Monday, July 6th, 2009...12:00 am

Clematis or Akebia?

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Clematis and Akebia by edgeplot

Clematis and Akebia by edgeplot

TheGardenLady received this question from Rose.

I saw a gorgeous plant at a person’s house and thought it was a clematis. She said it wasn’t and said a name like “boca via” or something. I tried to do a search and couldn’t find anything like that. It is a very tall plant in a huge pot with a trellis type thing to hold it up. Just beautiful! Any ideas what is was?

Trying to find a plant without knowing its Latin name or even a common name, with no description of the flower and its color nor having a photo of the plant- even a photo of its leaves if not a photo of the flower, is asking a lot of TheGardenLady.

I will guess that your friend might have an Akebia Trifoliata known as the three leaf chocolate vine. This has a pretty flower. with a fragrance. It doesn’t like its roots disturbed and can be planted in a container or in the garden. It grows tall.

BUT Akebias can be INVASIVE.   See here.  If this is the vine you are seeking, when buying BE WARY! What does invasive mean? It means that the roots or seeds of the plant will spread all over and for the rest of your life you will be trying to kill the plant all over your yard and your neighbors’ yards. Invasive plants do not allow other plants to live and because the Akebia is not native, it will probably not allow native birds or good insects like butterflies to have sufficient foods that they need. Especially the Akebia quinta (the five leaf chocolate vine) which is definitely said to be VERY invasive. I’ve read of a new variety of Akebia quinta called Silver Bells Chocolate vine. TheGardenLady thinks that this vine will also be an invasive. Just because something is sold does not mean that it is ok.

Please, if this is the vine you are looking for, check out your state’s invasive list or call your local Master Gardener office to check on the plant’s invasiveness. I would worry about the invasive quality of any Akebia and buy a beautiful clematis instead. There are so many clematis to choose from.

If the Akebia is not the vine you are looking for, contact Georgiavines. The owner has made it her life’s work to raise vines of all kinds. She might even suggest a vine for you that the person whose vine you loved will find even more enticing. Two other vine nurseries are here and here.

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