Family: Lardizabalaceae

Semi-evergreen woody vines, evergreen in temperate sections, safely hardy in all but the coldest sections. The plants have a neat, delicate habit and are particularly useful for creating a light foliage pattern with slender, finger-shaped leaves. The flowers are purplish and inconspicuous, and are of separate sexes on the same plant; hand-pollination may be necessary in order to set seed.

Akebias are effective for almost every landscaping purpose – as ground cover; draped over stumps and rocks; on trellises and other structures; against stone walls. They are vigorous and deep-rooted, and can top fifteen feet the first year. They are sometimes grown in the cool greenhouse, might be effective – if kept under control – as backgrounds for spacious container gardens.

Sun is preferred, partial shade is acceptable. Soil should be moderately rich, with perfect drainage. Any pruning to lighten or shape the vine should be done immediately after flowering. Provide supports for twining stems.

Propagation is by seeds, division of roots, or stem cuttings over bottom heat at almost any time during the growing season. This is one of the most pest-free vines; even Japanese beetles ignore it.

Akebia quinata – five-leaf akebia – Ferny groups of five oval leaves lasting well into winter. “One of the best foliage vines” in the country. Fragrant, purplish flowers hide under the leaves in May.

Akebia trifoliata – three-leaf akebia – Grows fast to twenty feet or more, flowers in early spring. Leaves grouped in triplets.

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