Tiarella 'Skeleton Key'
Common Name: foam flower 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. Prefers humusy, organically rich, moisture-retentive soils. Soil should not be allowed to dry out. Avoid wet soils which can be fatal particularly in winter. Removal of flower spikes after bloom will improve the appearance of the foliage mound. Foliage is semi-evergreen in the St. Louis area where the amount of retained foliage color in winter, if any, is in large part dependent upon the severity of the temperatures.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tiarella is a genus of about 7 species of herbaceous perennials from East Asia and North America. They make good ground covers in woodland gardens and shady borders.

Plants are in the same family as and somewhat suggestive of Heuchera, Tellima and Mitella. Tiarella is sometimes commonly called false miterwort because of its similarity to Mitella (miterwort).

Genus name comes from the Greek tiara meaning a small crown in reference to the form of the fruit.

'Skeleton Key' foamflower cultivar is clump-forming perennial which spreads rapidly by runners (stolons) to form dense, 1-2 foot-wide clumps of foliage. Semi-glossy, deeply cut (unique for Tiarellas) dark green leaves (4" across) tinged with purple rise directly from the stolons and are somewhat suggestive of Heuchera. Tiny white flowers in airy racemes bloom in spring for about 6 weeks on numerous, erect, wiry, mostly leafless flower stems which rise well above the foliage clump to a height of 10-12".

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for powdery mildew. Susceptible to root weevils and slugs.

Garden Uses

Excellent selection for shaded areas of rock gardens, woodland gardens, border fronts, naturalized plantings or moist areas along streams or ponds. Mass for an attractive ground cover. Containers.