In its native habitat, foam flower forms rich carpets in shady, moist forest and dense woodland. It’s thus best suited to full shade, though it can prosper in partial shade—mainly if it receives only morning sunlight. The perennial does best in slightly acidic to neutral soil rich in organic matter. It requires very little fuss once it’s established.
You can quickly propagate Tiarella by dividing its clumps in the fall or digging up and replanting its vigorous runners.
Attractive Characteristics of Tiarella
The foam flower forms clumps or heaps with its lobed, evergreen foliage; it spreads by underground stems or rhizomes, although the eastern American species, T. cordifolia, commonly called the heartleaf foam flower, also expands via aboveground runners (aka stolons). The leaves come in an array of colors and patterns thanks to the diverse varietals and hybrids on the market, and in some of these, they change color in fall or winter.
In spring, Tiarella raises lovely blooming stalks of little white or pinkish flowers that often delight with multi-week displays. When in bloom, this otherwise ground-hugging plant commonly stands between one and two feet tall.
Charming as its spraying blooms are, this perennial is most coveted by gardeners for its dense, humped, spreading year-round foliage, which creates a beautiful ground cover.
Varieties & Hybrids Of Tiarella
Often marketed by the Latin genus name tiarellas—and, in the case of the native species of western North America, sometimes also called “sugar-scoop”—foam flowers comprise only a few wild species. However, thanks to extensive hybridization and the development of cultivars, you’ve got a myriad of different forms to choose from.
Some widely popular varieties include ‘Skeleton Key’ with its deeply dissected leaves, ‘Eco Red Heart’ with its red leaf centers, and ‘Ninja,’ which flourishes beautifully marbled foliage that darkens to purple in the colder months. The playfully named ‘Jeepers Creepers cultivar adopts an appropriate creeping form, while the ‘Neon Lights foam flower sports striking, maple-like leaves rimmed with bright green and dark reddish-brown in the middle.
Uses Of Tiarella in the Garden & Yard
Tiarella provides reliably eye-catching and dense-nesting ground cover for shade gardens, ideal for interweaving with other shade-tolerant herbs, grasses, and sedges. It’s a fine choice for shady rock gardens and stream borders.
From its long-lasting spring blooms to the lush, textured look of its leaves across the calendar, foam flower is a delightful perennial to add to any shady corner of your yard scape!