chocolate vine, five-leaf akebia
Vigorous evergreen or semi-evergreen climber native to Japan, Korea and China. Compound, bright green leaves with five elliptic to obovate leaflets to 5 cm long, notched at the tips. Fragrant, cup-shaped, purplish-red flowers in pendulous racemes during spring. Flowers may be followed by sausage-shaped fruits to 10 cm long.
Prefers a partially shaded position in any reasonable soil. Tolerates full shade and full sun. Avoid very dry and waterlogged soils. Resents root disturbance, so best planted when young, and not to be transplanted when mature. Requires support to climb. In suitable growing conditions Akebia is a vigorous grower and needs regular trimming. Copes with hard pruning. Akebia quinata is frost hardy, but in cold climates it behaves as a semi-evergreen or even deciduous climber with the extent of leaf loss depending on the degree of winter cold.
In New Zealand Akebia quinata is listed in the National Pest Plant Accord and is prohibited from commercial propagation, sale and distribution across the country.
Ideal as a fast cover for pergolas, fences and gazebos. If you wish to add a slimline vertical element to a garden bed, then let Akebia grow up against a tall post and trim it a few times per year. Help the shoots find support by attaching netting to the outside of the post. Could also be used as an informal ground cover.
Type of plantClimber - Evergreen Climber - Semi Deciduous Climber - Deciduous
Size5 to 10 m tall, but can be maintained at a height of 2 m with regular pruning
- Temperature: Hardy
- Light: Medium High
- Moisture: Medium
- Soil: Light Medium Heavy
- Wind tolerance: Average
- Coastal tolerance: Average