Chameleon Plant

Asked July 19, 2020, 12:38 PM EDT

I tried to eradicate this evasive plant to no avail. Can you provide any solution?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Chameleon Plant - Houttuynia Cordata is very hardy and difficult to eradicate. It takes time and persistence.

The plant spreads by rhizomes and can regenerate from broken stems left in the soil. Hand removal alone can be effective, but will take several seasons. All plant parts should be disposed of in a black, plastic bag. Do not compost. To speed up the process, you can an herbicide like glyphosate when the plants are actively growing. You will need to allow time for the chemical to translocate throughout the plant to the roots – read the label for proper use of the product and note that as a broad spectrum herbicide it will kill ANY plant it comes in contact with. Also, in order to minimize the amount used and prevent drift, you can cut back the plants and paint or drip a small amount of the chemical on the open stems. This reduces the amount you must use and gets the formula right on the plant.

Wait a minimum of 7-10 days to allow the herbicide to affect the underground stems, roots and rhizomes. A combination of hand removal and herbicide application may be needed to be effective. You may still have to reapply the next season, but this has an excellent chance of killing the plant in time.