Growing Chameleon Plants

Growing chameleon plants (other names include bishop’s weed, Chinese lizard tail, heart leaf, fish wort, rainbow plant, fish leaf, fish mint etc.) is pretty popular in the Southeast Asian countries. The plants generally grow well in moist and shady locations.

The chameleon plants (Houttuynia cordata) are actually colorful plants that cover the ground in areas that might otherwise remain bare because of poor or wet soil. And the plants are actually considered as weeds in most of the areas.

Chameleon is a flowering plant and it is native to Japan, Korea, southern China and Southeast Asia. The plants can grow up to 2-3.3 ft tall, and spreading up to 3.3 ft.

Their leaves are alternate, broadly heart-shaped (measuring 1.6 to 3.5 inches long and 3-8 inches broad.

The chameleon plants are considered as weeds in most of the areas, but it is also a good leaf vegetable.

Some people prefer growing chameleon plants for using as a fresh herbal garnish.

Leaves of these plants have an unusual taste that is often described as ‘fishy’. The plants are also used in traditional Chinese medicine.

However, growing chameleon plants in home garden can be a good way for enjoying this vegetable. You can consume the leaves either raw, in salads or cooked with other vegetables.

How to Grow Chameleon Plants

Growing chameleon plants is very easy. They don’t require much care and can be grown in almost anywhere.

Here we are trying to describe more information about growing chameleon plants in home garden.

Select a Location

First of all, select a good location in your garden for growing chameleon plants.

The chameleon plants grow best in both full sun or partially shaded area. But best color of the leaves develops in a sunny spot.

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Prepare the Soil

The chameleon plants are not picky about the soil types. They can just grow anywhere and in any type of soil.

The plants prefer moist soil in shady locations for better growth. Although, you can add some organic materials into the soil for getting good growth of the plants.

Purchase Cuttings

The chameleon plants are propagated by division. So, purchase the cuttings from any of your nearest garden centers or nurseries.

Best Time for Growing Chameleon Plants

The chameleon plants grow best during the summer season. They are actually herbaceous perennial, dying back in winter. They generally bloom in the summer.


Plant the cuttings in moist or soggy soil. And they will spread and cover the area quickly. Actually, the plants can become invasive in gardens and difficult to eradicate.


As we have mentioned above, the chameleon plants require less care and management. They will grow just fine if you keep the soil moist constantly.


You can start harvesting the leaves after one year. The leaves are edible and are consumed in many different ways (including raw, by using in salads or by cooking with other vegetables).

The chameleon plants are very useful around ponds or soggy areas where you want to add color in the wet soil. Hope you have enjoyed this guide for growing chameleon plants. Good luck!

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