Will Vinegar Kill Chameleon Plant?

My flower gardens are being taken over by chameleon flowers. How do I remove it?

A: The variegated, trailing, wet-soil-tolerant perennial known as chameleon flower, or Houttuynia cordata, looks lovely in a pot but becomes a genuine thug in the yard. Since it spreads quickly and outcompetes almost everything in its path, it is not a good partner for other plants.

It will require work to get rid of it. If you prefer chemicals, use a herbicide like glyphosate (also known as Roundup) on the leaves by spraying or painting. The best time to cut the patch is in the early fall, but any time in the spring or summer should at least leave a dent.

Glyphosate will aid in killing the runners, roots, and top growth in addition to doing so, although you could require more than one application because some remnants might try to reappear. Maintain in mind that glyphosate will also damage the leaves of any plants you choose to keep.

Repeated digging or repeated spraying with a herbicide based on vinegar are two non-chemical options (i.e. acetic acid). Utilize a digging instrument to remove as many roots as you can, and then go on routine patrols to spot-dig any new growth as soon as you notice it emerging.

Because of its potential for spreading, the majority of garden centers don’t stock this plant. If they do, it’s usually in the water garden part where the plant will be kept in a pot in a pond. Due to a friend’s (? friend’s?) gift of a division, most gardeners usually end up with chameleon flowers.

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What causes chameleon plants to die?

Despite the plants’ moderate resistance to chemical herbicides, glyphosate appears to be a successful variety. Look for a formula that is designated for brush or stumps and use with caution.

Cut back the plants and paint or drip a small amount of the chemical on the open stem to minimize the amount required and prevent drift. By doing this, you use less and apply the formula correctly to the plant. This has a great probability of killing the plant in time, though you might still need to reapply the next season.

Note that organic methods are significantly safer and much more environmentally friendly than chemical methods, and they should only be used as a last resort.

In my garden, how can I get rid of chameleons?

Rhizomes are horizontally growing, stems that resemble roots. Even a tiny fragment of rhizome or plant material can take root and grow further, making removal labor-intensive. It’s important to get rid of spring blossoms before they set seed because chameleon plants can also reproduce by seed.

According to Toronto Master Gardeners, cutting off the plant’s top without completely removing the rhizomes may eventually cause injury or death to the plant by halting photosynthesis. However, in order for this technique to be successful, you must regularly use a loop weeder to remove the plant’s tops as soon as they appear. You should also anticipate that this procedure will take a long time.

Purdue University Extension advises loosening the soil surrounding the plants with a garden fork in order to completely remove the rhizomes. Try your best to remove the entire stem when you pull the rhizomes from the ground. Rhizomes should not be broken, and no part of the plant should be left in the soil. To completely control the plant, you’ll probably need to carry out this procedure more more once.

Does the chameleon plant poison dogs?

Use caution while planting to make sure the chameleon plant cannot possibly grow outside of a specific region because it is extremely invasive outside of Southeast Asia. Planting containers made of ceramic, metal, and stone seem to work well, but plastic will ultimately decay and the chameleon plant’s powerful rhizomes will be able to push through it in a few years.

There is no evidence that it is poisonous to people, animals, or even fish.

What scent does chameleon plant have?

Years ago, a friend allowed me to dig up a few special plants from her yard to add to my recently purchased landscaping. A charming tiny plant with heart-shaped leaves and white blossoms was among them. In a place of intense shade with little care given to it, the plant has thrived (but not gotten out of hand). Because it becomes extinct in the winter, I eagerly await the arrival of its replacement every spring.

But I recently inquired about it because I couldn’t recall the name of it. Oh, that is the chameleon plant, Houttuynia cordata. It is eatable! In my yard, is there anything edible that the squirrels haven’t completely destroyed? How thrilling! I moved some of them to another location in anticipation of a bumper crop of homegrown greens. That is, until I searched for it online to get the precise preparation instructions.

There were numerous posts about it in garden forums. There were many instances of the phrases “alien” and “intrusive. It laughs at Round-Up while encircling the bulbs and roots of other plants. My personal favorite is “Pretty but nasty; almost like the lead cheerleader in a horrible teen film.

