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Akebia quinata (photo courtesy of Monrovia)
Akebia quinata (photo courtesy of Monrovia)

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Zone
Zones 2-24, 29-43
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
Full, Partial, Shade
Regular Water
Moderate

Akebia quinata

Fiveleaf Akebia
Lardizabalaceae
Deciduous, Ground covers, Vines, Semi-evergreen

Native to Japan, China, and Korea. Twines to 15–30 ft. Grows fast in mild regions, more slowly where winters are cold. Valued chiefly for its dainty leaves on 3–5-in. stalks, each ­divided into five deep leaflets 2–3 in. long, notched at tips. Dangling clusters of quaint, dull purple, vanilla-scented flowers in spring are more a surprise than a show. The ­edible fruit, if produced, looks like a thick, 2 1/2–4-in.-long, purplish sausage. ‘Shirobana’ (‘Alba’) bears white flowers.

Give support for climbing. Keep plant under control to prevent it from becoming rampant. Prune each winter; recovers quickly even when cut to the ground. For a tracery effect on post or column, prune out all but two or three basal stems. Can also be used as groundcover in large spaces; plant 6 ft. apart.

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