What is this plant?

Asked July 13, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

Hi - I'm new to gardening; I bought a house with a CRAZY overgrown yard; I've cleared it out and but these plants have sprouted up in one of my flower beds and I have no idea what they are. I definitely need to move them because they are growing like weeks around a Monster Mum I planted in the spring. any idea what this plant is?? Should I keep it or move it?

New Castle County Delaware

1 Response

This looks like Chameleon Plant Houttuynia cordata. It is a colorful but pretty aggressive ground cover that requires persistence to eradicate. If you have no other plants in the garden bed, or if the Houttuynia is at some distance from desirable plants, you can try hitting it with glyphosate , a non-selective herbicide, and then hand dig the plants that the chemical does not kill. Glyphosate is found in products such as Roundup and will kill all types of plant material, so you must be very careful to not apply it to desirable plants. If you eradicating Houttuynia around a pond or stream use non-volitile glyphosate in a product such as Rodeo. It will take several applications to have any noticeable effect on the Houttuynia. When you have killed off some the plants then dig the remaining plants. Because this plant spreads by rhizomes, you must be sure to dig up all of these underground horizontal stems or they will sprout new growth. You will then need to monitor the area for new growth and spray or dig as it appears. It may take more than a year to rid the area of the Houttuynia . Do not replant the area until you are sure all of the Houttuynia is gone.
If the Houttuynia is mixed in a bed with other plants, it is very risky to use chemicals because you may kill the desirable plants. You have a few options. You can hand dig the Houttuynia. Again it will take some time to get all of the plants and their rhizomes. You could try painting the glyphosate on the Houttuynia with a small foam paint brush. By doing this you would be less likely to apply the chemical on the desired plants. Then hand dig any Houttuynia that is not killed by the chemical. A last option is to remove the desirable plants to another bed and use the chemical and mechanical method described in the above paragraph. If you decide to do the last option, be very careful not to take any of the Houttuynia rhizomes to the other bed. These rhizomes could very easily be mixed with the desirable plant roots.
Here are links to a couple of sites that discuss Houttuynia removal.
http://www.wildflower.org/expert/show.php?id=2011
http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=854&fr=1&sts
If you decide to use chemicals, be sure to read and follow all label directions.