Content Detail

Five-leaved akebia is a vigorous vine and may grow aggressively enough that it needs to be controlled.  Akebia has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This plant is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting this vine for planting sites.

  • Family (English) Lardizabala
  • Family (botanic) Lardizabalaceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Dry soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Wet sites
  • Season of interest late spring
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Purple
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and method of climbing:

Five-leaved akebia can grow 25 to 30 feet long.  It is a twining vine. Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support.  This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is native to China and Japan.

Leaf description:

The alternate leaves are palmately compound with 5 leaflets each.  Each leaflet is oblong with an entire margin. Newly emerging leaves are tinged with purple, then change to green in summer.  Leaves stay green in fall.

Flower description:

Male and female flowers are borne on the same plant.  Each flower is small, but they are held in clusters of 2 to 5.  The dark purple flowers are fragrant.

Fruit description:

Akebia has a fleshy pod-like fruit (a follicle).  The oblong fruit is 2 to 4 inches long, purple on the outside and white inside. Fruit is not always produced.  It is thought that flowers on one plant may need to be pollinated by flowers from another plant.

Plant care:

This vine grows well in part sun to full shade (very shade tolerant) and is tolerant of drought and poor soils.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

This vine has no serious pests. Five-leaved akebia is a vigorous vine and may grow aggressively enough that it needs to be controlled.

Purple Rose five-leaved akebia (Akebia quinata ‘Purple Rose’):

This cultivar has reddish-purple flowers.

Shirobana five-leaved akebia (Akebia quinata ‘Shirobana’):  

A white-flowered cultivar that produces dark purple fruit.

Silver Bells five-leaved akebia (Akebia quinata ‘Silver Bells’):

Flowers are light pink to almost white and fruit are blue.

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