Some gardeners call this the plant from hell.
Tom and I have been reworking most of the gardens on our plot of ground while undercover these weeks. We are taking back the grass… mowing is easier than weeding in old age.
This invasive plant has flourished in an area by the driveway, sharing space with large rocks and other flowers. It took two days—6 or 7 hours a day—with both of us digging 2 feet… that’s 2 feet! down to remove the aggressive plant by the roots. There is no other way to get rid of this. We filled this wagon twice with the roots of this unstoppable plant.
The Houttuynia Cordata Chameleon performs wonderfully if you can contain it. Growing tenaciously in steep, rocky places, this plant can also be a great ground cover. The problem comes only when you decide to be rid of it. Some gardeners swear it is impossible; they moan in the belief that you can NEVER eradicate this plant.
One site informs that this plant spreads indefinitely and vigorously. The roots of the Chameleon grow as wide as they do deep; this explains why the plant is not easily removed. The Chameleon spreads by underground rhizomes, and also roots from broken stems and even pieces of the plant. You are advised to burn all traces of the flower, the rhizome, even the smallest pieces to assure the plant will not come back to life!
Initially, I was stunned at the amount of roots deep down in the soil and was going to blog on the lessons of being rooted in wrong or dangerous places. The more I pondered this, I see a beautiful, positive lesson of being rooted in good soil. Indeed, I spy a lesson in comparing the Houttuynia plant to a strong Biblical faith. Well, sort of…
“I pray . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God” Ephesians 3:17 NASB
I love how the verse reads in the Amplified: “May Christ through your faith, actually dwell—settle down, abide, make His permanent home—in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.” Ephesians 3:17
The idea here in the Greek is of roots plunging or pressing down deeper and wider into soil. To be grounded is to be ultimately resting on a firm foundation, standing strong against the winds that blow. These kind of roots are totally invasive, yes. Every area of life is captivated with God’s powerful, unfailing love. “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Psalm 36:5. “How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 36:7.
Some find the ‘fragrance’ of the plant a bit offensive. It does have a strong odor, and herbalists often use it for antiviral purposes. “Anti-houttuynia-ists” boycott the garden centers where this plant is sold 🙂
We find ourselves in unsettled, shaking currents. Now is the time to be resolute in standing secure. My desire is to press deeper… down, down into the only firm foundation upon which there is peace…
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
… grounded in love…