Plants - Native Plants and Wildflowers

Natural selection: Foam flower

These dainty little numbers provide a great groundcover in shady areas of the garden

Foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
* Zone 3
* Native from Ontario to Nova Scotia (and south to Georgia)

Vinca and pachysandra, prepare to move over! Despite being sadly overlooked in the past, Tiarella is quickly becoming the first choice for many gardeners looking for an eye-catching, flowering groundcover that is at home in medium to heavy shade.

Pretty Tiarella cordifolia is a vigorous perennial that spreads via stolons (or runners) and bears 10- to 30-centimetre-tall racemes of delicate white or pink flowers for six weeks in early summer. Its heart-shaped foliage is semi-evergreen with promi­nent burgundy venation; in autumn the leaves turn to reddish-bronze.

In addition to the species forms, more than 75 Tiarella cultivars have been introduced over the past decade—some with fragrant flowers—and when crossed with the closely related Heuchera, a new genus was born: ×Heucherella. All of the foam flower species and cultivars require soil that
is evenly moist and rich in organic matter.

Fast fact: The genus Tiarella contains five species, four of which are native to North America and one to the Himalayas (T. polyphylla). Watch for these lovely plants:

Threeleaf foam flower (Tiarella trifoliata)

* Zone 4
* Native from Yukon to Oregon

Oneleaf foam flower (T. trifoliata var. unifoliata)
* Zone 3
* Native from Yukon to Montana

Wherry's foam flower (T. wherryi)
* Zone 5
* Native to the Appalachian Mountain region

Want more information on native plants?
Evergreen, a national charity that makes cities more liveable, has a comprehensive Native Plant Database.

Shot on location at Wildflower Farm.



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