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Customer Discussions > Gardening forum

Houttuynia Cordata - Invasive Plant Material

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Showing 1-24 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2009 11:09:19 PM PST
Carex Elata says:
I've tried just about everywhere else, so I'll try here too. I am a landscape designer/ contractor. I've been in the business for about 20 yrs. This is the 1st time I've had to deal with this. Houttuynia Cordata, aka, Chameleon Plant. This is very invasive ! I need info on how to kill this plant. All the usual chems have been tried. Appreciate any help with this.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2009 5:20:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2009 5:21:31 AM PST
I've never haad a problem with this, actually I planted in once and it died out. I don't think it appreciates dryness. I am in Maryland USDA 6. I was thinking of planting it again since I like the fragrance, but maybe I won't if it can be so invasive. Something that I can't get rid of totally is lamiastrum, yellow archangel. Digging, Round Up, whatever, sooner or later it pops up again. I will keep an eye on your question to see if anyone comes up with anything, might help with the archangel. - Dallas

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2009 9:01:56 AM PST
Carex Elata says:
Dallas, thanks for your help. I really don't believe this Houttuynia cordata plant is much of a concern to most people until it disturbed. My customer planted this many years ago, (because it was pretty). Over time, it has gradually overtaken her Daylily & Iris, bed. 2 years ago we were called to come in clean up & spruce up her landscape, after many years of letting it get out of control. She is getting on in years, and can't take care of her landscaping like she used to. We came in and started pulling what we could. That's when the problems began. It came back with a vengeance. If you plant this, beware of a very deep root structure, and try and keep it in a somewhat dry habitat to keep some semblance of control. The more improved, organic nature of the soil, the harder it will be to get rid of it. We've lost most of the daylilys and iris in this bed.
Ironically, we live in Zone 6 also. (6b) - SW Missouri. We don't have too much of a problem with your Lamiastrum Galeobdolon, (Yellow Archangel),(Mint Family). . Around here, you can pretty much use a basic lawn fertilizer/ weed control for this. I want to check something out though, and I'll get back to you.

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 1:52:39 PM PST
Lori Vezina says:
OY! I have dug out my front 3 1/2 by 8 foot bed 3 times trying to take out every single white root. The last time was last Fall. I then kept a bottle of Roundup next the the bed and went out EVERYDAY and squirted the little buggers everytime I saw one. So far so good-BUT we'll see what happens when the weather warms up. (Michigan)
Oh yeah and if you pull them out with your hands they will STINK for hours! Everytime I see Chameleon for sale I back away slowly and hold my fingers in the shape of a cross :).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2009 8:11:57 AM PST
Carex Elata says:
I guess until we figure an eradication solution, we both will be pulling & fighting this H. Cordata for a while. This plant does have a bad odor when you break it. However, some people like Dallas seem to like the smell. Makes me wonder if we're talking about the same plant.
Dallas -
I couldn't really find any conclusive info regarding controlling Lamiastrum Galeobdolon. - Yet...

Posted on Feb 22, 2009 10:00:52 AM PST
I've faced this plant a variety of times in various places and the "do not disturb" is the best idea I've found so far. The best luck I've ever had is to first kill the plant with round up or some other topical. Make absolutely sure it's completely died off then dig.. but I find it you make sure to let the roots die you almost never have the problem of it returning. p.s. I can't remember the name but I used a topical Ivy / Brush killer once that worked better than any other product.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2009 12:38:57 PM PST
Carex Elata says:
Thank you Diana,
I tried a Brush/ Ivy killer once. With a surfactant. However, it may have not been the right brush killer to use. I'll try another. I think you are probably right in regards to using multi applications until dead. We'll just leave it in place for this entire season with repeat apps. How about an Acetate Vinegar? Ever heard of this? I may not have the exact version of Vinegar right, but seems like I remember someone saying something about using a straight (strong) version of vinegar to kill tough weeds. At any rate, not just your household vinegar.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2009 6:19:24 AM PST
Yeah, maybe I'm weird, but I think H. cordata smells like oranges. I think what you are thinking of is acetic acid which vinegar is a dilute solution. I haven't heard of using it as a weed killer, but supposedly it can be used to keep suckers from resprouting without harming the parent plant. I have searched the internet for a source but can't find one. Though I can't think of any way to use it as an explosive, I think it became unavailable after the Oklahoma City bombing because of new federal regulations. After all, you used to be able to buy ammonium nitrate at any garden center. I have been thinking about concentrating vinegar through distillation, but haven't gotten around to it. I think you need at least a 50% solution and vinegar is around 5%, I believe. I have heard of using vinegar as an organic weed killer, but I don't think it would be strong enough in this situation and it wouldn't kill the roots. I think it works as a dissicant by destroying the waxy coating on the leaves. - Dallas

