2 Kill Chameleon Houttuynia Cordata

Native to Asia, the chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata) grows rapidly in moist to wet soils that are fertile and warm. An attractive plant with heart-shaped leaves and white flowers, the chameleon plant is often planted as a ground cover or an accent plant in water gardens. Voracious growth via underground rhizomes and stems readily makes the chameleon plant invasive. Ridding a landscape of this herbaceous perennial is difficult, requiring a holistic approach over several months or years to rid the soil of all remnants of roots and rhizomes.

Suggestions for slowing the growth of the chameleon plant;

Reduce or halt all irrigation to the area infested with chameleon plant. Soil moisture encourages stronger root growth and more rapid spreading of the rhizomes. Drier soil in concert with hot, direct sunlight slows the growth rate, making it easier to control chameleon plants.

Dig into the clump of weedy chameleon plants with a garden shovel. Lift up root-filled clumps of soil and overturn the soil to gently break apart the matrix of roots. Grasp the root clumps and shake them, depositing the soil back into the bed but retaining all stem and root fragments in your hands. Double dig the soil and rake through it with your gloved hands to remove any rhizome segments that may linger. Rhizome bits left in the soil will continue to grow and reinfest the area.

Discard all chameleon plant parts into a trash bucket or thick plastic garbage bag. Do not place dug-up plants or roots into the compost pile or in a separate debris pile in contact with soil elsewhere on your property.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, and the Global Invasive Species Database websites recommend burning dug-up chameleon plants to ensure no roots or stem fragments remain anywhere on a property.

Repeat the digging up of chameleon plants that may sprout up in the weeded area over the next several months. Pull up and discard all plant parts. Young sprouting chameleon plants may also be sprayed with a broadleaf herbicide, such as any containing the active ingredient glyphosate.

Although labor-intensive, physically digging up and removing chameleon plants is the best way to control a landscape of the species. Herbicides may knock it back, but any rhizomes that are not fully killed by herbicide will rejuvenate into new plants with expanding foliage and roots.

In closing, my research was not successful in finding a method that kills this plant.

Greenhouse Project

The greenhouse project was started in 2008 by a small group of public school parents and educators, inspired by New York Sun Works Science Barge. They realized that sustainable Urban farms on school rooftops could serve as ideal hands-on learning facilities, not only to teach about food and nutrition, but to empower our children to make educated choices regarding their impact on the environment.

The Greenhouse Project is dedicated to improving K through 12 grade Environmental Science Education in urban schools through a hands-on integrated curriculum and professional development. A Greenhouse Project laboratory is typically built as a traditional greenhouse to accommodate a hydroponic urban farm and environmental science laboratory.

Grade school children will grow food, while learning hands-on about nutrition, water resource management, efficient land use, climate change, biodiversity, conservation, contamination, pollution, waste management, and sustainable development. To facilitate this hands-on learning environment, the Greenhouse Project laboratory will also include solar panels, hydroponic growing systems, a rainwater catchment system, a weather station and a vermicomposting station.

The laboratory operates as an integrated part of the school’s curricula and prepares children to exceed NYC’s science standards.

In addition to enhancing a school’s science curriculum, the greenhouse laboratory greatly enriches arts and social studies by connecting nature to culture. Students learn the relationship between humans and the environment and gain a greater appreciation of sustainable development and its direct relationship to cultural diversity. Learn more here.


Allelopathy can have an adverse effect in the garden, resulting in reduced seed germination and plant growth. On the other hand, allelopathic plants may also be considered Mother Nature’s own weed killer.

Allelpathy is a biological phenomenon where one plant inhibits the growth of another. Through the release of allelochemicals, certain plants can greatly affect the growth of other plants either in a good or bad way by leaching, decomposition, etc. In essence, plant allelopathy is used as a means of survival in nature, reducing competition from plants nearby.

Various parts of plants can have these allelopathic properties, from the foliage and flowers to the roots, bark, soil, and mulch. Most all allelopathic plants store their protective chemicals within their leaves, especially during fall. As leaves drop to the ground and decompose, these toxins can affect nearby plants. Some plants also release toxins through their roots, which are then absorbed by other plants and trees.

Common plants with allelopathic properties can be seen and include: English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Sumac (Rhus), Rhododendron, Elderberry (Sambucus), Forsythia, Goldenrod (Solidago), some ferns, perennial rye, tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.

