5 leaf akebia vine

Akebia quinata

Phonetic Spelling a-KEE-bee-uh kwi-NAY-tuh This plant is an invasive species in North Carolina Description

A deciduous to semi-evergreen twining woody vine to 40 feet. with graceful palmately compound leaves. They have five elliptic to oblong-elliptic leaflets that are bright green above and glaucous below. It is very easy to grow in ordinary, well-drained soil. Male and female vines produce fragrant chocolate-purple flowers on old wood, so prune after flowering. Flowers are followed by a large sausage-shaped purple fruit which split open in the fall to reveal edible white flesh and tiny black seeds. It may be cut to the ground to rejuvenate a leggy plant. It grows rapidly and can over-take other shrubs and other vegetation in the landscape if not kept in check.

Blooms appear in early spring with leaves and can be lost in foliage; staminate and pistillate flowers bloom at different times to prevent selfing; leaves are schefflera-like and die off green with a hard freeze; rampant growth requires heavy pruning; there are some white and pale pink cultivars as well as some with variegated foliage.

Fruit resembles a purple cucumber and is edible; fruit dehisces along one suture exposing a central purplish column within; fruit wall non edible, extremely bitter; central core has color of bread mold and is gelatinous when handled; core is edible and sweet, taste a combination of watermelon crossed with a canteloupe, however, many have negative attitude toward putting a slimy mold-like tissue into one’s mouth; loaded with large, hard seeds that can crack a tooth; decaying fruit on ground can provide a nasty ground litter, but flowers must be hand polinated to produce fruit.

Tolerates drought and moisture, sun or shade; vigorous, rapid growth; transplants easily; no serious pests/disease problems.

Seed: Pod

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Though not designated a noxious weed by the Federal Government, environmental groups consider this plant too invasive to plant where it can spread or reseed itself into natural areas and crowd out native plants.

Habit: Deciduous to semi-evergreen

Texture: Fine to medium

Exposure: Sun to moderate shade

Quick ID Hints:

  • Schefflera-like, palmately compound leaves
  • Flowers pendulous, 3-petaloid, purple-brown
  • Purplish, sausage-shaped, pulpy, seamed fruit
  • Deciduous, woody, twining vine
  • Leaves and flowers on dwarf shoots

Cultivars / Varieties:

  • ‘Alba’
  • ‘Compacta’
  • ‘Rosea’
  • ‘Shirobara’
  • ‘Variegata’

Tags: #purple#fragrant#red#evergreen#sun#deciduous#invasive#full sun#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#purple flowers#red flowers#shade tolerant#weedy#climbing#spring flowers#playground#fast growing#vines#twining#climbing vines#children’s garden#spring interest#edible garden#fantz#fruits#bird friendly

Chocolate Vine Plants – Learn About Growing, Care And Control Of Akebia Vine Plants

Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), also known as five leaf akebia, is a highly fragrant, vanilla scented vine that is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. This deciduous semi-evergreen plant reaches its mature height of 15 to 20 feet rapidly and produces beautiful lilac flowers from May through June.

Since the chocolate vine growth rate is so fast, it makes an excellent cover for arbors, trellises, pergolas or fences. Growing chocolate vine produces edible seedpods that taste similar to tapioca pudding. If you wish to have fruit, you must plant more than one five leaf akebia vine.

How to Grow Akebia Quinata

Chocolate vine prefers a partially shaded spot in the garden. Although the plant will grow in full sun, it does best with protection from the afternoon heat.

The soil for growing chocolate vine should be loamy with proper drainage and a high content of organic matter

You should begin planting chocolate vine plants in the garden after the last frost of spring in your area. Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last expected frost. Harden seedlings off in a protected area for at least a week before planting them in the ground.

Care and Control of Akebia Vine Plants

When growing chocolate vine plants, you will need to consider the care and control of Akebia vine plants. Therefore, it is imperative that the plant be controlled with regular pruning. The quick chocolate vine growth rate has a tendency to dominate the landscape and can easily overpower smaller plants. Give your vine plenty of room to spread and watch the plant so that it does not take over the garden. Prior to planting this vine, check with your local county extension to see if the plant is considered invasive in your area.

Chocolate vine is drought resistant but does benefit from regular water.

Although it’s not really necessary, you can use an all purpose fertilizer during the growing season to promote healthy plants and many blooms.

Propagation Chocolate Vine Plants

Harvest seeds once the pods are ripe and plant them right away in a greenhouse or cold frame. You can also propagate this hardy vine by taking a shoot cutting that is 6 inches long from the new spring growth. Plant the cuttings in lightweight, fine compost or planting medium in a humid and warm spot until they root.

Akebia: Chocolate Vine

Facts: Akebia

Family: Lardizabalaceae

Genus: Akebia – uh-KEE-bee-uh

Common: Chocolate Vine or Five-leaf Akebia

Origin: Native to Japan, Korea and China

Characteristics: A group of 4-5 species of vining plants.

Delicate-looking lightly scented flowers in pendulous clusters bloom in April. Male and female flowers are borne in the same cluster. Flowers have no real petals; instead their sepals look like petals and come in dusky purple, pink, pale yellow or white.

Leaves are palmate and are 2-5″ across. In mild winters leaves stay on the plant in winter, but most Portland winters cause defoliation.

Fruit is really interesting! Blue or pink pods are up to 5 inches long. Open them up and find a roll of white pulp full of black seeds. The pulp is described as ‘tropical tasting’ and is used to make jelly and juice. Plant two different varieties for fruit production.

Size: Vines attach by twining and grow very fast, producing as much as 20 feet of new growth in a year. It should be maintained with yearly pruning and kept in place.

Grows 20-40′ tall.

Culture: Sun, part shade or shade. Bounces back easily from pruning. Provide a sturdy trellis, arbor for the vine to climb on.

Hardy to Zone 5, -20f to -30f

Problems: Akebia has become a naturalized weed in the eastern United States, but has not performed the same way in the west. Still, the plant should be kept in place with regular pruning.

Plants in the nursery are prone to problems with powdery mildew, but the disease is much less prevalent in a garden setting.

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