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?

Share

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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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

Root growth on non-native Pittisporum Tobira from San Francisco
October 29, 2011 - How do the roots grow and spread for the Pittosporum Tobira shrub? I have one that is about 20 feet tall and wonder how to care for it? Do you have a picture of how the roots grow?
view the full question and answer

Non-native astilbe resemblance to non-native poisonous castor bean from Tomslake BC
May 21, 2014 - I have a plant that looks like a castor bean but it has flowers like a Younique Silvery Pink Astilbe. Need to id because castor bean is poisonous. This plant grows up to 5 feet in height. Thank you !
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese red maple exposed to full sun
August 16, 2008 - I planted a Dwarf Japanese Red Maple tree about 3 yrs ago. Until about a month ago it was partially shaded by a massive chestnut tree, that has since been cut down. Now the new growth on my tree appea...
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace hydrangeas in a wet area in New York
July 09, 2010 - Dear Smarty, Two years ago I planted 4 Endless Summer Hydrangas in front of the front porch of my summer cottage on Saratoga Lake. The first year they struggled the second they are limp. Can you give...
view the full question and answer

Alternate native plants for bamboo as a privacy screen in Austin, TX.
July 26, 2011 - Can you recommend a bamboo that I can plant, acting as a privacy screen, reaching at least 10'-12'? We are looking for a bamboo that does not spread, and can take the afternoon sun. It will be pla...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center