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Akebia Species, Chocolate Vine, Five-Leaf Akebia, Raisin Vine

Akebia quinata

Family: Lardizabalaceae
Genus: Akebia (a-KEE-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: quinata (kwi-NAY-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Akebia micrantha
Synonym:Akebia quinata var. diplochlamys
Synonym:Akebia quinata var. polyphylla
Synonym:Akebia quinata var. yiehii
Synonym:Akebia sempervirens
View this plant in a garden


Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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


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

Daleville, Alabama

Florence, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Half Moon Bay, California

LA HONDA, California

NORTH FORK, 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

Youngsville, Louisiana

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

Jacksonville, 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

Dunlap, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Houston, Texas

San Marcos, Texas

Mapleton, Utah

Lexington, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Stephens City, Virginia

Federal Way, Washington

Felida, Washington

Kelso, Washington

Kirkland, Washington

Monroe, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Washougal, Washington

West Side Highway, Washington

Woods Creek, Washington

Wild Rose, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 18, 2016, trudybb from Youngsville, LA wrote:

I'm in zone 9 South Louisiana & planted a cutting from a friend 12 years ago. It rooted & grew in a modest pot with a 3' lattice for a couple of years. Then I potted it in a large 10+ gallon pot on my patio near a corner post 8 years ago that is surrounded by an uncovered 12'x12' concrete patio. I'm saying that if it dropped seeds or tried to spread it was not the right environment for either. I added fishing line from the post to the house eves in both directions & it now grows back & forth year to year & now is a 12" wide tight vine adding the soft greenery as I envisioned way back. It's evergreen & does make insignificant tiny brownish flower clusters as shown in many pictures that I don't find have a smell. I recommend it as an evergreen covering where wanted in zone 9 +. It grows mode... read more


On Aug 25, 2015, angelica101 from Stephens City, VA wrote:

This Akebia Vine vine was here when we bought the house. Wow, but I hate it! I have been three years trying to rid my back yard of it and have finally succeeded. It was absolutely killing a most beautiful Mock Orange shrub that was unfortunately growing along side of it. The vine literally stripped the Mock Orange of its leaves. I would only get a few of those sweet smelling orange blossoms. Finally, this year, I have a full bushy Mock Orange that is teeming with their little white delicious smelling flowers. You feel as if you are in heaven when it blooms in the spring. I will say that the Akebia did bloom and the blossoms did smell of chocolate. Too bad the two plants can't co-exist. Doesn't The fragrance of chocolate/orange remind you of Lady Godiva cream filled chocolates...o... read more


On Jul 22, 2015, MsMuddyToes from Kansas City, MO wrote:

I was told that this would be a good plant to climb in the shade and that it is semi evergreen, but it loses it's leaves here. It has never bloomed, but I have pretty much ignored it. The stump it was to cover finally rotted away, so I have provided it with a post. I took some cuttings as the chickenwire it was growing on was too large and I had to cut it back. I have had it for several years, but it is in shade. It has behaved itself nicely, but I put some cuttings in water and they already have roots so I looked it up here. I am not sure if I should dig it up now or not, but since it is in the shade and in acid soil where a large pine tree was for years, it seems ok. I just pulled out a ton of Vinca from the same spot and don't want any more invasives. We shall see if it takes off, bloom... read more


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.


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'... read more


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 hor... read more


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!!


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.


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.


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.


On Jul 31, 2012, cam2 from Gustine, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 fairl... read more


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.


On Sep 24, 2007, _renee_ from Wellington,
New Zealand (Zone 10a) 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 trif... read more


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.


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!


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.


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.


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?


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!


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.


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.


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.


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 ... read more


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?


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.