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
1 rating

Monday - April 11, 2011

From: Omaha, NE
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Eliminating invasive, non-native chameleon plant from Omaha NE
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have been attempting to eradicate the chameleon plant in my gardens for 3 years. I have sprayed Round Up and covered with newspaper then mulch and it is coming back again this year! I am wondering if I could use the same chemical that is used to eradicate net sedge grass. I believe this chemical travels to the base of the plant and kills its root system. Thanks in advance for your help!


All right, you already know that Houttuynia cordata, Chameleon Plant is invasive. Did you also know that it is native to Japan, Korea and southeast Asia? The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. This situation is one of the reasons why we pursue that policy; a non-native plant brought into an area where it has no natural competitors or predators will quickly overrun the more adapted native plants and become very settled into its new environment. Since it is non-native, we will have no information on it in our Native Plant Database, but we found two websites that have some information that might help you:

Garden Web Forum Houttuynia cordata

Ohio State University Houttuynia cordata

Dave's Garden forum (note all the negative comments) 

Because it spreads by underground rhizomes, it is very resistant to any herbicides. You need to dig out the rhizomes, and keep digging out the rhizomes, and then dig out some more rhizomes.

Remember the only sure way to get rid of an invasive plant is to not plant it. Never plant anything, no matter what you are told, until you have personally investigated that plant.



More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Norfolk Pine suffering in Corpus Christi TX
August 02, 2011 - About ten yrs. ago I transplanted my Norfolk Pine into the ground in my backyard. With all the frosty weather of 2010/2011 the Spring brought a browning/dying of a lot of the Norfolk Pines in this are...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming toad lily in Kentucky
April 20, 2008 - I have had a toad lily for three years and it has never bloomed. What do I need to do?
view the full question and answer

Does non-native Crown of Thorns cause cancer?
August 24, 2013 - Does the plant, Corona De Cristo (Crown of thorns) cause cancer?
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke' (Cardinal Candy) toxic to horses?
July 01, 2014 - Is Viburnum-Cardinal Candy/Viburnum dilatatum 'Henneke' reported to be toxic or non-toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chinese pistache in Eagle Pass, TX
June 14, 2009 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants!! I just bought a young chinese pistache tree, is no bigger than 7 feet. I've never had one of these trees before, I'm about to plant it and I would also like to fertilize it...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center