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Houttuynia cordata 'Chamaeleon' - Growing Guide

Growing Houttuynia cordata 'Chamaeleon'

H. cordata is a fairly invasive Chinese plant as these pictures from a shady border at Ventnor Botanic Garden clearly show. The varieties of H. cordata such as ‘Chamaeleon’ are less thuggish and the photographs show the odd leaf which is brightly variegated green, pale yellow and red. Propagating only these tricolour stems has produced the hybrid ‘Chamaeleon’ but you will still get occasional reversions to plain green shoots in this spreading groundcover plant.

The leaf colours of H. cordata ‘Chamaeleon’ are more pronounced in full sun. In shade the red colouring is less prominent and the greens and yellows more evident. This plant will thrive as a groundcover plant in damper conditions near water and is less vigorous in a hot sunny border.

This plant is perfectly hardy but, in colder situations where you have frequent frost, the wide spreading root rhizomes can be protected with a winter mulch. The leaves have an unusual orange scent when crushed and the flowers are yellowish green backed by four pure white bracts. These contrast well with the leaf colours and appear in March and April.

H. cordata and its cultivars are incredibly easily propagated by digging or even just pulling the long rhizomes from the ground from the edge of the plant.


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