En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
10 ratings

Wednesday - August 08, 2007

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Disposal of non-native invasive Houttuynia cordata
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


I am a homeower in The Woodlands with a very difficult problem in my butterfly garden. I have an impossibly invasive weed that I cannot get rid of -- so much so that I'm thinking of just paving over my butterfly garden and being done with it. I have attached photos of the offender and would love to hear from you about what it is and what I can do about it, short of paving over my beautiful garden. I have checked numerous websites but have been unable to find a weed similar to the one I have in my yard. I'm hoping you can help. Thank you so much!


Mr. Smarty Plants believes that your weed is Houttuynia cordata. This is an Asian species that is extremely invasive in the garden. Although it has been sold as an ornamental for gardens, its potential for being very invasive outweighs any aesthetic appeal it might have. You may find it very, very difficult to eradicate. According to the following web page, your best bet is to remove the plants by hand and keep doing so as they reappear. Be very careful when disposing of the material you take out. Incinerating the plant material you remove is the best plan of action. You can also read the comments of other people who are also trying to get rid of it. Good luck getting rid of this pest!

More Non-Natives Questions

Can the non-native ylang ylang tree grow outdoors in Arizona
July 14, 2015 - Can the ylang ylang tree grow outdoors in Casa Grande, Arizona?
view the full question and answer

Loss of leaves from globe willows in Utah
July 26, 2008 - I have four globe willows that have been in my back yard for the past 6 years. For the past month they have been losing their leaves from the bottom up. We had aphids in some of our other trees and ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native bi-color iris from Spring Branch TX
August 18, 2011 - Bi colored iris. I have four plants planted around our water feature last fall. Up until recently they all looked very healthy, yet not blooming. Several weeks ago I noticed that two of the plants ...
view the full question and answer

Promoting bloom in Chocolate Summer Mimosa
January 11, 2008 - Please help! I purchased a Chocolate Summer Mimosa from one of our local nurseries. It was a brand new plant to them and they don't really know much about them. I planted it just 3 years ago as an...
view the full question and answer

B1 for transplant shock in non-native bamboo?
January 24, 2009 - I am wondering about the details as I wish to transplant some bamboo. I do not know the actual variety, as I have at least 2 types, but will take a cutting to a high end nursery.Some of this is about ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center