Vines and Other Climbing Plants


Akebia Quinata - Chocolate Vine.

There are several varieties of Akebia, but the most interesting is Quinata, or the Chocolate Vine as it is commonly called. This vigorous twining climber originates in China and Japan where it will happily grow up to 10 m, or over 30ft high. This tough, semi-evergreen suffers from few problems with pests, or diseases and will grow well in almost any site regardless of soil types as long as it is well drained. Akebia does prefer a sunny site where it will be hardy right down to -23°C, but it will not tolerate root disturbance.

Akebia quinata has attractive bright green leaves that are said to be palmate, or trifoliate and the leaves are notched at the tips. This plant has many edible features as the leaves are used to make a tea and the young shoots can be eaten raw, or pickled. The stems have another use as they are sometimes used for basketry work.
Attractive racemes of cup-shaped, reddish-purple flowers that are scented appear in the spring, which will result in seedpods in fruitful years, although, it is necessary to have two genetically different plants to ensure pollination. The purple sausage-shaped fruits grow up to 10cm in length and contain a delicious chocolate-like edible pulp, hence its common name of the “Chocolate Vine.”

As with many plants pruning should be carried out after flowering and every 3, or 4 years a mature plant should be cut down almost to its base as you might hard prune a Clematis. 

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