In addition to being a non-native and invasive plant, it has also been characterized as having a fishy scent (thus the moniker “fishmint”) or, as one gardener put it so well, smelling like “petrol and beef stew from a terrible restaurant.” I guess I’m lucky that my yard’s plants don’t have a particularly overpowering scent. It also has a slight citrus undertone and may be slightly fishy. Not awful, but also not enjoyable. The clump has a distinct fragrance, although it’s not any worse than the black walnuts next door.

Houttuynia, both the leaves and the roots, are a common element in many Asian cuisines.

Since some websites had mentioned using it in salads and fresh spring rolls, I thought I’d give a bite of raw leaf a go to see how it tasted. It simply tasted like a plant, to be honest. Though it was a little spicy, like ginger, there was no flavor I could place as being similar to anything else I’ve eaten. It is rumored that the plant can provide a fishy flavor to vegetarian dishes that would normally call for fish stock when they are cooked.

This past weekend, I made the decision to try some of the leaves julienned over a salad of sesame ginger tofu noodles. The aroma increased in strength till it was nearly overpowering as I was chopping the leaves. That fishy, lemony smell was there. I didn’t like it at all this time when I ate it. The flavor, according to my spouse, was powerful enough to overpower even the Sriracha sauce and tasted like orangey cilantro. He consumed a small amount more, but I composted the remainder.

Some fascinating more information on the plant, including its use as a herbal medicine and availability in nearby Asian markets, may be found in this old post from a long-defunct local blog. Has anyone here eaten it that you are aware of? to prepare food or use herbs? Any other ideas on how to prepare it that would be more appetizing? More importantly, is anyone interested in having some? I have a lot to offer; it’s free to a good (or bad) home.

The name “chameleon plant” is a misnomer.

Low-growing and perennial, chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata) is a shrub. Its leaves emerge in the spring and are a kaleidoscope combination of red, green, and white. The word “chameleon” alludes to the plant’s vibrant appearance. Beautiful white blooms with bristle-like cores grow in the summer. Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine frequently uses chameleon plants.

Disclaimer: Comments on the content ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BE USED AS A BASIS FOR EATING ANY PLANT. Please only buy edible plants from established sources since some plants might be HIGHLY POISONOUS.

The perennial chameleon plant.

Multicolored Chameleon On a plant with a spreading style of growth, the plant’s appealing heart-shaped leaves are dark green in color with conspicuous creamy white variegation and hints of rose throughout the season.

The dense herbaceous perennial variegated chameleon plant grows ground-huggingly. Although its medium texture fits into the environment, it may always be countered by a few plants that are either finer or coarser for a successful composition.

This is a high maintenance plant that needs ongoing care and maintenance and can be trimmed as necessary. The following characteristic(s) that may require extra treatment should be known by gardeners;


The following landscape uses for variegated chameleon plants are advised:


Multicolored Chameleon When fully grown, the plant will have a spread of 3 feet and a height of about 12 inches. Individual plants should be spaced roughly 32 inches apart when grown in groups or used as a bedding plant. It usually has dense foliage that extends all the way to the ground, negating the need for facer plants in front. It has a rapid growth rate and, in ideal circumstances, a lifespan of around 10 years. Since it is a perennial herb, it often dies back to the base each winter and grows again from the root the following spring. Late winter, when the crown might not be visible, is a dangerous time to disturb it.

In both full sun and full shade, this plant thrives. It is highly adaptable and will withstand some standing water. It prefers to grow in average to wet circumstances. It is not picky about pH or soil type. It has a strong tolerance for urban pollution and can even flourish in densely populated areas. This particular species is a variation that is not native to North America. It can be multiplied through division, but as it’s a cultivated variety, there can be some limitations or prohibitions on division.

This plant is handled as a “HOBBY PLANT” by Dutch Growers. Although it is not considered to be winter-hardy in our zone 3, there is a good chance that it will survive the season. On November 1, the season of purchase, the warranty ends.

How is Houttuynia cordata grown?

This thriving, spreading plant is simple to grow and offers great rewards. When bruised, the stunning heart-shaped leaves release a citrus scent. In the summer, dense spikes of small flowers bloom.

Planting Instructions

Use a hoe, spade, or power tiller to break up the existing soil to a depth of 12–16 inches to prepare the garden (30-40cm). As soon as the soil is loose and simple to work, add organic material like manure, peat moss, or garden compost. Organic components enhance drainage, supply nutrients, and promote earthworms and other soil-healthy organisms. Add a starter fertilizer or all-purpose feed that promotes blooming to plants to give them a boost (for example fertilizers labeled 5-10-5).

