HOUTTUYNIA cordata

FAMILY: Saururaceae

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Full Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Ample Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11

Plant Details

From China, Japan. Spreading, underground stems send up a 9-in.-high blanket of foliageheart-shaped green leaves to 3 in. long that look very much like those of English ivy (Hedera helix). Foliage emits a pungent scent when crushed, reminiscent of orange peel. Inconspicuous clusters of white-bracted flowers like tiny dogwood (Cornus) blossoms. Unusual ground cover that disappears completely in winter, even in mild climates. Most commonly grown form is showy 'Chameleon' ('Tricolor', 'Variegata'), with green leaves splashed in cream, pink, yellow, and red; colors are most intense in sun. Attractive in containers.

Can spread aggressively in wet ground and will even thrive with roots in water. For ground cover, plant 1122 ft. apart; curb growth with wood, concrete, or metal barrier extending 812 in. into the soil. The plant can also spread by seed. Once you bring it into your garden, it may well be with you forever.

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