Climbing plants

Finger-leaved acebia - exotic climbing plant with aromatic fruit

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The finger-leaved acebia - evergreen tendril, intensely fragrant flowers and exotic fruits. You can also cultivate this exotic.

© ph_stephan - Fotolia.com Hand on heart, dear hobby gardener, may you be the same? Some plants or trees should grow in their own garden, which are not necessarily in the neighboring garden. In addition, these plants should have endearing properties: evergreen and climbing, have a beautiful leaf structure, produce bewitchingly fragrant flowers or bear exotic-looking fruits.

Finger-leaved acebia can come up with these outstanding criteria. As a climbing foliage, it is often used to green residential areas. In the garden, however, it is only very rarely cultivated as a fruit plant. What is this climbing plant all about?

Undemanding plant for the orchard

The finger-leaved acebia originally comes from Asia. It is at home in Japan, Korea and East China and grows there as a wild plant in mountainous forest regions. This ranker is known by other names. It is also called climbing cucumber, blue cucumber vine or chocolate wine. The latter is derived from the English because of its intense fragrance.

The best location for the leafy acebia

The climbing acebia places little demands on its location. That is why it is very popular as an ornamental plant in public greenery for greening facades. It thrives on all medium to heavy soils, provided sufficient water and nutrients are provided. The plant feels comfortable both in full sun and in partial shade. In our latitudes it is up Hardy at -20 ° C, The plant is leafy green in mild winters and only loses part of the delicate, five-lobed leaves.

Easy care and disease resistant

The care of this strongly climbing acebia is largely problem-free. Diseases and pests on the climbing plant hardly occur in our region. It is even resistant to Hallima mushrooms that haunt many climbing trees.

The climbing plant needs a supporting structure. A trellis on the house facade or on the garage wall is very useful for this. You can also create a scaffold, such as for blackberries or a pergola, as for the wine plant. Ultimately, an annual rejuvenation or thinning cut is sufficient as care. Then, similar to wine, in summer the fast-growing tendrils must be cut into the barriers.

Different varieties guarantee the fruit

© Miyuki Satake - Fotolia.com Both male and female flowers on the same plant produce the acebia. However, the single plant is sterile because it is not self-pollinating. As a result, a second plant is required for the fruit set. However, this must not be of the same type. That means: two different varieties must be planted. A planting distance of around two meters is recommended.

Selection of acebia varieties
No problem! It is best to contact specialized nurseries. There you will also find varieties that differ mainly in the color of the flowers and the fruit skin, such as Alba, Shiro Bana, Purple Incense.

After fertilization of the female flowers, elongated fruits grow from it. The name climbing cucumber is derived from this. But it is not a vegetable, as one or the other may assume. Blue climbing banana might have been a better fit because of the sweet pulp of the fruit. The fruits grow individually or in fan-shaped clusters with up to ten fruits.

They are a well-known type of fruit in the rural regions of Japan. The size of the fruit is different. The individual fruit can grow up to 20 cm long and 5 cm in diameter.

Ripening period from September to October

Depending on the location, maturity begins in September and continues until mid-October. At the beginning the fruits are still green. When it ripens, the skin takes on its typical color. Depending on the variety, this can vary from white-gray, yellowish to blue-violet. The fruit is fully ripe as soon as it shows a dark longitudinal line. Finally, the acebia fruit can be opened lengthways on it. The edible sweet pulp is almost transparent and jelly-like. It contains many small black seed kernels that have a vanilla-like aroma. These kernels can be spooned directly from the fruit and eaten with them. It is best to suck around the fruit seeds. Because when bitten, they give off a bitter taste and cause a burning sensation in the throat.

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