Akebia trifoliata (Three-leaf Akebia)

Scientific Name

Akebia trifoliata (Thunb.) Koidz.

Common Names

Three-leaf Akebia, Chocolate Vine

Synonyms

Clematis trifoliata (basionym), Akebia trifoliata subsp. trifoliata, Akebia clematifolia, Akebia lobata, Akebia quercifolia, Akebia sempervirens

Scientific Classification

Family: Lardizabalaceae
Genus: Akebia

Flower

Color: Deep purple
Bloom Time: Mid-spring

Description

Akebia trifoliata is a strong-growing climber with leaves composed of three ovate, slightly lobed leaflets, often bronze-tinted when young. It grows up to 30 feet (9 m) long. Evergreen in mild winters loses its leaves in cold climates, but the twining, woody branches are handsome even when bare. The flowers are deep purple in short racemes, followed by light purple fruits.

Akebia trifoliata - Three-leaf Akebia
Photo via tradewindsfruit.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 5a to 9b: from −20 °F (−28.9 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Plant the Chocolate Vine in the spring or fall in average, well-drained soil. If you wish to grow the fruits, plant at least two vines to increase pollination and fruiting chances.

Chocolate Vine is a light feeder and doesn't require supplemental flower fertilizer. You can provide trace nutrients for vines growing in poor soil by mulching with compost or well-rotted manure.

The Chocolate Vine will climb on supports or scramble up to 40 feet (12 m). Many gardeners prune the chocolate vine back to ground level in late winter because of its vigorous growth habit to keep it in check. You can also lightly prune the vine to help it look tidy after flowering.

Practice good stewardship of the land by not allowing Chocolate Vine to escape your landscape into neighboring woodland areas. In some areas, it has displaced native plants with its dense vegetation. The vines have the potential to choke out small trees when left untended in wild areas. See more at How to Grow and Care for Chocolate Vine (Akebia quinata).

Origin

Native to Japan.

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