Maybe describing them as "chocolate-colored" flowers would lure more gardeners to look into the world of plants with rusty, maroon or bronze-colored garden plants. While these deep brown tones are frequently found in the foliage or seeds of plants, finding plants with flower petals that are brownish is more challenging. Color is subjective, as brown could mean a flower that is a drab dark red or one that is dark olive-gold. Colors of plants surrounding the brown flowers may also affect their degree of "brown-ness."
A combination of dark red and golden pigments create pansy (Viola spp.) flower faces with good brown color. Look for cultivars "Velour Frosted Chocolate" or "Irish Molly."
Repeated hybridization by iris enthusiasts results in many atypical color combinations, some of which include shades of drab orange, bronze or brown. Names of some varieties with warm brownish petal tones include "Rodeo Girl," "Supreme Sultan," "Spiced Tiger," "Red Hawk," "Boss Tweed," "Bronzette Star," "Brown Duet," "Ruffled Feathers," "Spiced Lemon," "Dodge City" and "Living Legacy." Individual breeders may have other seedlings with brown petals, so also ask about availability.
Just like bearded iris, breeders are constantly raising new daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) varieties from seed so new cultivars are continually being introduced. Some rusty brown flowering selections include "Sir Mod Red" and "Sweet Hot Chocolate."
Blooming in mid-spring and pretty in woodland garden settings, columbines (Aquilegia spp.) that display varying tones of dark red-bronze to brown-black flowers include: "Black Barlow," "Chocolate," "Single Black," "Roman Bronze" and perhaps "William Guinness," which tends to be more maroon than bronze.
For reddish-bronze petals, the Oriental poppy (Papaver orientale) variety "Royal Chocolate Distinction" may be exactly the flowering perennial you seek.
Dark reddish-brown with a satiny sheen describes the pendent flowers on a specific cultivar of the Whipple's beard-tongue (Penstemon whippleanus). Look for "Chocolate Drop" at your plant nursery or favorite mail-order perennial plant catalog.
Native to Japan's woodlands, this perennial member of the aroid family displays a cloak-like, purplish-brown spathe flower around a white, finger-like spadix. Its botanical name is Arisaema sikokianum.
While considered black-flowering dahlia selections, "Chocolate Sundae" and "Black Beauty" tend to be very dark red-flowering plants. The petals look bronze-brown to rusty maroon thanks to their golden flower centers.
The variety "Hot Chocolate" is regarded as a brown-blooming flowering tobacco (Nicotiana spp.), but tends to be more rosy-bronze. For richer brown blossoms, try "Chocolate Smoke."
Hybridization of tropical hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) often yields awkward flower colors of gray, charcoal and brown-bronze tones, something highly regarded among rare hibiscus collectors. Cultivars with significant brown colors in their flower petals are "Creme de Cacao," "Pocahontas" and "Key Largo."
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