Chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), also known as five leaf akebia, is a highly fragrant, vanilla scented vine that is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9. This deciduous semi-evergreen plant reaches its mature height of 15 to 20 feet (4.5-6 m.) rapidly and produces beautiful lilac flowers from May through June. Since the chocolate vine growth rate is so fast, it makes an excellent cover for arbors, trellises, pergolas, or fences. Growing chocolate vine produces edible seedpods that taste similar to tapioca pudding. If you wish to have fruit, you must plant more than one five leaf akebia vine.
How to Grow Akebia Quinata
Chocolate vine prefers a partially shaded spot in the garden. Although the plant will grow in full sun, it does best with protection from the afternoon heat. The soil for growing chocolate vine should be loamy with proper drainage and a high content of organic matter. You should begin planting chocolate vine plants in the garden after the last frost of spring in your area. Start seeds indoors six weeks before the last expected frost. Harden seedlings off in a protected area for at least a week before planting them in the ground.
Care and Control of Akebia Vine Plants
When growing chocolate vine plants, you will need to consider the care and control of Akebia vine plants. Therefore, it is imperative that the plant be controlled with regular pruning. The quick chocolate vine growth rate has a tendency to dominate the landscape and can easily overpower smaller plants. Give your vine plenty of room to spread and watch the plant so that it does not take over the garden. Prior to planting this vine, check with your local county extension to see if the plant is considered invasive in your area. Chocolate vine is drought resistant but does benefit from regular water. Although it's not really necessary, you can use an all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season to promote healthy plants and many blooms.
Propagation Chocolate Vine Plants
Harvest seeds once the pods are ripe and plant them right away in a greenhouse or cold frame. You can also propagate this hardy vine by taking a shoot cutting that is 6 inches (15 cm.) long from the new spring growth. Plant the cuttings in lightweight, fine compost or planting medium in a humid and warm spot until they root.
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