The Chocolatey Flowering Vine You'll Regret Growing In Your Garden

Owning a plant that sends the smell of chocolate wafting through your garden may sound like something out of Willy Wonka's factory, but it's not a thing of fiction. The chocolate vine, known scientifically as Akebia quinata, smells exactly like its name suggests. The flowers and leaves that grow from its vines produce a scent that smells like chocolate or vanilla to some people. Not only that, but it's also visually lovely, offering an array of pink and purple blooms with rounded petals. 

There's just one problem: This candy-scented plant is considered an invasive vine and has a propensity to take over different ecosystems with a vengeance. So, while it may add a unique twist to the usual earthy and floral scents emanating from your planters and garden soil, it's not worth the risk. Here's why you'll regret adding this invasive species to your garden, as well as some other alternative plants that smell just as delicious but won't cause you as many problems. 

Why chocolate vine is invasive and alternative plants

What makes chocolate vine so problematic? Its invasive nature means it's difficult to manage and remove if it overgrows or trails somewhere it shouldn't be. It's an adaptable plant capable of trampling a plethora of environments, including woodlands and wetlands. Once it invades, it "smothers" other plants and trees with a thick covering of vines. These suffocating blankets can be a whole foot thick, and the vines can grow 40 feet long. For these reasons, it's better to leave this off your list of garden plants.

If your heart is set on filling your garden with sweet-smelling plants, the chocolate vine isn't the only option. There are many flowers and plants that smell like your favorite chocolate bar. Chocolate cosmos, chocolate flowers, and hot cocoa roses are all varieties that offer a signature scent reminiscent of cacao-based treats. Chocolate mint is another excellent choice that tastes like chocolate. Just keep this edible herb contained separately, as it can be mildly invasive and take over your other mint plants.

If you're not beholden to chocolate specifically, there are numerous vines and fragrant flowers that provide impressively strong scents. One option is jasmine. Its earthy and sweet aroma is hard to miss when it's blooming, and the white flowers it produces are another perk. Honeysuckle is also a great, sweet-smelling flower that won't overtake your garden and the local ecosystem.