FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Tiarella 'New Moon Motley' is a low growing wildflower that forms 8-12” mounds. Some are runners and while others are clumpers, and include leaf shapes of oak, maple, skeleton key, and heart shapes, all having red coloration in the foliage. In spring, foliage is crowned by spikey racemes of starry pinkish white florets. This foamflower selection is a fine groundcover for woodlands or shade gardens with moist well drained soil.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: Native Tiarella spp. occur in eastern North America. These are woodland species that are indigenous to rich deciduous woodlands, hemlock or white cedar forests, open moist to slightly dry woods, seasonal floodplains, seeps and stream banks. Colonies of foamflower often follow courses of streams or creeks.
‘New Moon Motley’ was selected by James Brown, owner of New Moon Nursery. Brown selected plants with red foliage variegation from seedling populations at the nursery. ‘New Moon Motley’ has both clumping and running forms. Foliage varies in shape and can be oak-like, maple-like, narrow lobed or heart shaped.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 4-8.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Tiarella x 'New Moon Motley' is a clump forming perennial that can spread from stolons or runners.
The leaves are glossy and semi-evergreen with long petioles that originate directly from the runners. They are up to 4” across and lobed or heart shaped with toothed margins.
Foliage is often evergreen with red veins or markings. Blades have scattered glandular hairs and can take on a reddish or bronze tint in autumn and winter.
In spring airy flower racemes rise from the foliage to a height of 10-12”. The racemes contain small white starry florets that emerge from pinkish buds. Each floret has long stamens that impart a foamy or feathery appearance.
The fruit is a small lopsided capsule that splits into two segments full of shiny black seed.
Plants grow 8-12”’ tall with a 1-2’ spread. They form dense clumps and small colonies from spreading leafy stems that root at the nodes.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Tiarella x 'New Moon Motley' flourishes in shady sites with average or moist well drained soil. Plants tolerate clay, loam, acid or alkaline pH, heat and some drought.
Plants are fairly pest resistant but need good air circulation to prevent issues with powdery mildew, slugs and rust. Foliage is occasionally nibbled by deer.
This selection grows best in soils that are rich and moisture retentive but cannot tolerate sites that are wet or soggy in winter.
LANDSCAPE USES: This is a good Groundcover, Grouping or Mass for a Wildlife Garden or Shade Garden. In mild climates attractive rosettes provide Winter Interest. Tiarella x 'New Moon Motley' has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Rock Gardens, Low Maintenance Plantings and Perennial Borders.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Tiarella x 'New Moon Motley' with Adiantum pedatum, Aquilegia canadensis, Athyrium filix-femina, Carex albicans, Carex plantaginea, Heuchera americana 'Dales Strain', Phlox stolonifera or Polystichum acrostichoides.
Tiarella cordifolia and Tiarella cordifolia wherryi have similar appearance and culture and could be substituted in some situations.
TRIVIA: It is reported that early season bees, pollinating flies, moths and butterflies visit the flowers.
This precocious wildflower begins producing viable seed barely a week after the flowers toward the tip of the racemes have withered.