Bring an air of mystery to your garden with this rare and underestimated vine! In mid- to late spring, Silver Bells Chocolate Vine offers charming rosy flowers, which are followed later in the season by magenta, lozenge-shaped fruits that is delicious in jams and jellies. The semi-evergreen foliage, easy climbing habit, and great adaptability to various climates complete the package!
Ideal for sunny to partly shady garden spots, Silver Bells sets stunning blooms in mid- to late spring, large bright green foliage that remains evergreen in warm climates, and lozenge-shaped fruit that makes fine jellies and jams. A lovely presence in any setting, it is a great choice to blanket an unsightly fence, a trellis, or any other garden structure.
The blooms open in mid-spring in most climates, with three large, curved petals (actually sepals) of creamy white surrounding a red, star-shaped center. Unbelievably showy against the large, bright green foliage, thee blooms remain for weeks, releasing a subtle, inviting fragrance.
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.
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
Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates: