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Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon'

Pronunciation: hoo-TY-nee-ah kor-DAY-tah
Family: Saururaceae
Synonym: Houttuynia cordata 'Tricolor'
Common Name: Chameleon Houttuynia
Cultivar: Chameleon
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 10in
Width to: Indefinite
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early summer
  • mid summer
  • late summer
Bloom Description: Chameleon Houttuynia (Houttuynia cordata) bear flowers that are 1/2 in. wide, 4 petal-like bracts and in lateral, 2 in. long spikes
Soil Type: Moderately fertile, humus rich, moist soil
Pests and Diseases: Slugs and snails
Propagation: Sow Chameleon Houttuynia (Houttuynia cordata) seed in containers in cold frame as soon as soon as ripe. Divide rhizomes in spring. Root softwood cuttings in late spring
Winter Sowing Zones: Zone 5-8
Notes for Identification:

Chameleon Houttuynia (Houttuynia cordata) is a herbaceous perennial. Ground cover with creeping rhizomes can be invasive in moist soils, but it is less vigorous on drier soils. It can grow by a pond and in up to 4 in. of water.


  • the variegated form has multicolored wide leaf margins of red, bronze, cream, and yellow that contrast well with the otherwise green leaf blade
  • leaves are alternate along the upright to procumbent herbaceous stems, with a cordate base and ovate leaf blade, to 3in long
  • foliage has a pungent diesel oil smell when mown, cut, or crushed
  • foliage and stems die back to the ground with a hard freeze


Use as groundcover or edging in beds, borders, bog gardens, woodland gardens and near ponds Wet sites. Fruits and roots are edible. Used medicinally

Rootstock clump forming or spreading widely by buried or partially buried stems.

Source: Various sources including The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and the USDA

USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • Less then 1 day ZONE 1
  • 1 to 7 days ZONE 2
  • 7 to 14 days ZONE 3
  • 14 to 30 days ZONE 4
  • 30 to 45 days ZONE 5
  • 45 to 60 days ZONE 6
  • 60 to 90 days ZONE 7
  • 90 to 120 days ZONE 8
  • 120 to 150 days ZONE 9
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 0
Seed Label: 0
Located in: Perennials
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