Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chocolate Vine, Five-Leaf Akebia, Raisin Vine
Akebia quinata

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Family: Lardizabalaceae
Genus: Akebia (a-KEE-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: quinata (kwi-NAY-tuh) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

43 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Vines and Climbers

Height:
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Spacing:
Unknown - Tell us

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Maroon (Purple-Brown)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Evergreen
Deciduous

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 26 photos.
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Profile:

21 positives
11 neutrals
8 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Negative jimmieP313 On Jun 1, 2014, jimmieP313 from West Goshen, PA wrote:

I just found my first patch (at least 2 acres) of akebia gone completely invasive in the woods at the Riverbend Environmental Center just outside of Philadelphia. It is way worse than kudzu. Never plant this vine! If you have it, pull it out! It has found its way to the top of tall trees and completely overrun everything on the ground.

Negative coriaceous On Feb 25, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I've had to deal with this in a garden where a neighbor had allowed it to grow freely for many years and to take over 50' of fence. It required endless attention. It grows with astonishing speed, and I was continually pulling up 15' runners that were already rooting at every node. It also twines about and strangles any woody plant it can reach. Untangling it was immensely time-consuming.

It was very much like wisteria in its vigor and growth habit, and all in the shade of Norway maples. And as with wisteria, I was continually finding new seedlings in other beds.

Its height is limited only by the height of its support. It can climb tall trees.

This vine has naturalized in 16 states and has been reported invasive of natural areas in 6. I know it's taken over hundreds of acres of woodland on the Biltmore estate in NC.

Positive AlexBram On Jun 19, 2013, AlexBram from Portland, OR wrote:

Portland, OR, zone 8b.

Three years ago, I planted five varieties of akebia quinata, and three varieties of akebia trifoliata, all fairly near each other (the farthest are 50 ft apart) for cross pollination. My source for all was onegreenworld.com.

The first year, they grew, but had no flowers.
The second year, they flowered, but bore no fruit.
This year, about half are fruiting (in late June, fruit are 1-3 inches long).

I've trained them all upwards on bamboo, and while some require weekly pruning of high growth, none have sent runners along the ground. They've required no effort to restrain spreading in 8b.

In my experience, they LOVE growing upwards, but will at best grudgingly grow over a horizontal rail. Many horizontal vines just peter out within five feet.

Quinata have been evergreen, but trifoliata have lost all leaves in winter. (When I received them in pots, they wintered outside, and froze solid; none perished.)

Many are planted below a North facing wall, and get absolutely no direct sunlight. The quinata do well here, but do get mild powdery mildew. (One quinata is by a West facing wall, and the main vines grew to the width of my finger in one full year, but the vertical and horizontal growth has been good, but not great; minimal pruning only.)

They bloom early (early March) and for a long time (six weeks).
"Silver Bells" (white bloomed quinata) produce beautiful bunches of small (3/8 inch), cup shaped flowers, and draw many admirers.

Bees don't seem to prefer them. I've read they're from Japan; I wonder what their main pollinator is there?

Positive burien_gardener On Jun 17, 2013, burien_gardener from Burien (SW Seattle), WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have 2 different varieties (one pale white, one deep burgundy) growing on the metal railing of my concrete deck. The pale vine is nearly 20 y/o and perhaps 50 ft in length. It blooms early spring with a delicate scent (NOT chocolate).

The burgundy vine is about 15 y/o and MUCH smaller than the other vine. Both grow in deciduous summer shade. The burgundy vine has set fruit once (blooms also NOT chocolate scented.

While edible, cardboard with a sugar coating is comparable. Dozens of seedlings sprang from the compost area where the fruits were interred. They take a LONG time to get going.

It is invasive in Seattle area? Don't know but I think I have the solution to cover a 10 ft tall x 50 ft wide retaining wall. YES!!

Negative Dean48089 On May 19, 2013, Dean48089 from Warren, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

Whomever said that this vine grows "4-6 feet" has either never actually grown this plant or they are referring to how fast it grows per day. The ONLY good thing about this plant is that the seeds do not readily grow -- otherwise it should be on the invasive species list. Akebia quinata will easily grow 20-30 feet, in all directions, in only a few years. Besides the main vine, it sends out runners along the ground which quickly take root so that even when you kill the main stump (you will want to, just wait) the runners have already rooted and are taking over your trees, shrubs, fence, neighbor's garage, etc. And whomever said that the flowers smell like chocolate must have been eating a Hershey bar at the time. A nasty, horrible plant that I regret ever having planted.

