Plant FinderPlant Finder Graphic
Zones 2-9, 14-24, 31-41
Full SunPartial SunNo Sun
Full, Partial, Shade
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Houttuynia cordata

Deciduous, Ground covers, Perennials, Aquatic

Native from Japan south and east to the mountains of Java and Nepal. Spreading, underground stems send up a 9-in.-high blanket of foliage. Heartshaped green, 3-in.-long look very much like those of English ivy (Hedera helix). Foliage emits an odd scent when crushed, reminiscent of orange peel. Inconspicuous clusters of white-bracted flowers are like tiny dogwood (Cornus) blossoms. This unusual ground cover disappears completely in winter, even in mild climates. Spreads aggressively in wet soil.

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’
Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’

Click to Enlarge


From China, Japan. Grows 9 in. tall, spreads by runners. Leaves are variegated green, reddish, cream, and pink; fully deciduous.

You Might Also Like...

Aster novi-belgii 'Persian Rose'

Bears rose-pink flowers in fall.

Astrantia major 'Abbey Road'

Has deep pink to purplish red blooms on  2 1/2-ft.-tall, 2-ft.-wide plants.

Verbena bipinnatifida

Native from western Great Plains to Mexico. To 8–16 in. high, 1/2 ft. or wider. Finely divided l...

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

Find Your Sunset Climate Zone

View Maps Learn More