Foxglove

 (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxglove are striking, elegant wildflowers that will add some high impact colour to your garden. They work especially well in cottage garden arrangements and at the back of planted borders. They can grow to 1-1.5m.

These familiar and distinctive hedgerow plants with their tall spires of tubular flower bells can create a sense of distance if planted at the back of your garden as they draw the eye from the foreground.

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When should it be grown?

  • Plant biennial foxglove seeds in summer for blooming the following year. Foxgloves are biennial which means that that plants establish and grow leaves in the first year, then flower and produce seeds in the second year. You must plant foxglove two years running if you want flowers every summer.
  • Buy foxglove in pots and plant 35-45cm apart straight away Transplant by dividing clumps in early spring or autumn. To prevent overcrowding it’s a good idea to divide clumps every three years or so.
  • Transplant self-seeded seedlings when the leaves are around 10cm

Where should it be grown?

  • Foxglove will grow in almost any soil but avoid soil that is either very wet or very dry. As a rule, Foxglove are very hardy and will tolerate almost all conditions.
  • The ideal location will be semi-shady and have humus-rich soil.
  • Most foxgloves are self-seeding which means that new seedlings pop up at random all over the garden giving different patterns of flowers each year. This can work well if you have a lot of space in your garden. Otherwise, cut the flowers down when they have faded and before they go to seed.

Any other additional tips

  • Deadhead after flowering to avoid problems with excess numbers of seedlings.
  • Warning! All parts of the foxglove plant contain highly toxic alkaloids so they should never be eaten.
  • To collect seeds from foxgloves cover the flowerspikes with a paper bag. When the seedheads have dried give them a shake to release the seeds. You can plant these anywhere you like. No need to dig, just scatter them where you want them to grow.
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