Neutral pleisch On Dec 27, 2012, pleisch from Austin, TX wrote:

I ordered two from the internet for an area that is well confined--don't want the invasive problem. One is doing well. However, one died. Only one person mentioned having two different vines. I'd like to order the other one as I understand that they do better with both. Yet, I haven't seen any listings, other than the nursery online, that list more than one variety, which makes me wonder why and if one is more hardy.

Can anyone tell me the difference and how to tell which one I have?

Thank you.

Neutral chatin On Sep 24, 2012, chatin from Redding, CA wrote:

I just purchased my first plant. I'm not opposed to invasive wild vines. I am curious to know why it's called a chocolate vine as nobody has mentioned the scent.

Neutral cam2 On Jul 31, 2012, cam2 from Houston, TX wrote:

I grade this neutral because while it grows like crazy and stays green through the winter, it has never bloomed for me.

Neutral urbanimage5 On Jul 7, 2012, urbanimage5 from Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

I planted an akebia vine 4 years ago in a partial sun spot, because I wanted to cover an ugly railing. It's been a very aggressive grower and has done very well for its intended purpose. I keep it in check by pruning it regularly and watering very little. If I left it untrimmed, it would easily go past 8 feet tall. I would not recommend it for someone who wants a tidy, low maintenance plant.

The blooms have a lovely scent in May, similar to lilac. They bloom around the same time. I've had no problems with seed pods.

Last winter was extremely mild, and it kept most of its leaves. In a normal Chicago winter, the leaves drop when the daytime low gets below 15F a few days in a row. It's extremely hardy with very little dieback in our climate.

Negative abbesmom On Apr 19, 2012, abbesmom from Cornwall Bridge, CT wrote:

Last year, I noticed my lilacs were being invaded. I also noticed the ground (and surrounding shrubs and trees) in this section of our property was covered with "something" very interesting. After a bit of research on the internet, I found out what it is. Chocolate vine. Yes, it is beautiful, it smells wonderful, and I love the flowers, but if you saw how many trees this has destroyed, how invasive and destructive it can be, you would think twice about planting it! Please, please, please, be very careful with this plant.

Positive MonicaMary On May 7, 2011, MonicaMary from Naugatuck, CT wrote:

I have been growing this plant in three different locations in CT for the last 30 years, and I love it. It needs two different varities to produce fruit and seeds.
If left in a wild area, it can spread and take down dead trees, rotting barns, and sleeping dogs. It will behave nicely in a garden as long as you remove the vines that run across the ground since they start new plants by putting down roots anywhere there are clusters of leaves.

Positive Caedi25 On Apr 23, 2011, Caedi25 from Kirkland, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Lovely, lacey well-behaved climbers. Threw them a bit of a curve by putting them in on the shade-to-speckled-sun north side of our house, but they've adapted very gracefully. And have survived everything from warm wet to flash frozen winter conditions without special care. Just gave them nice strong string to scale and they've twisted their way to the top of an 8 foot tall trellis, and are now waving their viney heads around...probably looking for more string to follow. Subtle. Lovely.

Negative benno1 On Nov 20, 2010, benno1 from Ridgefield, CT wrote:

I came open this plant in the middle of a forested area in my town's open space land. It was completely covering a 150 by 150 foot area. It carpeted the floor and was vining up the trees. It is the most scary invasive I have ever seen except for maybe stilt grass. Mile a minute is not yet in my town but this certainly compares. It had not spread from a contiguous site. As i said, it was in the middle of the woods. Please alert others who seem to think this is a good plant. It should immediately be put on the "do not sell" lists.

Positive andreasable On Aug 20, 2010, andreasable from kurri kurri
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant had been growing in our yard draped over a screen house for 7-9 years. I have been in the home only the past 3 years so can only speak to the experience then. The previous years had been in a drought and the past 3 winters quite wet. I had only a few blooms the first year but as it was top heavy cut it back to within a metre of the root. the following year had many blooms ,still no fruit, and this year it has bloomed already..mid winter and is covered with thousands of blooms and buds. The bees seem to prefer other plants and perhaps it is pollinated by insects instead. There has been no seedlings or offshoots appear so I am presuming the heat of our summers 35-40+ keep it in check . Mine grows in full sun but the roots are shaded by a port wine magnolia tree.

