GardenArtist
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Chocolate vine won't grow.

Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum... and quite new to gardening, so I hope you'll forgive my naivety.

A relative of mine bought two chocolate vines from Publisher's Clearing House, one for herself and one for me. We planted them over a month ago and they're still only four or so inches tall when, as explained in the packaging, they were supposed to grow six feet tall the first year. We're both frustrated because we have them in optimal conditions - partial shade in the morning and sun the rest of the day with frequent watering every other day. We live in zone 4 which is, according to everything we've read, suitable for chocolate vines, but despite all of this they just won't grow. She's bought several other things from Publisher's Clearing House that didn't survive, though these plants are still nice, leafy, and green... they just won't get any taller.

As far as fertilizer goes, my rabbits have lent their services. I've put a bit of rabbit feces around the plant and then gave it a good watering, so I hope that does it some good. The rabbits helped out a small maple that we all thought was going to die, so I figured it wouldn't hurt...

But what is wrong? Is there anything we can do to make them grow?

Thanks!!
-GA

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

akebia - chocolate vine

Don't know what the problem is, except that akebia is known for being drought tolerant, so if you are watering every other day, that may be too much. Try waiting til the soil dries out a little.

But what I have seen lists akebia as being hardy only to zone 5. If you are in zone 4, you might want to think about bringing it in to some protected spot (garage?) or mulch really heavily for the winter, to try to help it get through. (Actually it varies a little, of six references, five said down to zone 5, one said down to zone 3-- probably depends on the species as well as your micro-climate conditions and how bad the winter turns out to be. Still to be safe winter protection would be good)

I wouldn't have thought of Publisher's clearinghouse as a place to get plants. They specialize in getting people to order magazines in order to get entries into their contests. In the future try a little more reputable nursery! You don't know what may have happened to your plant before you got it.

GardenArtist
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Re:

I'll cut back on the watering and see how that goes. And as far as zones go, we got the plant a little more than a month ago, and the weather so far has been decent. The packaging said that it was okay in zone four, but I do believe I'll be bringing it in for the winter anyway since most references say zone five... but seeing as it's summer, I would've thought that the plant would have done alright.

We've learned that PCH isn't a great place to get plants. My relative got raspberry plants as well that are little more than sticks, along with some sort of grass that has all died. And her blueberry plant has only a few little leaves. Everything we've read about the chocolate vine says that it's an invasive plant... we've been joking about that because ours is anything but.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

chocolate vine

Yes, you are right, regardless what happens to it in winter, it should have done fine in the summer. It is apparently invasive in areas where the conditions suit it; in zone 4 it won't be, even if it does start thriving more.

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