. In frost-free regions, the bloom time is year-round. Otherwise, they bloom from late spring until frost with their flush of bloom happening in summer.

The flowers remain open until early, cool mornings when the chocolate aroma is strongest. They droop with the heat of mid-mornings.

Flower Size

Berlandiera lyrata flowers are approximately 2 inches, with the flower head being an inch long.

Flower Fragrance

Chocolate daisies fill the air with fragrance. Their easy care and aroma of chocolate make them a favorite among gardeners.

Height It Grows To

The plant grows from 1 to 2 feet in length and spreads in equal measure.

Leaves

The first part of its common name, lyreleaf greeneyes, is based on the shape of its leaves. The chocolate daisy plant’s leaves are curved like a lyre and have a velvety feel.

They are a deep green on top of the stem and a bit whitish below, featuring irregular pinnate lobes.

Colors

The fragrant flowers feature yellow rays with maroon/burgundy center discs and green bracts. Oftentimes, the lower parts of flower petals exhibit deep red veins.

Foliage

Chocolate flower plants come with coarse, green-gray foliage that showcases its drought tolerant nature. The foliage is slightly lobed, elongated, and grows from a foot to 2-feet high.

Growing the Chocolate Daisy

Suitable Planting Zones

These plants grow well in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 10.

Soil Types

The chocolate daisy likes well-drained soil types or limestone soils that are slightly alkaline, simulating its native habitat of rocky limestone soils.

Chocolate daisies growing in a field.

Diseases and Pests

The chocolate daisy isn’t susceptible to many diseases or pests.

Water

When it comes to chocolate daisy care, minimal watering is necessary once flowers have completely grown. If you notice your plant flopping, lessen the water. After the first season, proper chocolate flower care entails drastically reducing the amount of water and the frequency of your watering.

Fertilizer

Use small amounts of fertilizers and little to no pesticides.

Temperature and Humidity

Chocolate flower plants grow best in warm weather and dry soil conditions. Since they tolerate heat and humidity well, they’re drought-resistant and sturdy plants.

Light

The chocolate daisy requires 6 or more hours of direct sunlight each day.

Size and Spacing

They grow 1 to 2 feet in length and width. Since they can grow up to 2 feet horizontally, give your chocolate daisy plant plenty of room to spread out.

Why Plant the Chocolate Daisy?

Attract Beneficial Insects to the Garden

The aromatic chocolate scent of chocolate daisy flowers attracts beneficial insects to the garden that help in pollination.

A monarch butterfly on a leaf.

For Seasoning

The flower heads and stamens are edible and can be used in salads for their bitter, unsweetened chocolate flavor.

Floral Arrangements

Chocolate daisy flowers are used in floral arrangements because of their eye-catching yellow petals with burgundy centers.

Companion Flowers to the Chocolate Daisy

Gaillardia

The bi-colored gaillardia perfectly complements chocolate daisies with their red shade.

Perky Sue

Perky Sue’s brilliant yellow flowers blend well with chocolate daisy flowers.

Blackfoot daisies

The elegant white hues of blackfoot daisies go well with the yellow of chocolate daisies.

Blackfoot daisies with white petals and yellow center disks.

Growing and Caring for the Chocolate Daisy at Home

The chocolate daisy is one of the easiest to grow perennials. Once they germinate, begin growing roots, and produce flowers, you will require less and less water. Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly as well.

Keep the soil well-drained to prevent root rot. Deadhead the flowers to encourage fuller and continuous bloom.

Chocolate Daisy Availability for Purchase

Seeds

Chocolate daisy seeds can be bought online from various garden stores and on Amazon.

Arrangements/Bouquets and Standalone Flowers

These aren’t flowers that used in the floral industry, so you won’t likely find local or online retailers selling them in bouquets or as cut flowers. Growing the chocolate daisy in your own cut flower garden is how you can be sure you’ll have flowers for bouquets or arrangements.

Love Chocolate? Then This is the Daisy for You!

With a oh-so-tempting scent, the chocolate daisy is an intriguing and useful flower. it’s easy to care for and works well for beginner gardeners. Plus, it attracts pollinators to your garden and can be added to dishes.

Proper care and maintenance will reward you with generous year-round blooms as long as you keep them away from frost. If you live in a region that experiences real winters, take heart in the fact that chocolate daisies are known to spring back to life after with even bigger crowns until they become fully grown.

Closeup side view of a single chocolate daisy flower.

There are thousands of daisies out there — to learn about other great varieties for your garden, read our daisy blog posts.