Positive rana On Jul 9, 2010, rana from Half Moon Bay, CA wrote:

I love this plant. I positioned it at the edge of my deck, 12 feet from the side of the house. Originally I wanted it to cover the deck railing, but it surprised me by coming up between the deck and the house, where it has climbed the wall and given that side of the house the vine-covered cottage look. It does not have invasive tendrils, it simply twines around the wires that I made available instead of crawling into cracks in the siding. A yearly check-up and pruning keeps it tame.

It took me a few years to notice the blooms, which come pretty early in this part of California. Mine has never set fruit. I do not consciously water the plant during our dry summers--it only receives moisture from fog and watering of some nearby plants. I try to keep this part of my garden fairly dry because of the native oak trees that do not do well with summer watering. The deck does keep the root area of the akebia shaded and cool but where it grows on the wall can get pretty hot on a warm day.

By late winter, much of the akebia has lost its leaves, but in my climate it never loses them all. I have not done much pruning on it but this fall I plan to cut it back severely to get it growing in a different direction.

I could see where this might become invasive given a wet summer environment. But here it is perfect.

It has been eaten by deer and sheep when they have gotten into the garden.

Negative scott9000 On Nov 9, 2009, scott9000 from York Springs, PA wrote:

This invasive vine could be the next Kudzu! Do NOT plant unless you want to terrorize the few remaining natives that are struggling to survive in Eastern forests and ecosystems. . It appears innocent for the first year or so, then as it becomes established it will take over and you will have to fight to keep it in check from taking over your flowerbeds, woodlands, etc. Any lanscaper recommending this plant does not know what they are doing!

Neutral feashley On Jul 27, 2009, feashley from Denison, KS (Zone 5b) wrote:

Ordered 2 last spring ('09) from an internet vendor and planted them in a pot. So far, they're doing great, already bloomed once with dark purple flowers and the vines are looking pretty happy twining around a wild sunflower plant in the pot with them. I plan to move them close to my deck/arbor (southeast side) to shade the deck. Will update how they do on NE Kansas weather.

Positive kmerideth On Jul 15, 2009, kmerideth from Woodsfield, OH wrote:

I purchased two of these several years ago to try and create some shade over my fish pond. I had no clue what they were, just liked the woody vines. One of them blooms white and the other blooms purple. For the first time the purple one is hanging full of fruit this year. It's quite an amazing site. I have not had any problem containing them to one area but need to find out exactly how to prune them because they are becoming quite top heavy.

Positive jujubetexas On May 13, 2009, jujubetexas from San Marcos, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

It is not really invasive here in Central Texas because the summer heat and drought is just too much for it. I have to keep it in the shade and water it more than I like. I bet it is pretty drought tolerant is other less oppressive areas. Other than that, it has a vigorous growing period in the late spring and is attractive. I have two varieties and have had flowers but no fruit.

Positive robcorreia On Jul 31, 2008, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

The foliage is so beautiful I don't even need blooms. Cut all but 2 or 3 stems for a tracery effect. Very pretty vine, not invasive at all for me.

Positive megjemima On May 20, 2008, megjemima from Washington, DC wrote:

I planted this at my parents' home in Annapolis, MD six years ago. It is prolific but not invasive. Love it.

Negative jkn On Dec 26, 2007, jkn from Havre De Grace, MD wrote:

INVASIVE DO NOT PLANT!

Negative hudit On Sep 26, 2007, hudit from Seattle, WA wrote:

I inherited this plant when we bought this house 2 yrs ago. At first I was delighted by the beautiful, fragrant flowers. Then after the first year I noticed many little volunteers, which I quickly removed. It had gotten quite big, it's on a trellis about 6ft high by 7 ft wide, so I tried to prune it back. This year nothing grew back on the old wood but the top of it went wild, flowing over into the neighbor's yard! And I just noticed dozens of those seed pods! I don't know if I'm going to be able to get rid of this plant but I am going to have to try. It's too invasive for where it is planted. I would never put one back in my yard.

