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Houttuynia cordata ‘Flore-Pleno’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Houttuynia cordata ‘Flore-Pleno’ (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zone
Zones 2-9, 14-24, 31-41
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
Full, Partial, Shade
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Houttuynia cordata

Saururaceae
Deciduous, Ground covers, Perennials, Aquatic

Covered with heart-shaped leaves, this 9–12-in. spreading Asian groundcover grows rapidly in summer and vanishes in winter—even in mild climates. Crushed leaves emit a scent reminiscent of orange peel. Inconspicuous clusters of white-bracted flowers look like tiny dogwood (Cornus) blossoms. Most commonly grown is ‘Chameleon’ (‘Tricolor’, ‘Variegata’), with showy splashes of cream, pink, yellow, and red on foliage; colors are most intense in sun.

Can spread aggressively in wet ground. Plant 1 1/2–2 ft. apart; curb growth with wood, concrete, or metal barrier extending 8–12 in. into the soil. Attractive in containers.

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