Akebia quinata

Chocolate vine

Reader rating

From 4 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous climber

Flower colour



Flowers, Fruit



Skill level


Akebia quinata

Plant details

Akebia quinata is an unusual climber, best grown in for warmer gardens since the flowers are prone to damage from late frosts. The maroon-chocolate flowers look almost artificial, with three thick, waxy 'petals' forming an inverted cup shape. These are clustered along the stems and have an exotic spicy fragrance with a hint of vanilla. They stand out against a background of light purple, three-lobed leaves, most colourful in full sun. In mild conditions the leaves last all winter but in cold areas expect them to be shed. After a particularly warm summer, large sausage-shaped fruit dangle enticingly from the stems.

Grow Akebia quinata in moist but well-drained soil in full sun, ideally with some shelter provided by a sunny wall. Alternatively grow it in a conservatory or greenhouse.

Family: Lardizabalaceae

Genus: Akebia

Species: quinata

Plant type: Deciduous climber

Flower colour: Purple

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Fruit

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Dry

Hardiness: Tender

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 1000cm

Spread: 500cm

Reader reviews


too big for my garden, any ideas?

Annie Lee Cummins

I personally would not have one again.I planted this over a pergola about five years ago,which contained a beautiful David Austin rose,Honeysuckle & Mrs Bateman Clematis.While it started off looking & smelling very nice,it has turned into a 'beast' & is strangling everything in site! It also sends out runners along the ground which invade everything & are difficult to remove -no amount of cutting back,seems to kill it,so if anyone has any ideas of how to depose of it I would be very grateful.x

Linda Gruchy

I planted one and it's a rampant thug. The flowers are disappointingly small. I have decided to keep it cut very hard back.


I have 2 of these planted on trellis on a 2 garage back wall at the end of my garden. They have successfully covered the wall and do flower but the flowers are so small and dark they really don't stand out that much. I live on the south coast & they tolerate the weather. I have a passion flower climber at the other end that has weaved its way through the chocolate vine and looks pretty. My question : can I hard cut back the chocolate vine & when is the best time here in the south?

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