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Houttuynia has become popular in the last few years. It is the only species in the genus and is named in honor of a Dutch naturalist. The plants are called Dokudami in Japan.

Description of houttuynia: Houttuynia resembles English ivy, with red stems and blue-green leaves somewhat metallic in appearance. It grows about 1 foot high and produces small, white flowers in summer that resemble begonia blossoms. When bruised, the plants smell of Seville oranges. Ease of care: Easy.

Growing houttuynia: Plants grow well in sun and in shade but need good, well-drained garden soil that is always moist. Houttuynias will also grow in shallow water. Plants spread aggressively and soon need control. Plant in containers to slow their speed.

Propagating houttuynia: By division or by seed.

Uses for houttuynia: These plants are a fine ground cover in beds, borders, and for the edge of a water garden. Plants spread by underground runners and can be quite invasive. Houttuynias adapt readily to potting.

Houttuynia related varieties: Chameleon has leaves variegated with blotches of green, red, yellow, and pink. Plena has double flowers.

Scientific name for houttuynia: Houttuynia cordata

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