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 11:47:35 AM PDT
i love this plant, it is easy to get rid of all you do is keep mowing it. in between plants you will have to weed it out like any other weed. now I heard some people over the years recommend pouring straight vinegar on plants (without splashing it on wanted plants) to kill it. I have tons of it and I keep moving more and more in places I don't grow much else. they are edible and they smell wonderful and the more sun the variagated kind gets the more red it gets on the leaves. the solid color leaves have beautiful purpleist trim and likes less direct sun as they wilt but bounce back once the sun stops beating down on them. reasons I love it, it crowds out the other weeds including that funny looking mint with the purple flowers that grows everywhere, drowns out grass, ladys' thumb, smells wonderful has long bloom period and loves to hug the base wall under my house hiding it. it is attractive all season long and comes back everyyear and the leaves are soft to the touch.


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012 4:08:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2012 4:09:58 PM PDT
Peregrinn says:
Amazon sells a 20% vinegar solution that can be used as a weed killer, though I have not tried it on this plant. Like a surfactant, it removes the cuticle from the leaves so they cannot hold moisture in. If you have already removed the leaves, the vinegar will be useless because it is not a systemic herbicide. They say that established weeds can still resprout, ince they may have enough reserves stored in the roots to put forth another round of leaves. Multiple treatments would be needed.
20% Vinegar Gallon

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 8:22:24 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 20, 2012 8:52:42 PM PDT]

Posted on Jun 20, 2012 8:52:05 PM PDT
Carex Elata says:
I'm a landscape contractor and I had a run-in with this (weed) back in 2009 in one of my customers' backyard. At the time, I was beside myself and didn't know what to do. I posted here for help at one point then, but the trail led me all the way out to New Zealand. I know, right?!! Well, as it turns out, this H. Cordata is considered an invasive weed and is illegal to sell out there. Kinda like Kudzu is here in the states. So their govt. will actually come to your home and help you eradicate it, (if you live in NZ), free of charge. They take this weed seriously. Okay, so they told me the active chemical that works on this plant is 'Metsulfuron Methyl. Couldn't find this in anywhere until I found a commercial product that had this stuff. It's called CLEAN PASTURE DF. You won't find this stuff on the shelf at Lowes or Home Depot. Depending on where you live, you're probably not going to have a "to the trade only" store nearby.
Go online to Once there, call their toll free #, ask for the product CLEAN PASTURE DF, and who the nearest distributor is. Word of caution, this is some really bad stuff, so 'HANDLE WITH CARE'. After months of trying EVERYTHING, even Roundup, this stuff knocked it down in a couple of weeks.
BTW, this plant loves water, and if you pull it by hand, this will only propagate it.

Good Luck all!
Carex Elata

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 8:31:01 PM PDT
To kill any plant (including a tree), apply household vinegar full strength to the root area, and best used when it's been dry and the plants you need to kill are thirsty. Rain or watering the area will dilute or carry off the vinegar, so plan ahead. Vinegar is not an herbicide that merely kills the top growth, as I believe RoundUp does, but rather it kills the roots by lowering the pH of the soil below the threshold of botanical life. Therefore, it will kill anything in that area and growth in that area will be retarded for a couple of years. You do have to be careful with it but it'll kill off those white roots (although I've never tried killing anything 3 feet down, so you may need to dig a trench and re-vinegar a newly exposed layer). After applying vinegar I might try covering the area sprayed or soaked with black plastic to aid a slow rotting of any dead material.

