The Chocolatey-Smelling Flower You'll Want In Your Garden To Attract Hummingbirds

There is a sense of magic that comes with the visit of a hummingbird. Seeing these tiny creatures flit around your garden is similar enough to spotting a fairy. Their bright colors and darting movements are exciting to glimpse, especially as they aren't guaranteed to appear in every garden. If you've been scouring the internet for tips and tricks that'll attract more hummingbirds, planting the right flowers is one of the best ways to do so. There are numerous flowers that hummingbirds absolutely love, and here is another blooming variety worth adding to that lengthy list.

Chocolate cosmos are deep red flowers with subtle stripes on their rounded petals. As you'd (correctly) assume from its name, this species of Cosmos smells of chocolate, making it appealing to humans. Yet we aren't the only species that like these; hummingbirds also love chocolate cosmos, mostly due in part to their deep red color. To up your chances of seeing these little birds in your garden while generating a fragrance that's enjoyable to humans and other pollinators, here's what you should know about these flowers and why hummingbirds adore them.

Why hummingbirds love chocolate cosmos

Enthusiastic green thumbs will plant this flower for a chocolate-scented garden for that reason alone, but there's a chance hummingbirds might start frequenting your outdoor space, too. The main reason that makes the chocolate cosmos so enticing to hummingbirds is its color. Hummingbirds are attracted to gardens full of color and love bright, saturated colors, particularly red. This is the most typical shade you'll find when it comes to chocolate cosmos. They range from lighter, vibrant reds to deep, saturated maroons that look — excitingly — like chocolate.

The scent, on the other hand, is more of a perk for you and pollinators. Although there is debate about the strength of a hummingbird's sense of smell and what they use it for, it doesn't hurt that these beautiful flowers also emit an enjoyable fragrance. If you're considering adding these to your garden to increase your chances of spotting a hummingbird, there are a few things to note. Initially, newbie gardeners might find them a little tricky to cultivate and get just right. But post-bloom, these flowers are easy to care for. They need full sun and lots of water to start, but once the seedlings appear, both can be reduced. Poorly fertilized soil isn't a problem as long as it drains well. 

Other species chocolate cosmos will and won't attract to your garden

Aside from hummingbirds, there are other friendly faces that chocolate cosmos will attract to your garden. Hummingbirds aren't the only feathered friends that like them — you may find finches picking through the seeds during their mealtimes. Pollinators like butterflies and bees also rely heavily on scent to find flowers worth their time. This makes the chocolate cosmos a worthy candidate in the eyes of these insects. Aside from pollinators, this variety of cosmos will catch the eye of other insects, like hoverflies that help eat unwanted bugs. And, even better, this flower actually repels some common garden invaders, too. 

Although it might seem like magic, the candy-reminiscent fragrance that's calling the best bugs and birds to your yard is actually caused by a compound called vanillin that naturally occurs within the plant. While these critters (and gardeners) might enjoy the scent, not all animals find the smell and taste of chocolate cosmos enticing. Deer and rabbits, who are typically the mammalian culprits behind destroyed flower patches and blossoming gardens, avoid these flowers, making them a great choice to boost the smell and visual of your garden.