New Moon Nurseries: A Delightful Groundcover for Shaded Gardens

Are you searching for a versatile and visually striking groundcover for your shaded garden? Look no further than Tiarella cordifolia, commonly known as Foamflower, from New Moon Nurseries. With its heart-shaped lobed leaves, delicate racemes of pinkish white florets, and its ability to thrive in woodlands and shade gardens, this low mounding wildflower is the perfect addition to your landscape.

Natural Habitat and Hardy Characteristics

Tiarella cordifolia is indigenous to the rich deciduous woodlands, hemlock or white cedar forests, and open moist to slightly dry woods of eastern North America. From Quebec and Ontario, south to Nova Scotia, Maine, and Georgia, and west to Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, this species flourishes in a variety of habitats.

Often found near stream banks, colony of foamflower gracefully follow the courses of streams or creeks. Its adaptability allows it to grow in open areas near woodland paths, seasonal floodplains, and seeps.

With its hardiness from USDA Zones 4-9, Tiarella cordifolia can withstand a range of climates, making it an excellent choice for gardeners across North America.

Unique Plant Description

Tiarella cordifolia is a clump-forming perennial that spreads through stolons or runners. Its glossy, semi-evergreen leaves, which have long petioles originating directly from the runners, are the epitome of elegance. These leaves, measuring 4″ across, possess 3-5 toothed maple-like lobes and are occasionally adorned with red or purple veins and scattered glandular hairs.

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In spring, you’ll witness the magical emergence of airy flower racemes that rise from the foliage, reaching a height of 10-12″. These racemes host small white starry florets that emerge from pinkish buds, creating a delightful scene. Each floret is adorned with long stamens, giving it a foamy or feathery appearance. As the seasons change, the foliage may take on a reddish or bronze tint, adding a touch of warmth to your garden.

The fruit of Tiarella cordifolia is a small lopsided capsule that splits into two segments, containing shiny black seeds. When fully grown, this groundcover reaches a height of 1′ with an equal spread, forming dense clumps and small colonies from the spreading leafy stems that root at the nodes.

Cultivation and Maintenance Needs

Tiarella cordifolia thrives in shady sites with average to moist well-drained soil. Whether your soil is clay, loam, acidic, or alkaline, this groundcover is highly adaptable. It can endure varying pH levels, heat, and even some drought. While being fairly pest resistant, adequate air circulation is essential to prevent issues with powdery mildew, slugs, and rust. Although nibbled occasionally by deer, this species is generally deer-resistant.

To ensure optimal growth, Tiarella cordifolia prefers rich and moisture-retentive soils. However, it cannot tolerate sites that are wet or soggy during winter.

Versatile Uses in Your Landscape

This groundcover is not only a fantastic choice for shaded gardens, but it also serves as an excellent addition to wildlife gardens, butterfly nectar gardens, and perennial borders. Its showy blooms make it an ideal candidate for rock gardens and cottage gardens, while its ability to form dense clumps lends itself to groupings and mass plantings. Additionally, the attractive rosettes provided by Tiarella cordifolia offer winter interest in milder climates.

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Companion and Understudy Plants

To create a harmonious garden design, consider pairing Tiarella cordifolia with other complementary plants. Species like Adiantum pedatum, Aquilegia canadensis, Athyrium filix-femina, Carex albicans, Carex plantaginea, Heuchera americana ‘Dales Strain’, Phlox stolonifera, or Polystichum acrostichoides make excellent companions for Foamflower.

For situations that call for an alternative, Tiarella wherryi closely resembles Tiarella cordifolia in appearance and culture, making it a suitable substitution.

Fascinating Trivia

Did you know that early-season bees, pollinating flies, moths, and butterflies are attracted to the flowers of Tiarella cordifolia? This precocious wildflower begins producing viable seeds only a week after the flowers toward the tip of the racemes have withered.

The genus name, Tiarella, stems from the Greek word “tiara,” which alludes to the shape of the seed capsule resembling a turban once worn by Persian noblemen. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Tiarella cordifolia received the distinction of being the Georgia Native Plant Society’s Plant of the Year in 2003.

To explore the beauty and versatility of Foamflower firsthand, visit Ames Farm Center to check availability and order your very own Tiarella cordifolia plants. Bring nature’s charm to your garden and enjoy the enchantment of this delightful groundcover.