Akebia–Care Guide

These climbing shrubs have pretty, light green leaves and carry fragrant purple flowers in the spring. They are vigorous growers, and can reach 8.5m (28 ft). They readily twist their stems round any vertical supports, and need very little training or pruning. Akebia quinata is the species commonly seen. It keeps its leaves all winter if the weather is mild, or if it is growing in sheltered areas. Akebia trifollata loses its leaves in the autumn, and has smaller flowers, which can be killed by late frost, as it blooms in spring, earlier than A. quinata.


General care: Dislikes full sun.

Plant in any good garden soil against a north- or east-facing fence or wall. Water well in dry spells until it is established. Does not like its roots disturbed, so you should use only container-grown plants, and leave the shrub unmoved once it is established. Akebia is not fully hardy, and should be given a frost-free spot if possible. It will need protecting with straw or bracken Ma hard winter, especially when the plant is young.

Propagation: Take semi-hardwood cuttings, about 10 cm (4 in) long, in early September, preferably with a ‘heel’ of old wood. Remove some lower leaves. Dip the heel in hormone rooting compound and insert in a 50-50 mixture of peat and sand in a small pot. Cover with a polythene bag until the cutting has taken. Akebia can also be raised from seeds sown in the greenhouse in September, or by simple layering carried out in summer.

Pests and diseases: Akebia is generally free from pests and diseases.

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