My mother loved foam flower, Tiarella cordifolia. My wife Angela likes it too. I was always cool towards this native perennial. I seem to be alone in my apathy towards foam flower, as many gardeners have admiration for this woodland plant of quiet dignity. Time to rethink things.
The photograph above makes foam flower look bold and larger than in life (dramatic light that day), but in reality, it is a restrained mix of white and pink hues held 4″-6″ above the soil.
Tiarella cordifolia is hardy USDA zones 4-9 and strongly prefers shady spots in the garden. A native perennial, foam flower is a low grower that needs very little care so long as moisture is adequate and consistent. Blooms in mid-April to May depending on your locale.
Tiarella cordifolia is a perfect plant for naturalizing in the garden. It is native to North America from Canada south to Georgia…very happy in the Appalachians. It will not tolerate afternoon sun. Apparently, the deer leave foam flower alone.
Like many perennials, foam flower will not tolerate wet ill-draining soils, especially in winter.
This native perennial also does not do well with soils that routinely dry out.
Foam flower does best in rich, good quality garden soil and spreads via stolons underground to form mats a couple of feet in diameter. Allowed to grow uninterrupted season to season, Tiarella cordifolia will eventually form colonies.
More information (plus a great photograph) about foam flower can be found at the Native Plant Database at the University of Texas. An interesting piece of trivia I learned from the Native Plant Database is that the flower stalks in foam flower’s northern range will not bear the heart-shaped leaves common to plants grown in the southern United States.