Houttuynia cordata, commonly referred to as chameleon plant, is a small deciduous shrub native to Japan, South to Nepal, and the Mountains of Java. With a mature height ranging from 2-5 feet, it has become a popular ornamental foliage choice for landscape designs.
To ensure optimal growth and flower production, the chameleon plant does best when exposed to full sun to semi-shade and given moderate water. It can grow in a range of soils as long as they remain moist, however, it is not drought tolerant. The chameleon plant has oval to heart-shaped deep green leaves with a citrus fragrance when crushed. Its tiny yellow flowers are produced on a 5-inch spike and are accompanied by four white bracts. Popular cultivars include the Plena with bronzy green leaves and Chameleon with yellow, green, pale green, gray, cream and scarlet leaves.
The Houttuynia cordata plant has various ethnomedical uses. For example, it is used to treat fungal diseases, while its external use is beneficial for curing skin diseases. The whole plant can also be used as a diuretic and genito-urinary antiseptic.
Grows in SUDA Zones 5-10. In colder regions, the Houttuynia cordata can be grown in pots and brought indoors to protect it from the frost. To ensure successful winter care for the plant, make sure to provide it with plenty of light, water, and keep it away from cold drafts. It is important not to water the soil too often, as it can cause root rot. It is also recommended to fertilize the plant twice a month. With the right growing conditions, chameleon plant can be a beautiful addition to any garden.