How to Grow Series

Digitalis (Foxglove)


Digitalis, commonly known as Foxglove, are biennials that seed so readily in the garden, they are sometimes confused for perennials. Foxglove have low growing foliage with tall flower spikes that hold tubular flowers. Plants can range from 2-5 feet tall and are deer and rabbit resistant. Foxglove are considered poisonous if consumed, so make sure you teach children and pets to stay away from them. Since the majority of plants can cause stomach upset, I see no reason not to grow these lovely flowers in my garden if you properly educate the people around you.

Hummingbirds love the bloom of the foxglove plant, so they should be included in any hummingbird garden. Hardy in zones 4-10, foxglove thrive in compost rich soil that drains well. Plant foxglove in partial shade. The hotter your summers, the more shade your foxglove should have.

Foxglove start blooming at the bottom of the flower spike. As the bottom flowers die off, new ones open above it making your bloom time last for weeks. You can encourage smaller flower spikes to form by making sure the plants are kept well watered in summer. Just make sure they never sit in soggy soil for too long as they could rot.

Digitalis are easily grown from seed, although it can take up to 21 days for germination to occur. I find it is easier to start them from seed using the winter sowing method, which you can read more about here. Just remember that your newly sprouted plants will not bloom until the next year.

Plants from the garden center should be planted in the ground at the same level as they were in the pot. I like to choose smaller plants that have not bloomed yet, so that I can enjoy the blooms in my garden their first year in the ground. Generally the plants in the garden center are in their 2nd year, but there are some smaller nurseries that grow their own plants that just might sell 4 packs of newly sprouted foxglove.

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