I can understand why people might be tempted to buy my chameleon variant as an attractive, ground-cover plant. The red pigment in the leaves is brought out by sunshine on more exposed parts of the plant, whereas leaves protected by the bordering wall or other plants are just green and yellow like ivy.
|houttuynia in the sun|
|houttuynia in the shade|
Apart from this photo of a matted network of houttuynia roots, I can't find any evidence on the web which shows exactly how invasive this plant is. It's supposed to thrive in damp soil, especially at the edges of ponds or even submerged in water, though it can adapt to living in drought conditions too (rather sinister don't you think?). In my garden, I noticed it in a flower bed a year ago, in half a flower bed to be more accurate, which I only water at the bases of annuals when they start wilting in the height of summer. There aren't any annuals except for self-seeded marigolds in my garden at the moment, so it's a good time to show the aforementioned flower bed to you - here are two views up and down the bed.
accompanying a baby rose
accompanying a bulb
accompanying a baby lupin
accompanying a marigold
accompanying a hebe
houttuynia doing their own thing
The jury is out on the scent of houttuynia, reports vary from coriander to tangerines to raw fish :
Species houttuynia roots stir-fried like bean sprouts in China :
This blogger eats the leaves of the species form of houttuynia before it bites back :http://nashvilleveggiegarden.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-favorite-herb-houttuynia-cordata.html
How to save your garden from houttuynia attack :
Houttuynia is included in the global invasive species database :