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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.

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

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Monday - January 30, 2012

From: Bradenton, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Problem with non-native Houttuynia cordata (chameleon)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a Houttuynia cordata chameleon plant in a clay pot. My zone is 9b and my yard is partial sun. Up until January, it was thriving. Now, it is dead. I think the cold killed it. I kept it moist at all times due to it usually thriving in boggy places. I don't understand what happened? One site listed the zone for this plant as only up to 8 but most sites list it as up to 9. Even if it's zone 8, zone 8 gets colder than zone 9, so I am at a loss as to what happened.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is with plants native to North America.  Houttuynia cordata (chameleon plant) is a cultivated Asian species and, thus, not really in our purview.  You would have much better luck posing your question to one of the gardening forums (such as GardenWeb  or Dave's Garden) that deal mostly with cultivated plants.  GardenWeb has a Gardening in Florida forum and Dave's Garden has a Florida Gardening Forum.  There is also another forum called Florida Gardeners' Forum.

We hope you will contact us again with any native plant questions.

 

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