Anything to do with chocolate is very good for me and this beautiful spring flowering vine is no exception to my rule. It’s a scrambler and a climber and puts on stacks of growth each spring, so this plant needs space, either supported on its journey upwards or trained horizantally around a fence or wall. The flower buds open into a chocolate-crimson coloured fragrant cup-shaped flower. Exquisite! If you are lucky enough to see the fruit it produces, these are edible, alas, reported to taste more like custard than chocolate!
I am growing cuttings just now, so if you know anyone who has one of these plants I recommend that you kindly ask them for cutting material too. April is a good time for the abundant new growth to be cut for cutting material. Take away the leaves with your fingers or a sharp knife and keep each cutting to approximately 10cms in height, dib dab the bottom of the cutting in a root hormone. Immerse cuttings into organic compost mixed with sand and horticultural potting grit and enclose with plastic film or a clear plastic bag. Let them get warm in a sunny (out of direct sunlight) and sheltered place until they grow their own roots. Keep them moist but not waterlogged, we want the little plants to produce roots and so by taking away the leaves we encourage their growth energy towards making them. Do also keep an eye out for new leaf growth being made from the leaf buds, this is a very exciting time.. give them a few weeks like this and let me know how you get on.
Botanical name: Akebia quinata
Other names: Chocolate vine
Species: A. quinata – A. quinata is a fast-growing, semi-evergreen climber with fragrant cup-shaped purple flowers, which may be followed by large, sausage-shaped fruits.
Akebia quinata is: Semi evergreen
Flower: Purple in Spring
Foliage: Green in All seasons
Fruit: Purple, Pale-purple in Autumn
Fragrance: Flowers have a strong, spicy, vanilla scent
Habit: Climbing, Spreading
If you would like to talk with me about a new planting scheme in your garden, please do feel free to get in touch, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. For gardening maintenance enquiries (North-East London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Enfield) please telephone 07818 005773. Always happy to answer gardening questions if I can or steer you towards resources. Happy gardening!