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 6:13:08 AM PDT
Frazzled Mum says:
Why not eat's a wondrous Chinese/Japanese herbal medicine!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2014 7:21:43 AM PST
Plant lover says:

Could you please tell me where I can get this plant? I was looking for it a long time. It's a great mherbal medicine. I need it for Stomach problems.



In reply to an earlier post on Apr 15, 2014 12:43:22 PM PDT
Jerri Doll says:
I am trying to get rid of it. Where do you live? If it is near me you are welcome to it.

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 4:02:21 PM PDT
Frazzled Mum says:
Hee hee - here in the U.k it doesn't seem to be a problem, not at the moment anyway. I've had it in the past and it didn't get out of hand. Last year I found some in a garden centre and I've planted it in my new herb garden; it died back completely in the Winter & it's not up yet (unlike the apple mint which seems to be coming up everywhere) - though I might have slugs to thank for that. Reading this thread I will keep a very careful eye on it & confine it to a pot if necessary!

Posted on May 8, 2014 11:57:24 AM PDT
Do not buy this demon plant! It laughs at chemicals and if you dig it out and one tiny root hair you are screwed. I don't even think fire will kill it. It also smells terrible and the milky secretions fromit can cause skin rashes.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2014 9:31:21 PM PDT
Did u get any? I want to find this herb as well !

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2014 12:10:13 PM PDT
A. Travers says:
Just wondering if the clean pasture df killed the houttuynia off for good? I am in St. Louis and have an invasion of it that I need to kill. How bad is the clean pasture for everything else?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2014 9:47:48 AM PDT
Gabriela Lea says:

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 4, 2014 9:49:36 AM PDT
Gabriela Lea says:
How do you use it for stomach problems?

Posted on May 11, 2015 3:17:36 PM PDT
Have it in my garden and tried digging it up many, many times but to no avail. At my wits end so had all the soil in the raised bed removed. The raised bed is very large, it as 8 metres long by 2 metres wide and 1/2 metre deep and so it was a drastic action but there was no alternative. I have jet washed all the brickwork in the bed to ensure all bits of the plant are gone and applied strong weedkiller. I am going to wait a while to make sure that it does not return and will then have to get topsoil and hope that it never returns. .

Posted on Jun 9, 2015 5:40:31 PM PDT
Yes, this is a demon plant. It has spread from one bed through several others, and now my lawn. IF YOU WANT IT (and yes, it's attractive, but if I had it to do again I wouldn't touch it ) PLANT IT WHERE IT CANNOT SPREAD into other beds or lawn.

I am attempting a solution found in another discussion: Roundup (Glyphosphate) As an organic gardener, I hate the stuff and only use it in extreme conditions. I've found a way, however, (I think) to use it on this plant without killing everything around it and exposing yourself and pets to carcinogens. On a day when no rain is expected, use Extra-concentrated (40%) Glyphosphate in a bottle with a squeeze top (mustard) or eye/medicine dropper. Cut the plant, leaving stem and smaller leaves at base.
Use plastic straws cut in half to channel the poison directly to the cut end of the stem not elsewhere. Place a straw on the stem, apply just a few drops of Glyphosphate, USING RUBBER GLOVES. This is a very arduous and time-consuming task, but the only control I have found possible when it has invaded near other plants.
The straw also acts as a marker, so that you can return to check to see if another application is required.

If you dig anywhere near it, get rid of the soil. I made the mistake of moving some around and regret it big time.
NEVER put this plant in your compost bin or yard trash recycling. If you pull it, bag it an put it in the trash.
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Discussion in:  Gardening forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  24
Initial post:  Feb 18, 2009
Latest post:  Jun 9, 2015

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