Foxglove Plant [Digitalis]

Facts about Foxglove Plants and Flowers

The Foxglove plant is one that I would recommend for any garden, and it favors areas in shade.

The name ‘Foxglove’ is rather interesting – it is a distortion of the words ‘folks gloves’ as these plants were said to be the source of gloves for the ‘little folk’… the fairies.

Foxgloves have no attraction for foxes.

White Foxglove
Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora
White Foxgloves

The botanical name for Foxglove plants is Digitalis, which descends from the Latin word ‘digitus’, meaning finger.

The name Digitalis is significant, and you should know that this plant is the source of the extremely powerful drug Digitalis, which is used in the treatment of heart conditions.

Remember that the leaves and the seeds of this plant are the source of the drug, and that the drug is a toxin and certainly poisonous. One is unlikely to eat either as they are both bitter, but it is best to be warned. The plant itself is safe to touch but do not ingest.

Foxglove plant is both a bi-annual and perennial, and there are different varieties with different colour flowers, that range from white and cream to yellow, pink and purple.

Foxgloves generally bloom in late spring, and continue to do so right up to mid-summer.

The process of ‘dead heading’, that is cutting the flowers as soon as the flowers fade, will trigger a second flowering.

Soil for Foxglove Plants

Purple Pink Foxglove Plant Flowers

As with most similar plants, Foxgloves originate in shady woodlands and need soil and an environment that replicates these conditions.

Firstly, the spot you choose must be shady. Then you need rich soil with lots of humus, just like the soils of forests that are always enriched by falling leaves.

You can provide the necessary fertiliser to the soil by mixing in reasonable amounts of compost, preferably leaf compost.

Foxgloves Propagation

Propagation is either by division or by sowing seeds, and both of these can be done either in spring or in fall.

Foxglove plant growing in shade with white flowers

Bi-annuals especially self-sow very easily if you give them the right environment and enough water.

Foxglove plants are evergreen, will take a year to establish themselves if sown from seed, and will bloom in the spring of the next year.

Different species of foxglove flower differently. Some flower on one side of the stem, with the flowers drooping a bit, while others can flower all around the central stem and face outwards.

Foxglove plant and flowers can attain the height of an adult human, and should be planted at least a foot and a half apart. So keep this in mind when designing and planning your garden layout.

Foxglove Flowers

White flowers on Foxglove - Digitalis

Remember that for the flowers to attain their full height you need to provide a rich humus laden soil. As for foxglove flowers, there are lots of varieties, but one that I recommend is the Strawberry Foxglove, that bears around three pink or rose colour flowers that look exquisite.

This species of foxglove is a perennial, and you will see it flower in summer, though essentially most Foxgloves bloom in the early summer.

Remember that the foxglove plant prefers shade, though they will not die if you have no option but to plant them in the sun. If you do so, remember to keep them adequately watered if you want them to survive.

Generally speaking though, avoid planting in full sun if it’s at all possible.

How to Plant Foxglove

Plant them around a foot and a half apart, in soil heavily enriched with compost. It can even be seeded, and once established will self-sow in the future.

Foxglove Plants and Seeds

Search for the following varieties using the search box below if they are not already listed.

  • Foxglove – Goldcrest
  • Fox Glove – Strawberry (Foxglove)
  • Foxglove – Giant Shirley Mixed Colors
  • Foxglove – Camelot Lavender
  • Foxglove – Camelot Rose
  • Foxglove – Candy Mountain

Foxglove plant, also called digitalis, is both perennial and bi-annual. There are several colors to choose from. They come in cream, pink, purple, white and yellow. Blooming from late Spring to mid-Summer.

Cutting back the flower spikes as soon as the blooms are fading will provide you with a second blooming.

Foxglove flowers for shade need a rich, humus well drained soil. You can divide in Spring or Fall if perennial, and sow seed in Spring or Autumn as well.

The bi-annuals will self-sow readily given the correct soil and moisture.

When you sow these shade tolerant flowers, they will establish themselves the first year then bloom the following spring. This is an evergreen, yeah!

Some species have flowers only on one side of the spike, with the flower drooping while others will flower around the spike and stick straight out. These foxglove flowers will grow to 6 feet, and should be planted 12 to 18 inches apart.

Strawberry foxglove flowers in Summer. Has 2 to 3 inch pink to rose colour tubular flowers. This one is perennial with velvety leaves and evergreen.

Pink Foxglove

Common digitals D.purpurea have woolly leaves with a spike to 5 feet. Colours are pink, purple, rust, white and yellow. Alba grows to 4 feet with white flowers. Apricot grows to 3 feet with apricot flowers.

Keep these shade lovers moist and don’t forget to cut them back before they go to seed so you will have a second showing.

Check out our article on Flower Shade Gardening for more information.

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