January 16


Expert advice for growing and caring for foxgloves: the beloved flowers of cottage gardens

Foxgloves care and growing guide – expert tips for these cottage garden favorites

Foxgloves have always been a favorite in cottage gardens. These beautiful perennials come in a variety of types and shades, making them a go-to choice for many gardeners. They are especially loved for their tall flower spikes that show off stunning blooms in shades of purple, pink, white, and yellow.

Experts say that foxgloves are easily grown from root cuttings or bought as small plants from a retail nursery. They are also self-seeding and can easily spread in the garden, so it’s important to keep an eye on them and prevent them from becoming invasive.

When planting foxgloves, it’s best to choose a spot with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. These plants prefer cool conditions and are often damaged by frost in winter. In colder zones, it’s a good idea to move them to a more protected spot or provide them with a layer of mulch for added insulation.

Foxgloves are excellent for adding height and color to the garden, especially when planted alongside other cottage garden favorites such as delphiniums and peas. They start producing their tall flower spikes in late spring and continue blooming for several months.

One of the most popular varieties of foxgloves is the Digitalis purpurea, which produces tiny flowers packed densely along the flower spike. Another favorite is the Digitalis valinii, which has smaller, tubular flowers that come in shades of pink and white.

If you’re a freelance gardener looking to add a touch of beauty to your client’s outdoor space, foxgloves are a must. They are easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any pests that may damage the plants or hinder their growth.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, foxgloves are a great choice for adding a touch of elegance to your garden. Their beautiful blooms and tall flower spikes will surely make a statement, while their low-maintenance nature will allow you to enjoy them without much hassle.

So, if you haven’t already, why not give foxgloves a try? You can easily start growing them from seed or buy young plants from a retail nursery. Just make sure to provide them with the right growing conditions, and they will reward you with their stunning beauty in no time.

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Foxglove key facts

  • Foxgloves are shade-loving plants that can also tolerate some light
  • They easily self-seed and can spread throughout the garden
  • They produce tall flower spikes in a range of colors including pink, purple, yellow, and white
  • Foxgloves are biennial plants that typically bloom in their second year
  • They are a favorite in cottage gardens and are often used as vertical accents
  • Foxgloves cannot tolerate direct sun and prefer a good amount of shade
  • They can be easily grown from seed or purchased as plug plants
  • Foxgloves are prolifically grown by garden societies and retail nurseries
  • The main growth period for foxgloves is late spring to early summer
  • They enjoy acidic soil and can tolerate partial shade
  • Foxgloves can spread and colonize areas of the garden if left unchecked
  • They are resistant to deer and rabbit damage
  • Some varieties, like Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’, have been bred to be more compact and less invasive
  • Foxgloves can be planted among ferns or other shade-loving plants for added interest
  • Harlequin foxglove (Digitalis purpurea ‘Sutton’s Apricot’) is a popular and colorful cultivar
  • The common foxglove species, Digitalis purpurea, has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries
  • They can be grown in containers and make a stunning specimen plant
  • Foxgloves can be damaged by heavy rain or strong winds, so it’s best to provide them with some shelter if necessary
  • Foxgloves are not true annuals or perennials, but rather short-lived perennials that often behave like biennials
  • The Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit has been given to several foxglove cultivars, including Digitalis purpurea ‘Sutton’s Apricot’
  • Foxgloves can be propagated by division or root cuttings
  • Many foxglove species, like Digitalis lutea and Digitalis grandiflora, are more resistant to pests and diseases compared to the common foxglove
  • Some foxglove species, like Digitalis valinii, produce yellow flowers
  • Foxgloves are toxic if ingested and should be kept away from children and pets
  • Seeds can be collected from mature foxglove plants and sown in trays to start new plants
  • Foxgloves have a long history in British gardening, with famous gardeners like Gertrude Jekyll and William Robinson being fans of the plant
  • There are many different foxglove cultivars available today, each with their own unique colors, growth habits, and characteristics
  • Foxgloves are a favorite of pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as hummingbirds

The different types of foxgloves

Foxgloves are a popular choice for cottage gardens, and with good reason. These beautiful plants, with their tall spikes of tubular flowers, add a touch of elegance and charm to any garden. There are several different types of foxgloves to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and growing requirements.

1. Digitalis purpurea

Also known as the common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea is the most well-known variety. It is a biennial plant, which means it completes its life cycle in two years. In the first year, it produces a rosette of leaves, and in the second year, it sends up tall flower spikes. This variety comes in a range of colors, including pink, white, and purple.

