Chocolate flower, Berlandiera lyrata - care and overwintering

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Chocolate flower, Berlandiera lyrata - care and overwintering: flower

The chocolate flower gets its name right, because the scent of her scent reminds of milk chocolate - not to be confused with the chocolate coconut, which has a flavor like dark chocolate and also looks chocolaty in the look. Although the chocolate flower is quite easy to care for, a few special features have to be considered in the culture.


The real chocolate flower is native to regions like Arizona, Kansas and Texas, ie warm, sun-drenched and dry areas. This should also be the optimal location for the Berlandiera lyrata. Lightweight semi-shade tolerates the plant but also. When choosing the planting place, it should also be taken into account that the sweet scent of the flowers attracts many insects, such as bees.
Anyone who is allergic or very sensitive to stings should therefore reconsider the choice of plants or plant the chocolate flower as far away as possible from windows, doors and dining areas. It should also be noted that the sun-loving flower can reach up to 120 centimeters in height. So it can interfere with otherwise very low planting or "put in the shade" other plants.
Tip: The Berlandiera lyrata goes well with rockeries, near dry walls or succulents.


When it comes to the substrate, the chocolate flower is not overly fussy. It should meet the following conditions:
  • Dry
  • Permeable to water
  • Low or no peat content
  • Moderate nutrient content
A high-quality garden or potting soil, which is loosened up with sand, is ideal. For older, used soil, additional mature compost can be added to increase the nutrient content. It is important that the substrate does not tend to compact and also the drainage is ensured. In the culture in the tub, this can be achieved by a drainage layer. Planted in the garden sand and possibly gravel loosen up the soil, thus reducing the risk of waterlogging.

Planting and sowing

Chocolate flower - Berlandiera lyrata

Sowing the seeds in the house can be done in late March or early April. Sowing directly into the bed should be maintained until May or June to avoid frost damage to the seeds and young plants. The same applies to the planting. It should only be noted here that the chocolate flower provides the suitable substrate and that it is kept moist in both the seeds and the young plants within the first few weeks. Only then germination or the growth of the roots are possible.

to water

The chocolate flower comes from dry areas and therefore does not require regular watering after growing. Pouring is only necessary if the substrate threatens to dry out completely. A slight moisture should be preserved. Especially in the tub should be taken to ensure that the earth is not too dry - but also no waterlogging arises.


Fertilization is not absolutely necessary for the chocolate flower, but it benefits from its flowering power. In the first year an additional nutrient supply is not necessarily required, provided the soil has been prepared with compost or high quality soil has been selected. Thereafter, liquid fertilizer can be added monthly or some mature compost can be incorporated into the soil at the beginning of the sprouting or at the latest when the flowering period starts.


A true blending does not need the chocolate flower. But it in turn promotes the flowering power when dried flowers are cut off. In addition, a perfect pruning is recommended if the Berlandiera lyrata is to be overwintered outdoors. This is rarely possible. Otherwise, only dried-up, withered and dead shoots are removed.
Tip: The flower stalks can be used as cut flowers and keep in the vase quite a long time, if the ends are occasionally freshly cut and the water is changed.

Culture in the bucket

The culture in the bucket is not only possible with the chocolate flower, but even recommended - because it facilitates hibernation in temperate climates and reduces overall care.
Important are the following points:
  • Choose a bucket as deep as possible so that the tall plant will have sufficient stability
  • Insert drainage layer to ensure drainage
  • Frequent checks and watering as necessary to avoid complete dehydration of the earth
  • Regular fertilization
  • Repotting or changing the earth every two to three years can be combined with the division of the root


Chocolate flower - Berlandiera lyrata

The propagation of the chocolate flower is possible in three ways:
  • seed
  • cuttings
  • division
In the case of reproduction via seeds, the procedure is as follows:

1. Dried flowers are removed from the plant.

SecondThe flowers are placed in a bag or bag and shaken to obtain the seed. Alternatively, this can of course also be purchased commercially. In any case, it should be stored until spring, dry, cool and dark.

