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