Also known as Chocolate Vine, Akebia (lat. Akebia quinata and Akebia trifoliata) is as yet a relatively unknown twining climber, but is much appreciated for its filigree leaves and long lasting foliage. A twining climber.


A sunny to (semi-)shaded position, warm and preferably protected from wind. Sandy, well-drained loam with plenty of nutrients and humus and regular water provision.

Growth and Leaves

This twiner's initial growth is rather slow, but with good care will display dense foliage after 2-3 years. Suckers can make up for the bare lower stems. A good watering regime and relatively mild weather will ensure the foliage will last well into winter. In warmer climates such as wine-growing regions, the plant is semi-evergreen.

Potsdam / Brandenburg, Castle Park Sanssouci, foliage in spring
Akebia on wire rope with intermediate brackets.
Akebia trifoliata (Three Leaf Akebia)
Semi-ripe fruit (“blue cucumbers,” giving the plant one of its German common names)
Akebia quinata

Flower and Fruit

Red-brown clusters in early spring, only perceived from close-up. The bizarre, edible fruit develop - if at all - only in the warmer wine-growing regions.

Growth Support Systems

Best to use a vertical system with wire ropes at intervals of approx. 25cm. Horizontal wires require weaving in of the shoots. See below for suitable systems. Medium or Heavy Duty Growth Support Systems, Light Systems for pot plants.


Prune to thin out every 2-3 years; occasional rigorous pruning of single shoots in early spring will encourage new shoots from the base.

Ripe fruit of Chocolate Vine
Akebia as pot plant
Such vigorous single trunks are rather rare
Before budding in spring

Suitable growth support systems for Akebia

Please click on the graphic illustrations!

 = suitable               = moderately suitable               = unsuitable