Silver Bells Chocolate Vine
Akebia quinata 'Silver Bells'
The blooms open in mid-spring in most climates, with three large, curved petals (actually sepals) of creamy white surrounding a rosy-red, star-shaped center. Unbelievably showy against the large, bright green foliage, they remain for weeks, releasing a subtle fragrance that is most welcome in the spring garden. So attractive, long-lasting, and unique!
After the blooms pass, the 2- to 5-inch leaves remain, creating a lush presence. And if you have planted another Akebia nearby, in late summer and autumn the vine will bear oblong blue fruits 4 to 5 inches long, filled with tart pulp and seeds -- very useful for canning.
Native to the Orient, Silver Bells thrives in any well-drained soil, and is quite floriferous. Expect it to reach 15 feet high and wide, and to remain hardy to temperatures of -25 degrees F. Give your garden a distinctive difference with this exceptional vine! Zones 4-10.
|Zone||4 - 10|
|BloomStartToEnd||Mid Spring - Late Spring|
|AdditionalCharacteristics||Berries, Bird Lovers, Bloom First Year, Easy Care Plants, Fragrance, Free Bloomer, Long Bloomers, Rose Companions, Trellises|
|BloomColor||Cream, Dark Red, Rose|
|HarvestSeason||Early Fall, Late Summer, Mid Fall|
|LightRequirements||Full Sun, Part Shade|
|MoistureRequirements||Dry, Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Cold Hardy, Disease Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant, Pest Resistant|
|SoilTolerance||Clay, Normal, loamy, Poor, Sandy|
|Uses||Border, Cuisine, Foliage Interest, Outdoor, Vines and Climbers|
|Restrictions||Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands|
Fiveleaf Akebia / Chocolate Vine
Set out plants 15 to 20 feet apart in a light, well drained soil of average fertility. To train the vine to climb, provide a sturdy support. To use as a ground cover, plant away from cultivated areas as A. quinata produces invasive underground runners and stems that root readily upon touching the soil.
Little if any fertilization is required, but water thoroughly during periods of drought. Prune every year, either in fall or early spring-don’t be afraid to prune to the ground to control this vigorous spreader.
Zones 4 to 9
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Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:
1. Water with a drip system whenever possible – soak the bed slowly and thoroughly to a depth of 10" to 12".
2. Watering deeply every 3 to 5 days is preferable to a shallow daily watering.
3. Water in the early morning, so foliage has time to dry.
4. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch or similar material to aid in water retention and help keep the roots cool during hot weather.