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Foamflower is a close cousin to coral bells, another favorite shade-garden plant. While the foliage of this woodland native may not be quite as showy as coral bells, foamflower compensates with a large quantity of blossoms. In spring these plants are loaded with spires of foamy white flowers that look right at home in a woodland garden setting. These trusty perennials make a good groundcover plant, as many are trailing types that form dense mats of foliage. 

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Part Sun, Shade



6 to 12 inches


1 to 3 feet

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Foliage Color:

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Colorful Combinations

Appearing in airy masses, large quantities of foamflower creates quite a show in a spring garden. Foamflower is most commonly found in shades of pink and white. The blossoms typically last anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. After the blooms fade, the dark green foliage makes an attractive backdrop for other plants. Its leaves come in a variety of shapes and colors. While some foliage is variegated, most often the leaves are lobed and severely dissected, similar to a maple leaf. 

Foamflower Care Must-Knows

Foamflower is easy to cultivate, with several species native to the United States. Foamflower prefers well-drained soil with a good amount of humus. While it needs well-drained soil to survive, foamflower prefers consistent moisture to thrive. However, if soil remains too wet—especially during winter periods—it is likely to rot and die.

Gardeners favor foamflower because it tolerates shade. While it can grow in full shade, the ideal habit includes dappled sun. This gives the plants the best-color foliage possible and the best blooming conditions.

Within the several species of foamflower available, there are two types: clumping and trailing/spreading. The trailing type makes an exceptional groundcover plant. As these plants grow, they create long runners that put down roots wherever they touch soil, creating dense mats of foliage that help prevent weed growth. Trailing types can be divided easily to spread among the garden.

Find more flowers that work well under the shade of trees here.

New Innovations

Foamflower has seen new developments in recent years. One of the most important is their ability to cross-breed with coral bells. This created the new intergeneric hybrid heucherella, also known as foamy bells. New hybrids offer many of the beneficial traits from their parents, such as showy foliage and more prolific blossoms. Among new foamflower hybrids are many varieties that can be used as container plants with showy foliage and great trailing habits.

Create a container garden filled with green foliage!

More Varieties of Foamflower

'Elizabeth Oliver' Foamflower

Tiarella 'Elizabeth Oliver' makes substantial low clumps of deeply lobed leaves streaked with red veining. Its spires of pink buds open blushing white. It grows 15 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 4-8

'Heronswood Mist' Foamflower

Tiarella 'Heronswood Mist' bears white- and pink-specked foliage on 15-inch-tall plants. Zones 4-8

Plant Foamflower With:

Phlox are one of those bounteous summer flowers any large sunny flowerbed or border shouldn't be without. There are several different kinds of phlox. Garden and meadow phlox produce large panicles of fragrant flowers in a wide assortment of colors. They also add height, heft, and charm to a border. Low-growing wild Sweet William, moss pinks, and creeping phlox are effective as ground covers, at the front of the border, and as rock and wild garden plants, especially in light shade. These native gems have been hybridized extensively especially to toughen the foliage against mildew problems; many recent selections are mildew-resistant. Phlox need amply moist soil for best overall health.
Japanese Painted Fern
One of the most elegant ferns available for your garden, Japanese painted ferns are washed with gorgeous silver and burgundy markings. Lady fern is equally elegant though not quite as showy. Either will add interest and texture to your shady spots. Closely related to each other, Japanese painted fern and lady fern are sometimes crossed with each other to create attractive hybrids.Unlike most ferns, these toughies will tolerate dry soil. And they will tolerate some sun if they have ample water.
Solomon's Seal
This elegant shade plant has gently arching stems and dangling creamy bells. Solomon's seal adds height and grace to shaded gardens in spring. It's an easy plant to grow, and will slowly colonize -- even in tough areas where shallow tree roots rob moisture and nutrients. The foliage turns golden in fall.
Virginia Bluebells
To come across a stand of bluebells in bloom in the woods is a dream. Bluebells is among our most revered of wildflowers, perhaps because their beauty is so fleeting. Arranged in clusters, the tubular clear-blue flowers that flare at the mouth open from pink buds. Lance-shape foliage emerges purplish-brown but becomes a medium green before going dormant after bloom time. Plan to fill bluebells' place in the border. It prefers moisture-retentive soil in sun or light shade, especially at midday. Excellent with spring bulbs.
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