AKEBIA: Chocolate Vine
Photo credits to our supplier: One Green World
Akebia pentaphyll 'Purple Incense'
A hybrid between A. quinata & A. trifoliata, 'Purple Incense' has really fragrant dark purple flowers and exceptionally large fruit.
Akebia quinata – Five-leaf Akebia
Dusky purple flowers & blue-green leaves w/ purple new growth. Leaves are on the smaller side, about 2-3" across.
Akebia quinata 'Purple Rose'
Flowers are a dusky reddish-purple.
Akebia quinata 'Shiro Bana'
Pale yellow to white flowers, large yellow-green leaves & dark purple fruit. This variety is really vigorous & healthy.
Akebia quinata 'Silver Bells'
Light pink to white flowers, pale blue fruit & very fast growth.
Akebia trifoliata 'Deep Purple'
Darkest purple, almost black flowers & large leaves w/ wavy edges. Growth is more dense & compact than other species.
Genus: Akebia – uh-KEE-bee-uh
Common: Chocolate Vine or Five-leaf Akebia
Origin: Native to Japan, Korea & China
Characteristics: A group of 4-5 species of vining plants.
Delicate-looking lightly scented flowers in pendulous clusters bloom in April. Male & female flowers are borne in the same cluster. Flowers have no real petals; instead their sepals look like petals & come in dusky purple, pink, pale yellow or white.
Leaves are palmate & 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 & find a roll of white pulp full of black seeds. The pulp is described as 'tropical tasting' and is used to make jelly & 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 & 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.