Positive _renee_ On Sep 24, 2007, _renee_ from Porirua
New Zealand wrote:

Finally I've identified a 'mystery vine' in my garden as Akebia quinata. It was cut back to virtually nothing along with the rest of the overgrown scrub on a bank behind my house and sprayed with herbicide last year. I noticed it flowering this spring from bare wood; we've now got leaves, and new vines have just started coming away in the last week. With the warm temperatures we've had it's suddenly started growing fairly quickly and I'm hoping by autumn it will have spread nicely. Love the pretty foliage and the smell and unusual colour of the flowers. Both flowers and foliage are mostly very small so far on my plant; this could be the cultivar? but I suspect they'll get bigger as the vine comes away again.

Kiweed - there is no Akebia triata but there is an Akebia trifoliata (three-leave Akebia) which must be what you've got.

Neutral Kiweed On May 3, 2007, Kiweed from Saratoga Springs, UT (Zone 8a) wrote:

Beware that it doesn't escape, especially in you live in a natural forested area. It can be invasive and very damaging to the natural habitat.

Positive stranjbrew On May 7, 2006, stranjbrew from Memphis, TN wrote:

I have a wonderful chocolate vine in Memphis that is 6 or 7 years old. It is a fast growing and spreading vine, but the runners are mainly aboveground and can be cut away without much effort if it becomes too rampant. Otherwise, like wisteria, a lot is good. It seems like the plant was quite a few years old before it began producing the little grape-cluster-like dark fruits that are so beautiful. Although the seeds don't stay around too long, the vine is lushly attractive all year long. It is one of my favorite plants!

Positive redhed4nu On Apr 24, 2006, redhed4nu from Burchard, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

This was growing on a corner of a shed when we moved in. The previous owner had put up a wire trellis, and it pretty much is contained to that area. It is in bloom now...you have to look closely to see the blooms as they are so dark. I couldn't tell it was in bloom from looking across the yard. Beautiful plant.

Positive ineedacupoftea On Apr 12, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:

Usually evergreen to 5 degrees F, give or take depending on individual. Prune in the spring after it blooms (as it blooms on 1+ year old wood.

Flowers are dominantly male, and a plant's first attempt may be all male (as pollen is cheaper to produce than fruit.) I liken the fragrance to a spiced version of honeysuckle.

Growth is greatest in spring and fall (in hot summer areas) but still grows rampantly all year. Likes full intense sun and blooms better with it.

Positive rkruvand On Apr 10, 2006, rkruvand from Huntsville, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Zone 7. We have 2 or more of them covering a rebar teepee, blooming both purple and white. They have a very unusual purple fruit and if allowed to ripen and cast seeds, they sprout all over the place. It is supposed to be edible, but that must be before the seeds ripen, because by the time it splits open there is no more pulp. I plan to pick them earlier this year and taste them. That would solve the seed problem. Anyone have a recipe for them?

Positive Beachgardengal On Mar 31, 2006, Beachgardengal from Horn Lake, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is beautiful in early spring in 7b. It does not grow as fast as wisteria but in just a few years (maybe 4) it has grown up both sides of our trellis and about halfway over the top (12 x 14 trellis), therefore I am a little unsure of the 4-6 foot height listed for it. I need to trim it now since it has grown "up" and has a "hat" appearance at the corners. I only planted two, one on each end, and they have met and intertwined very well. It does give off a sweet smell when in bloom. I love seeing this as one of my first bloomers each year and it looks great with the daffodils blooming underneath it!

Positive kzmiller On Feb 16, 2006, kzmiller from Washougal, WA wrote:

So far I love mine! I've only had it one growing season. Mid-fall it got powdery mildew, so I sprayed with an antifungal and that took care of it. It only seems to like climbing natural string. It took training to get it to wind around the post, but it climbs around the string (and itself) all by itself.

Positive NEgardener On Jun 12, 2005, NEgardener from Columbus, NE (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted this vine two years ago, but have not been aware of any flowers -- that could be our zone 5 climate, or maybe I just looked for them too late in the spring. I have it growing along with a clematis vine, whose flowers are lovely next to the chocolate vine's unusual foliage. It has grown amazingly fast. Because of concerns that this vine may eventually overpower the less-vigorous clematis, I may need to move the clematis to another location.

