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
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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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

Problems with beheaded non-native Gerbera daisies in Cooperstown, NY
May 31, 2009 - I planted my gerberas in my perennial bed - as usual. Something is beheading them and leaving the blooms along side the plant. Some of the bloom is eaten but most of it is right there. I have t...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves in non-native Arbutus unedo in Washington
July 03, 2008 - I live in the Pacific Northwest and have planted 2 dwarf strawberry trees. I have been giving them lots of water. Their leaves are turning yellow. Am I watering them too much? Not enough?
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

Powdery growth in hydrangea in Philadelphia
June 20, 2010 - My hydrangea plants have a weird growth on their leaves that looks like white rice. It looks like it would be powdery if brushed, but I don't want to touch it for fear that it some type of mold. Any...
view the full question and answer

Repotting non-native Agave ghiesbreghtii from Spring TX
June 03, 2012 - I've recently purchased an Agave ghiesbreghtii, and will need to re-pot it soon. I have some cactus soil mix as well as a few rocks to put in the bottom of its new pot. There seem to be roots comi...
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