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Akebia Quinata is better known as the vanilla-scented Chocolate Vine that will grow anywhere. It’s valuable for its ability to cover fences, walls and trees in areas that its sun-loving counterparts won’t thrive.
Akebia Quinata is a particularly vigorous climber that will easily reach ten metres in height. Its leaves are three-lobed and bright green creating the perfect backdrop for its cup-shaped maroon coloured flowers. These flowers are similar to an orchid’s in texture, being almost waxy and thick petalled with spiky purple stamens protruding from the centre. Akebia Quinata’s flowers appear in March and April clustered along the vines and giving out a spicy vanilla scent that attracts people and pollinators alike. The Chocolate Vine has leaves present for most of the year which turn a purple shade in winter. If you grow two plants in your garden they may fertilise one another and produce purpled-hued sausage shaped fruits in hot summers.
Hardiness Levels of Akebia Quinata
Akebia Quinata is hardy in all of the UK. As a semi-evergreen it will retain some foliage in the winter months, but severe frosts can cause it to lose all its leaves before they bud up again in springtime.
How To Use Akebia Quinata
Akebia Quinata is a climber so it requires vertical space. It’s best grown against a wall, fence or over a pergola or archway especially if it’s in a shady areas that other climber such as clematis or roses are not able to tolerate. Because it is so vigorous you will need to provide climbing support such as a trellis or wire frame.
You can plant Chocolate Vine directly into the ground or grow it in a container provided this is well-watered and fed in the summer months. Try growing it near an open window or seating area for evening scent in the summer months.
How To Care For Akebia Quinata
Chocolate Vine prefers moist well-drained soils. Any soil type is suitable - it’s happy in chalk, clay, sand or loam of any ph but will not thrive in water-logged conditions. It will climb in most soils and aspects but it does not respond well to transporting. Choose your planting spot carefully and try to avoid disturbing the roots when you mulch it each spring. If you want to maintain the height and spread of Akebia Quinata prune it back after flowering, removing any unruly shoots and dead vines along with the height reduction you need.
The exotic-looking and sweet-scented Chocolate Vine is an invaluable addition to a flower garden needing height and colour but with less than perfect soil conditions. Climbers can be temperamental but the Akebia Quinata is forgiving. It’s a reliable, tough climber that looks stunning in flower.
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