Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata) is a fast-growing, deciduous, twining vine or groundcover. It has groups of fragrant deep purple flowers along the branches from early to mid spring, which are fascinating on close inspection. It has bluish-green foliage which emerges burgundy in spring. The palmate leaves do not develop any appreciable fall color. The fruits are showy deep purple pods displayed from early to mid-fall. It will grow to be about 30 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. As a climbing vine, it tends to be leggy near the base and should be underplanted with low-growing facer plants. It should be planted near a fence, trellis or other landscape structure where it can be trained to grow upwards on it, or allowed to trail off a retaining wall or slope. It grows at a fast rate, and under perfect conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.
Scientific Name: Akebia quinata
Common Name: Chocolate vine, five-leaf chocolate vine or five-leaf akebia.
How to grow and maintain Chocolate vine:
It can grow on in cooler conditions in good, natural light, but avoid direct sunlight. In spring, gradually acclimatize plants to outdoor conditions, before planting out either in the garden or in pots in a sunny or lightly-shaded position.
Five-leaf chocolate vine will grow in most places but prefers a light or sandy loam soil.
Five-leaf akebia is a light feeder and doesn’t require supplemental blossom compost. You can provide trace nutrients for vines growing in poor soil by mulching with compost or well-rotted manure.
Propagation: Sow seed when ready for cool conditions. Coldframe being a perfect or in a secured container under the shelter of tree or hedge. It can also be propagated by semi-ripe cuttings in mid-summer or pin down a new shoot for layering in the autumn.