Akebia – a climbing plant that produces nice fruit


Are you looking for a climbing plant that is resilient, fast growing and can climb your pergola or other supports? Well, you are in luck. A shrub called akebia is the perfect solution. It is a less-known climbing shrub but it offers other benefits. The first great benefit is that it produces sweet-smelling flowers and later edible fruits, and the second benefit is that it can help you to dry walls and maybe even get rid of unpleasant mould. It is a fast growing shrub and it can grow up to 2 meters per year.

Akebia or chocolate vine

Akebia is also called a chocolate vine. It can climb up to ten meters. Leaves are elliptic and dark green. Flowers appear in May together with small leaves. Flowers are dark purple and produce an intoxicating vanilla-like fragrance. They grow in beautiful small overhanging clusters. Female flowers are several times larger than the male ones. The fruit is approximately 10 cm long and about 3 cm wide and the shape resembles cucumbers. You can start harvesting in September. Of course, the fruit is edible, so do not worry.


Photo: Commons.wikimedia.org

Easy cultivation

Akebia will grow in almost any soil because it is a very undemanding plant. It deals well with droughts, direct sun or partial shade. But you must protect young akebia plants from freezing temperatures. Akebia may be propagated by seeds or cuttings. Plant akebia along eastern or northern walls or pergolas – it needs a support of some kind to grow. An adult plant takes a lot of water from the soil and from its surroundings – so, if drying walls is on your mind, plant it near a damp foundation and it should help you to dry the wall out. You do not need to bother with pruning or any other treatment. Akebia is resilient and not susceptible to pests or diseases.

Akebia in Chinese medicine

Akebia comes from China and Japan and it has always been a part of traditional medicine – stems, shoots, roots and fruit are used. Thanks to its antiviral, antibacterial and analgesic properties akebia is used to treat inflammation, it also reduces fever and promotes sweating. It is also used to fight inflammation of the urinary tract, reduce swelling, calm upset stomach and reduce menstrual problems.


Akebia fruit is sweet and rather popular. Lemon juice is often added to enhance the taste. The part at the beginning of the fruit has a rather bitter taste and it is often fried and served as a side dish. Young shoots or leaves are usually added to salads but you can also make tea from akebia leaves.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *