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Foxglove

Digitalis

Known for its towers of blooms, this classic favorite has long graced many gardens. Foxglove looks much like its name, containing glove-like bells that come in an array of colors. Foxglove is known for its wonderful patterns and makes quite the statement when planted in mass amounts. Be careful where you plant them, as all parts of this plant are highly poisonous.

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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

From 1 to 8 feet

Width:

1-3 feet

Flower Color:

Foliage Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

3-8

Propagation

Colorful Combinations

With so many colors to choose from, you will have an easy time finding a foxglove to fit your garden space. Most foxgloves are biennials, which means that the first year grows from seed and plants will simply be a rosette of foliage at ground level with no blooms. The second year, the glorious spikes of blooms will produce bountiful amounts of seed in order to start the 2-year cycle all over again. A few foxgloves are true perennials, blooming each year. Many of these come in more subdued colors with smaller blossoms, but they still are wonderful additions to the perennial garden.

See how to use pink flowers in your garden.

Foxglove Care Must-Knows

Foxglove plants are very easy to grow, and they have very few requirements in order to prosper. Ideal conditions for these plants vary depending on the variety and species, but in general, they prefer evenly moist, well-drained soils. These perennials are not very drought tolerant, especially when in bloom, so make sure to give them water during long and dry periods. They also prefer acidic soil, so depending on your soil type, it may be a good idea to add soil acidifiers.

Many foxgloves do best in full sun, but some will get by just fine in part shade. Some of these perennial types actually prefer part shade over full sun, so make sure to check which type you have before planting. The full sun varieties may have more problems with powdery mildew on the foliage if planted in shady conditions.

It's important to remember that biennial varieties will most likely not bloom in the first year. The second year, they will send up beautiful spikes of blooms (which hummingbirds love), and if you cut them back immediately after they are done, you can encourage a second round of blooms. Also keep in mind that, as a biennial, the foxglove plants will die when they have finished blooming for the season. Make sure to leave a few spent blooms on the plant so they can produce seeds to grow more seedlings the next year.

New Innovations

Because foxgloves are largely seed-grown varieties, there is always research being done to improve seed strains and introduce new colors. Professional breeders are also looking to create first-year flowering plants.

Recently, there was a foxglove breakthrough by crossing foxglove with Isoplexis, a plant believed at the time to be another closely related genus, to create Digiplexis. There is some question now as to whether Isoplexis may in fact be a foxglove instead of a separate genus. Either way, Digiplexis is a new line of sterile foxglove that blooms all season on dense plants for quite the show.

See more plants perfect for cottage gardens.

More Varieties of Foxglove

Common foxglove

Digitalis purpurea is a short-lived, self-sowing perennial or biennial. It is a mainstay in cottage gardens. Zones 5-8

Digitalis grandiflora

A beautiful perennial foxglove, these plants do best in part shade, and have light yellow blooms from May-June.  Zones 3-8

'Foxy' foxglove

Digitalis purpurea 'Foxy' blooms reliably from seed its first year with 2- to 3-foot-tall spikes of pink, purple, white, or cream with maroon markings. Zones 5-8

Strawberry foxglove

Digitalis x mertonensis bears strawberry-red bloom spikes up to 3 feet tall. Divide plants every two to three years to maintain vigor. Zones 4-8

Woolly foxglove

Digitalis lanata is an Eastern European native that grows 1 to 2 feet tall and bears bicolor white and brown flowers in June and July. Zones 4-9

plant Foxglove With:

Lady's mantle
Lady's mantle looks great in the garden and in a vase. Its scalloped leaves catch rain or dewdrops, making plants look dusted with jewels. The chartreuse flowers appear in playful, frothy clusters above the foliage. Lady's mantle is ideal for softening the edge of a shaded path or creating a groundcover in dappled shade.
Hosta
This plant not frequently grown 40 years ago is now one of the most commonly grown garden plants. Hosta has earned a spot in the hearts of gardeners—it's among the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall. Hostas vary from tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged—the variations are virtually endless. Hostas in new sizes and touting new foliage features seem to appear each year. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slug and deer.
Periwinkle
Glossy leaves, stellar blue flowers, quick coverage -- periwinkle is an ideal coverage for shade. Its only flaw is that it's so popular it's become underappreciated.Prepare the soil well prior to planting and add humus to retain moisture. Keep the plants cut back to encourage bushy growth, and to keep them within bounds. Periwinkle can become invasive.
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