Chameleon Plant – Removal

Q: Several years ago you warned me that hottuynia (chameleon plant, Hot Tuna plant, etc) was invasive. I planted it anyway. Now it has smothered my liriope and continues its onward march. I have to confess I was wrong!

A: Chameleon plant, Houttuynia cordata, is quite seductive. Its pink and green leaves plus its dainty white flowers make it instantly desirable in a nursery. But a few months after you plant it, you’ll notice sprouts popping up outside your landscape boundaries. A year after planting you’ll regard it as the worst garden mistake you’ve ever made. My advice is to dig up the whole bed and replace the soil. Dump the soil you remove in an inconspicuous spot at the back corner of your property and regularly remove any chameleon plant sprouts you find. Eliminating them completely will take three years.