Our favorite plants for color, scent, and overall yummy appeal

Kathleen N. Brenzel

For striking color in pots

Coleus 'Coco Loco' Tender perennial, new in 2006, from the Proven Selections label. Green leaves are splotched with burgundy-brown markings. Grows 2 to 2½ ft. tall. Vivid in a green pot beside coleus with deep burgundy-brown leaves. Sun or part shade. Zones 24, H1, H2; annual elsewhere.

Graptophyllum pictum 'Chocolate'. Tender perennial to 1½ ft. tall. Glossy, oval, dark chocolate leaves are splashed down the center with an irregular band of caramel cream; stems are pink. The plant is especially showy in a glazed chocolate brown pot. Sun or part shade. Zones 23 and 24; annual elsewhere.

For chocolate scent

Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus). Perennial from tuberous roots; grows 2 to 2½ ft. tall. Deep brownish red flowers with a strong chocolate or vanilla perfume in late summer and fall. Attractive with silver-foliaged plants such as dusty miller. Sun. Zones 4-9, 14-24.

Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata). Perennial (annual in cold climates). The fragrance of chocolate permeates the air whenever this daisy blooms. Coarse-foliaged plant 1½ to 3 ft. tall; light yellow rays with maroon and green centers. Sun. Zones 10-13, 18-23.

For overall chocolatey goodness

Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset'. Short-lived perennial grows up to 3 ft. tall. Full sun. Sunset climate zones 1-24.

Loropetalum chinense 'Razzleberri'. Evergreen shrub 5 to 10 ft. tall. Protect from hot afternoon sun. Zones 6-9, 14-24.

Japanese barberry ( Berberis thunbergii 'Atropurpurea'). Deciduous shrub 4 to 6 ft. tall. Full sun or partial shade. Zones A3, 2-24.

Hibiscus acetosella 'Red Sentinel'. Tender perennial 3 to 4 ft. tall. Full sun. Zones 23 and 24 (annual elsewhere).

Purple fountain grass ( Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'). Graceful mounding grass to 5 ft. tall. Full sun or partial shade. Zones 8-24, H1, H2.



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