Grilled Watermelon


  • 3 (1/2-inch-thick) watermelon rounds, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons bottled balsamic glaze


Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Brush both sides of each watermelon quarter with olive oil, and season with desired amount of salt and pepper. Cut prosciutto into thin strips.

Grill watermelon quarters, without grill lid, 1 minute on each side or until grill marks appear.

Transfer watermelon to a serving plate; top with blue cheese, prosciutto strips, and fresh basil. Drizzle watermelon with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

Prairies In Illiana


Early spring flowers such as spring beauty, trout lily, rue-anemone, mertensia and bloodroot take advantage of the sunlight cascading through sparsely vegetated woodland trees in March. April showers bring may apple, blue phlox, Jack-in-the-pulpit, red trillium, and dutchman’s breeches. Beginning in June, culver’s root and nightshade begin to bloom under the forest cover.

Mesic Prairie

The moderate moisture soils support the growth of Indian grass as well as big and little bluestem. Some of the first wildflowers to bloom are woolly blue violet, common milkweed and black medic. Starting in June the pale purple coneflower, smooth sumac, St. Johnswort, and purple and white prairie clover dot the landscape. In late summer the partridge pea, ironwood, showy goldenrod, and black-eyed susan bloom in splendor. Turkey vultures scavenge for food and the prairie kingsnake feeds on small reptiles, birds and insects. The viceroy butterfly is seen May through September and the monarch butterfly is abundant in late summer and fall. The indigo bunting feeds on the grains and berries of the mesic prairie ad builds its nest out of dried grass, leaves and bark strips.

Dry Prairie

Typical dry prairie grasses are sideoats grama, six weeks-fescue, Indian grass and little bluestem. In May and June, prairie coreopsis, New Jersey tea, prairie violet, lead plant, butterfly weed, green milkweed and wild bergamot bloom throughout the prairie. Later, rosinweed, prairie sunflower, compass plant, wild quinine, purple coneflower and royal catchfly paint the dry prairie. The eastern meadowlark makes its nest in the prairie vegetation while the black swallowtail and cloudless sulfur butterflies visit the prairie flowers. The legendary harbinger of spring, the woodchuck, digs burrows with large visible openings in the dry prairie habitat, and the thirteen-lined ground squirrel hides his burrow deep in the prairie.

Moist Prairie

In moist soils, the first spring prairie flowers include cream wild indigo, wild blue iris, golden alexanders, fringed loosestrife and mountain mint. Pale Indian plantain, compass plant, prairie dock and glodenglow add brilliant colors in mid-summer. Late blooming flowers such as smooth aster, New England aster and Jerusalem artichoke are seen beginning in August. The big and little bluestem prairie grasses are common in these area. The eastern box turtle and common garter snake inhabit moist prairies, as well as the least skipper and buckeye butterflies and the red-winged blackbird.

Japanese Fleece Flower

Fallopia japonica Variegata or Japanese Fleece Flower is unlike the invasive Japanese Knotweed and can be kept under control in the garden by pulling unwanted shoots that spread too far from the original mother plant. Also is known as Variegated Japanese Knotweed and a candidate for shade companion plant.

This is a deciduous shrub that grows to 4 feet in height and 4 feet in which, in clump habit. It bears heart-shaped leaves that have green under color with a cream overlay. A most noteworthy marbled effect indeed! The stems are striking red in color, adding further interest.

During the summer raceme shaped flowers form at the ends of the stems. Honey bees and butterflies are attracted to the scent of the flowers.

This shrub can be raised in both full sun and partial shade. It does best were it gets supplemental irrigation during the summer. One could keep it from spreading from its allocated space by either hand pulling shoots or surrounding it by an impermeable border.

Deadheading Coneflower

Echinacea, commonly called coneflower, is a genus of flowering perennials that thrive in the Illiana landscape. Coneflowers bloom with 2-to 4-inch flowers from midsummer until frost. Depending on the species, coneflowers may produce pink, yellow, purple or white flowers. When coneflower blooms start to fade, they can be deadheaded. Deadheading does not change the size of flowers or the length of the blooming season. Although it is not necessary to deadhead coneflowers, it keeps the garden tidy. Leaving a few spent flowers may attract birds, because they like to snack on the seeds.