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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
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.
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.