Heart-leaved foamflower

Flowers and leaves of heart-leaved foamflower.

This dainty perennial earns its name from the delicate clusters of white flowers that rise above the almost maple-like foliage.  This is a good plant for shady gardens.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.



Botanical name:

Tiarella cordifolia

All Common Names:

Heart-leaved foamflower, foamflower, foam flower

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • North America

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Small plant (6-12 inches),
  • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Late spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Pink,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping,
  • Mounded

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size and method of spreading

6 to 12 inches high and wide.  There are two naturally occuring forms of foamflower.  One form clump forming ground cover, but the other can spread by stolons to some degree.   Clump-forming ground covers are plants that are not usually thought of as ground covers.  They are perennials that can be planted closely together to provide the visual effect of a ground cover.

Plant Care

Requires a shady, moist site, but wet soils should be avoided.

Disease, pests, and problems

None serious, but slugs are a possible problem.

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in rich woods. 

C-Value: 10

Leaf description

Lobed leaves (maple-like in shape) forming a low growing rosette.  The shape may vary by cultivar.

Flower description

Small white or pinkish flowers in clusters held on stalks above the leaves.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The fruit is a dry capsule; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

Brandywine foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia 'Brandywine'):  Rugose (textured) leaves with a center red blotch and bronze fall; this cultivar can spread by short stolons.

Elizabeth Oliver foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia 'Elizabeth Oliver'):  Green leaves with maroon markings; light pink flowers.

Oakleaf foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia 'Oakleaf'):  Three-lobed leaves resemble oak leaves; some hints of red in fall.

Running Tapestry foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia 'Running Tapestry'):  Heart-shaped leaf with a red blotch; spreads by runners.

Sugar and Spice foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia 'Sugar and Spice'):  Heavy flower production; deep red markings on leaves, short stolons.



Location of Tiarella cordifolia (Heart-leaved foamflower) at the Arboretum