3. A mixture of one part of potting soil and one part of sand is moistened, the seeds are spread on it and only slightly covered. So prepared, the seeds are placed in a light and warm place.

4. A cover of the planter with foil or glass prevents dehydration and promotes germination. However, the cover should be ventilated daily to prevent mold growth. Another possibility is daily spraying the substrate with water. On a cover can be dispensed with.

5. If the young plants have reached a height of about ten centimeters, they can be piqued and isolated. With sufficient outside temperatures of about 18° C and after the last late frost, planting outdoors is also possible.

If the propagation is done via cuttings, are 10 to 15 centimeters long shoot tips - no flower stems - cut off. Placed about five centimeters deep in moist substrate, these roots can drive out. It is ideal to win the cuttings during the growth phase. So in late spring or early summer. The simplest and fastest way to grow the chocolate flower is by dividing the root ball. This can be done when inserting or repotting the Berlandiera lyrata. After being lifted out of the earth, the bale is split lengthwise with a spade and the resulting halves are planted separately from each other again. In order for the chocolate flower to recover quickly and become fuller again, it should be well supplied with water and fertilizer.


Since the chocolate flower comes from warm areas, it is sensitive to frost and can only be wintered outdoors in warm regions. If temperatures fall for a long time or well below zero, they should hibernate indoors. If the Berlandiera lyrata has been planted outdoors, it must be dug up for this purpose. This should be done before the onset of frost, when the temperature is between five and ten degrees.
After that, proceed as follows:

1. The root ball is placed in a bucket on a drainage layer, and covered well with soil all around.

2. The planter is placed in a cool room, ideally with temperatures between one and five degrees.

3. The substrate should be checked once a week and, if necessary, little cast. It must not dry out completely.

4. The chocolate flower is not fertilized during this time. The additional nutrient intake should be discontinued as early as September.

Chocolate flower - Berlandiera lyrata

If the Berlandiera lyrata has already been cultivated in the bucket, it must simply be brought into the house and the crop cultivated under the described conditions. After the last frost, the chocolate flower is allowed to go outside again. If the True Chocolate Flower should remain outdoors during the winter, some protective measures should be followed.
It refers to:
  • Cut back the shoots just above the ground
  • Easy watering, provided the soil is very dry
  • Cover the plant with a thick layer of straw, grass clippings, foliage and brushwood


As already mentioned, the chocolate flower attracts insects. Among them unfortunately also aphids and snails. A natural prevention against this is the close planting of:
  • sage
  • lavender
  • thyme
Natural enemies help against the pests. In the case of aphids, lacewings and ladybugs can be spread. Snails, hedgehogs and toads are efficient against snails. If they are offered hiding places in the garden, they can also proactively prevent infestation. Pesticides should be the last choice, because among them, the beneficials can suffer.
Tip: Aphids are also quenched by stinging nettle, which also serves as fertilizer. The broth can be sprayed on the leaves or added to the irrigation water.

Diseases and care mistakes

Typical diseases are not known in the chocolate flower, but it can well come to care mistakes. The most common ones include:
  • Too dense or dense soil
  • Too dark location
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Dehydrating substrate
  • waterlogging
  • Lack of frost protection or wrong wintering
If the location and substrate are selected appropriately and the instructions for care are taken into account, the errors can be avoided in advance. Should the chocolate flower grow poorly, lose its flowering power or even wither, it is worth checking the culture conditions and adapting them if necessary. In the case of damage caused by waterlogging, it is also recommended that the plant be converted into a dry substrate. Although this is not a guarantee that it can still be saved - the measure increases the chances of success.
The chocolate flower is an ornament and delights the nose, it can be grown freely in the garden or in the bucket and is even a tempting and long-lasting cut flower - many benefits that can be enjoyed with little effort. And that over the years, because the claims of the Berlandiera lyrata are met and it is wintering properly, it shows persistently and is also easy to multiply.

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