For recommended spacing and the plant’s maturity height, refer to the plant label. Plants should be arranged such that shorter plants are in the foreground and taller plants are in the center or background of the landscape design. Gently support the plant’s base while you tip it sideways and touch the pot’s exterior to loosen the plant before removing it from the container. Till the plant easily emerges from the pot, rotate the container and keep tapping to release the soil.

Create a hole that is up to double the size of the root ball and deep enough so that the plant will be buried at the same depth as the dirt in the container. Use your finger to gently rake the roots apart while holding the plant at the top of the root ball. This is crucial, especially if the container has been completely filled with dense roots. In the hole, place the plant.

Gently compact the soil around the roots to fill in any gaps around the root ball. By hand, tamping with the flat side of a small trowel, or even by pressing down with your foot, compact the dirt around the plant. Up to an inch above the top of the root ball or even with the soil around it, the earth should cover the planting hole. To ensure that new plantings have a strong foundation, they should be watered every day for a few weeks.

Prepare in advance for plants that will grow tall and need support cages or stakes. Cages should ideally be installed in the early spring, or during planting time, before the foliage becomes overgrown. Provide a trellis, fence, wall, or other structure that allows the plant to grow freely and spread since vining plants need vertical area to thrive.

Finish off with a 2 (5 cm) layer of mulch, such as compost or finely chopped bark, to keep the garden looking neat, prevent weed growth, and maintain soil moisture.

Watering Instructions

For the first several weeks after planting, new plants require regular watering. After that, watering may be reduced to every two or three days, depending on the weather and soil type. Expect to water more regularly in sandy areas since clay soils retain moisture less quickly than sandy soils.

Varying plants require different amounts of water. Some plants prefer to stay on the dry side, while others prefer constant moisture. Check a plant’s label to see what it needs specifically.

The root zone, or the region between 6 and 12 (15 to 30 cm) from the base of the plant, should receive watering in the ideal situation rather than the entire plant. For maintaining the health of plants and minimizing water loss through evaporation, a soaker hose is a wise purchase. A excellent technique to manage irrigation is to hand-water using a watering can with a sprinkler head attached. Try to water in the morning if the garden space is large and a sprinkler is required so that plant foliage can have time to dry during the day. Moist foliage promotes mold and disease, which can weaken or harm plants.

It is preferable to thoroughly wet the ground up to 8 (20 cm) every few days as opposed to watering sparingly every day. Deep watering promotes roots to go deeper into the soil, strengthening the plant and increasing its resistance to drought.

Use a small trowel or your finger to probe the ground and feel the soil for wetness. It’s time to water if the top 2-4 (5-10 cm) of soil is dry.

Fertilizing Instructions

When constructing planter beds, add fertilizer to the soil. In the early spring and again midway through the growing season, established plants should be fed. Don’t fertilize plants too late in the growing season. This encourages new growth, which early frosts can readily harm.

There are many different types of fertilizers, including granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic, and synthetic. Choose a product with a nutritional balance intended to promote flowering and determine which application technique is most appropriate for the circumstance (such as 5-10-5).

Applying a 1-2 (3-5cm) layer of mulch or compost once a year will lessen the overall demand for fertilization. Mulch provides nutrients to the plants as it decomposes while also enhancing the general health of the soil.

Pruning Instructions

Depending on the plant’s blossoming behavior, remove individual faded blossoms or wait until the blooming period has passed before removing the entire flower stalk all the way to the plant’s base. Old flower stalks should be cut off to keep the plant’s energy directed toward strong growth rather than seed development. Throughout the growing season, foliage can be freely clipped to eliminate harmed or discolored leaves or to maintain plant size.

Plants shouldn’t be pruned after September 1st. When the first frosts come, pruning encourages fragile new growth that will be easily damaged. Perennial plants require time to “harden off,” or get ready for the winter. Cutting back to approximately 4 (10 cm) above the ground will easily remove plants that have fallen to the ground and need to be cleaned up.

The ornamental grasses’ flowering plumes and foliage make a stunning presence in the wintertime environment. In early spring, just before new growth begins, cut the plant back to the ground after leaving it intact for the winter.

Every three to four years, perennials should be pulled out and divided. This fosters future blossoming, promotes healthy new growth, and produces new plants that can be added to the garden or shared with other gardeners.