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Akebia is a large deciduous perennial vine that can be grown in either sun or shade. In fact, it’s one of the few perennial vines you can enjoy in a shade or woodland garden. In spring this plant shows off delicate purple or white flowers that smell of chocolate. As enticing as that scent may be, it’s the lush foliage that really makes this vine worth growing. The blue-green leaves are divided into leaflets, adding a wonderfully soft texture as the vine scales walls, pergolas, and other structures. Give akebia a sturdy support—it grows large and heavy at maturity and may crush small structures.
If springtime flowers are pollinated, akebia may produce edible, sausage-shape fruits. The vine usually needs a different variety planted nearby to produce fruit. Though edible, the fruit is not particularly tasty.
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Colors of Akebia Vine
Because akebia grows fast when happy, it is ideal for creating a living privacy screen, blocking a view, or creating a lush green wall. Be sure to plant it where you'll be able to see—and smell—the springtime blossoms up close. Even without flowers, akebia makes a great plant for the back of the property. Its fine texture fades into the distance and can help even small spaces feel larger. Because it is a large, fast-growing vine, akebia is best planted on its own, rather than with other vines.
Caring For Akebia
Grow akebia in full sun or afternoon sun with morning shade for best growth and flowering. When sited in full shade, this vine grows more slowly and blooms less than it would in full sun. In addition, the foliage doesn't get as dense.
Akebia likes moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter. It doesn't handle drought well, so keep it in a place where you'll be able to provide irrigation during periods of hot, dry weather. As with most plants, providing a 3- to 4-inch-deep layer of mulch over the soil around the roots helps the soil stay moist longer in hot, dry weather. The mulch also suppresses weeds.
A fast-growing vine that needs support, akebia responds well to pruning. In fact, you can cut it back significantly in winter if it grows out of bounds. Prune it less heavily in late spring after it's finished blooming if you want to enjoy more flowers the following year.
Note: Akebia has shown some invasive tendencies. Check local restrictions before planting it.