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TIARELLA 'Skeleton Key'

Image of Tiarella 'Skeleton Key'

Mary S. Thomas

Family

Saxifragaceae

Botanical Name

TIARELLA 'Skeleton Key'

Plant Common Name

Foamflower, Skeleton Key Foamflower

General Description

Although offering dainty white flowers in spring, this hardy clump-forming perennial is best known for its dramatically incised leaves that are divided nearly to the midvein. The large lime-green leaves have contrasting maroon midstripes on their deep lobes. The midstripes merge to form a small central blotch. The foliage turns bronzy tones in fall. It persists through winter in warmer climates, bringing color to dull dormant gardens. Elegant frothy spikes of small white flowers rise above the foliage for many weeks in spring, creating a foamy wave of color when plants are massed. Plants may rebloom during cool moist spells later in the season.

Provide this shade-loving hybrid perennial with organically rich, well drained soil. It is ideal for dressing up exposed ground beneath large old shrubs or shade trees, where color is too often wanting. It is also perfect at the edge of a path or the front of a shady mixed border. Leave the spent foliage until early spring to protect overwintering buds from cold damage.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Purple

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Purple

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Purple, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Purple, Bronze

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edging, Foundation, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds

  • Self-Sowing

    No