How to Grow Akebia quinata Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Chocolate Vine

Akebia quinta is a member of the Lardizabalaceae family of plants. It is commonly known as the Chocolate vine.

NOTE: This plant is considered invasive in many parts of the World. ONLY GROW IN THE GARDEN AFTER CHECKING THAT IT IS FINE TO DO SO IN YOUR AREA

Akebia quinata purple flowers
Akebia quinata with Purple flowers, photograph by Hunda; CC.

This semi-evergreen climbing plant is native to Eastern Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Japan.

It carries cup shaped flowers of purple and its fruits are the same colour. Once planted do not disturb its roots.

Its dangling chocolate-purple blooms have three petals that appear in early spring on deciduous vines.

These vines grow quickly and reach 20-40 feet (6 to 12 m) in length.

Akebia quinata produces glossy dark green oval-shaped leaves that grow in clusters of five.

Plants have attractive blooms that carry a light chocolate scent.

The aromatic flowers are replaced by four inch (10 cm) fruit pods containing small black seeds that drop in the autumn / fall.

Chocolate Vine fruit
Chocolate Vine fruit, picture by gailhampshire; CC.

The fruit contains a soft white pulp similar to white dragon fruit, a Japanese delicacy. The slightly bitter rind has culinary use and can be used as a deep-fried or stuffed vegetable.

This vigorous vine will cover fences and trellises and can climb walls.

It also makes a great ground cover and will easily camouflage unsightly areas, as well as help prevent soil erosion on banks and slopes.

Chocolate Vine yellow flowers
Chocolate Vine variety with Yellow flowers, photograph by Megan Hansen; CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Chocolate Vine

Chocolate vine is easy to grow in well-drained, sandy loam that has regular moisture.

Chocolate vine is easy to grow in well-drained, sandy loam that has regular moisture.

Plant in full sun to partial shade.

Hardy in Zones 4-8, this amazing vine may grow as much as 20 feet (6 m) per year.

If pruning is required, it should be done late in spring after flowers have bloomed.

Akebia quinata Alba
Akebia quinata Alba variety, the White Chocolate Vine, photograph by F. D. Richards; CC.

Propagate using cuttings at least six inches (15 cm) long from new spring growth. Place the Chocolate vine cuttings in compost or planting medium in a warm, humid location until they root.

To propagate Akebia quinata from seeds, wait until the pods are ripe and sow the seeds in a greenhouse environment.

Akebia quinata Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Akebia quinata
  • Common Name: Chocolate vine
  • Growing Zone: USA: 4 to 8
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Vine

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 240 to 480
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 240 to 480
  • Time of Bloom: spring
  • Flower Details: Purple, Red
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Variable height, Variable spread

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Quick
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Medium
  • Propagation: Seed, softwoodcuttings or layering
  • How to Prune: As a vigorous climber it is important to prune back flowers that occur on last years growth following flowering, while flowers on this years growth should be pruned towards the end of winter or in spring. Other than this no need to perform pruning except to keep plants tidy and confined.
  • Pests: Usually pest free
  • Diseases: Usually pest free

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of: Deer, Heavy Shade, Erosion
  • Best Garden Use: Arbor
  • Family: Lardizabalaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Decaisnea, Stauntonia.

  • Miscellaneous: Non-native to North America, Locally invasive, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers / blooms
  • Genus Detail: Akebia
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

Chocolate vine
Akebia quinata photograph by Leonora (Ellie) Enking.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Akebia quinata. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Cardiospermum and Cinnamon Vine.