Akebia quinata
Chocolate vine
Type/Hardiness Semi-evergreen, Climber, Fruit, Hardy
Flowering period March-April
Height To 30ft/10m
Light preference Full sun/part shade
Soil preference Well drained, light, moist
Sowing time/depth Autumn, Spring, barely cover
A most attractive climbing vine that lends interest to the garden throughout most of the year. Pretty flowers, interesting foliage and striking lilac-skinned fruit, which are edible. The fruits are ripe when they split to revel their glistening white pulp, studded with shiny black seeds (which are also edible, so need not be discarded). The fruit has a delicate, subtly sweet, almost honey-like flavour.
Sowing and/or growing instructions
It's a good idea to stratify the seeds before sowing by sealing them in a plastic bag along with some damp compost and placing in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Sow in a pot of good quality compost, covering with a fine layer of compost, perlite or vermiculite. Cover pot with glass or seal in a plastic bag (do not exclude light) and maintain a temperature of 20-25C until germination occurs, which may be erratic, taking from 1-6 months. Prick out seedlings as they germinate and grow in in good light but not direct sunlight. Overwinter above freezing. Plant in final position against a sheltered wall or trellis when large enough to compete for light with established plants.
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