Positive ifiranthezoo On May 4, 2005, ifiranthezoo from Florence, AL wrote:

I'm in Alabama in zone 7 and have had one of these for about 3 years. It will definately take over if not contained. I'm posting to respond to some of the folks that haven't had blooms. I thought mine wasn't blooming, but realized this year I've been looking for blooms too late in the season. I happened to notice blooms on mine the first of March before our weather had even warmed up. It also bloomed lower on the vine on old growth instead of on the ends like I would have expected.

Neutral MontanaVineMan On Mar 19, 2005, MontanaVineMan from Helena, MT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted an Akebia 2 years ago and have had fairly good luck with it in my climate, surprisingly. You would think Montana weather to be much too inclement to this vine, but as I say, it has done quite well so far. Here, it is deciduous but comes back bigger and better every year. I have not had it bloom for me yet, and I'm not sure it will in my zone, but we shall just see about that! I am hoping it will eventually bloom, and if it does, I will probably get another and then hand pollinate them to see if I can actually get the fruit to appear too. I really like any plants that belong to the Lardizabalacae family. I hope I spelled that right! LOL!!! I am thinking of purchasing a Stauntonia and a Holboellia also, to be grown in my solarium. I pretty sure those would NOT grow outside in this climate! But to anyone else in Montana, or my zone, I would recommend trying an Akebia vine. It's quite beautiful and well behaved here so far and really worth the extra effort.

Neutral MN_Darren On Aug 11, 2004, MN_Darren from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

This vine seems very tropical in appearance for something that's so hardy--even in zone 4. I put it in last summer and it survived winter beautifully. However, I have had no blooms at all. I hear that it appreciates having a partner plant, but then I'd worry about it becoming rampant. It makes beautiful leaves and should do a nice job hiding an ugly chain link fence. I have had no trouble getting it to twine onto that fence, and find that it is fairly easy to keep it from choking out flowers in front of it. I wonder if it will bloom next year now that it has a nice woody base and long runners?

Positive Fran99 On Jun 15, 2004, Fran99 from Spartanburg, SC wrote:

Grows very well here in upstate SC. Once established needs some control. My vine was an escape and now, after about 10 years covers a large area of fence. Have never had fruit.

Neutral gardeneva On Jun 5, 2004, gardeneva from Smithsburg, MD wrote:

Just purchased this plant to place on arbor ... planting it to provide some shade for the patio underneath.

Neutral Cytania On Jul 13, 2003, Cytania wrote:

Two of the three plants I bought are suffering some kind of mildew and can't even be bothered to twine properly. The specimen I have that is thriving has more dappled shade and has lived up to the promise of vigorous climbing. Perhaps the sunny wall repuation is overplayed?

Positive sandiem On Mar 20, 2003, sandiem wrote:

Adapts well to growing in a container and has beautiful foliage. Mine hadn't bloomed for me and I'd had it for four years but now I think my mistake is cutting it back each fall. This summer should prove or disprove that for me. It takes the heat of the south in full sun very well.

Neutral ohmysweetpjs On Feb 13, 2003, ohmysweetpjs from Brookeville, MD wrote:

I don't have this yet, I'm getting seeds and cuttings. I've heard that this is very invasive. The fruit tastes like tapioca. However, this plant is a treat for cold climates which don't usually get to have such interesting plants.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Daleville, Alabama
Florence, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Half Moon Bay, California
La Honda, California
Pasadena, California
Redding, California
San Anselmo, California
San Diego, California
Clifton, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut
Naugatuck, Connecticut
Ridgefield, Connecticut
Westbrook, Connecticut
Washington, District Of Columbia
Milton, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Douglasville, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Evansville, Indiana
Denison, Kansas
Ewing, Kentucky
Havre De Grace, Maryland
Smithsburg, Maryland
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Marshfield, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Upton, Massachusetts
Warren, Michigan
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Hernando, Mississippi
Horn Lake, Mississippi
Platte City, Missouri
Helena, Montana
Burchard, Nebraska
Columbus, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Exeter, New Hampshire
Pennellville, New York
Southold, New York
Apex, North Carolina
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (4 reports)
Waxhaw, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Dundee, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Woodsfield, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Eugene, Oregon
Mill City, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Salem, Oregon
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Somerset, Pennsylvania
York Springs, Pennsylvania
North, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Memphis, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Houston, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
Mapleton, Utah
Lexington, Virginia
Federal Way, Washington
Felida, Washington
Kelso, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Monroe, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Washougal, Washington
Wild Rose, Wisconsin



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