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