Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon'

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Photo Courtesy of Walters Gardens, Inc.
 Common Name: Chameleon Plant
Common Name (Alternative): Tricolor Houttuynia

A spectacular show of color! Depending on how much sunlight is available, the Chameleon plant changes color, hence the common name. In shady areas, the leaves will be variegated green and cream. With more sun, they will take on striking hues of yellow, pink, and scarlet red. In early summer, nickel-sized, white flowers appear sporadically.

Houttuynia is a groundcover that is very easy to grow just about anywere. Its main requirement is consistant moisture, and it can even grow in shallow water. It is a vigorous grower, and care must be taken to prevent it from overrunning the garden. A root barrier is recommended or plants can be grown in deep, bottomless containers in ponds.

Origin: Not Native to North America


  6-9 Inches
  12-16 Inches
Flower Color:
  White Shades
Foliage Color:
Hardiness Zone:
Find Your Zone
Sun or Shade?:
  Full sun (> 6 hrs. direct sun)
  Part shade (4-6 hrs. direct sun)
  Full shade (< 4 hrs. direct sun)
Wet or dry?:
  Consistent water needs
Need critter resistant plants?:
  Deer resistant
  Rabbit resistant
How fast should it grow?:
When should it bloom?:
  Early summer
How's your soil?:
  Poor Soil
  Average Soil
  Fertile Soil
Sweet or Sour Soil?:
  Acidic Soil (pH < 7.0)
  Neutral Soil (pH = 7.0)
  Alkaline Soil (pH > 7.0)
What's your garden style?:
  Rain Garden
  Water Garden


Bog plant
Border plants
Cut flower or foliage
Fragrant flowers or foliage
Ground cover

Homeowner Growing & Maintenance Tips:

Houttuynia can be grown in any light conditions and moist to wet soil. It's not hard to grow this plant, but it is challenging to contain once it is established. Care should be taken to curb its invasive habits. This plant also breaks dormancy relatively late in the season, but its rapid growth more than makes up for this.


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While every effort has been made to describe this plant accurately, please keep in mind that the height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates throughout the country. The description of this plant was written based on our experience growing it in Michigan (USDA hardiness zone 5) and on numerous outside resources.