2. Digitalis grandiflora

Digitalis grandiflora, or the yellow foxglove, is a perennial variety that produces stunning yellow flowers. This variety is not as tall as Digitalis purpurea, but it is just as beautiful. It is also less common in gardens, making it a great choice if you want something a little more unique.

3. Digitalis ferruginea

Digitalis ferruginea, or the rusty foxglove, is another perennial variety. It has tall spikes of flowers that range from light yellow to orange. This variety is known for its resistance to pests and diseases, making it a good choice for gardeners who want a low-maintenance plant.

4. Digitalis mertonensis

Digitalis mertonensis, also known as the Foxglove ‘Sutton’s Apricot’, is a beautiful hybrid variety. It produces large, bell-shaped flowers in a soft apricot color. This variety is often grown as a specimen plant and looks stunning when planted in groups or as part of a mixed border.

5. Digitalis obscura

Digitalis obscura, or the Canary Island foxglove, is a perennial variety that is native to the Canary Islands. It has unusual tubular flowers with a maroon coloring and a long, protruding lower lip. This variety requires a warm and sheltered position in the garden.

These are just a few of the many different types of foxgloves available. Each variety has its own unique charm and can add beauty and elegance to any garden. Whether you prefer the classic look of Digitalis purpurea or the modern appeal of Digitalis grandiflora, there is a foxglove for every gardener.

Choosing the right foxglove for your flower garden

Foxgloves are popular cottage garden favorites that can add a touch of charm and color to your flower garden. With their tall spires of tubular flowers, they are known for attracting bees and birds, making them a great addition to an wildlife-friendly garden. But with so many different types and colors to choose from, how do you know which foxglove is right for your garden?

Consider the growing conditions

Foxgloves are best grown in moist, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. They prefer cooler conditions and are often grown as biennials, meaning they are sown one year and flower the next. However, some varieties, such as the perennial Digitalis grandiflora and Digitalis lutea, can be grown in a wider range of conditions, including dry spots and heavier clay soils.

Choose the right type

There are several different types of foxgloves to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. The most common type is the Digitalis purpurea, which has tall spires of bell-shaped flowers in shades of purple, pink, white, or yellow. Another popular type is the Digitalis grandiflora, which has larger flowers than the Digitalis purpurea. The Digitalis lutea is a smaller variety with yellow flowers. You can also find foxgloves with bi-color flowers or speckled petals, adding even more color and interest to your garden.

Consider the height

Foxgloves can grow anywhere from 2 to 6 feet tall, so consider the height of your other flowers when choosing a foxglove variety. Taller varieties, such as Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis grandiflora, are best suited to the back of a flower border or in an area where they can provide a vertical element. Smaller varieties, such as Digitalis lutea, can be used towards the front of a border or in containers, where their delicate flowers can be appreciated up close.

Consider the latest trends

If you’re a fan of the latest garden trends, there are some new varieties of foxgloves that you might want to consider. For example, some breeders have developed foxgloves with more compact habits, making them ideal for smaller gardens or containers. There are also foxgloves with extra-large flowers or unique color combinations that are sure to stand out in your garden. Keep an eye out for these new varieties in plant nurseries or online retailers.

Consider the longevity

While foxgloves are typically grown as biennials, meaning they will only flower for one year before setting seed and dying, there are some types that can be longer-lived. The perennial varieties, like Digitalis grandiflora and Digitalis lutea, can return year after year if given the right growing conditions. If you prefer a plant that will come back year after year, be sure to choose one of these perennial foxgloves.


Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, foxgloves are a fantastic addition to any flower garden. With their vibrant colors, tall spires, and wildlife-friendly qualities, they are sure to become one of your garden favorites. By considering the growing conditions, type, height, latest trends, and longevity of the different foxglove varieties, you can choose the perfect foxglove for your garden and enjoy their beauty year after year.

When and where to plant foxgloves

Foxgloves are prolifically grown in many parts of the world, and they are a favorite among cottage garden enthusiasts. If you’re considering adding these beautiful flowers to your garden, here’s some information on when and where to plant them.


Foxgloves are biennials, which means they have a two-year life cycle. In the first year, they produce only leaves. It is in the second year that they send up tall flowering spikes. To ensure a continuous display of foxgloves, it’s recommended to sow seeds or plant seedlings in both spring and autumn.


Foxgloves prefer spots that receive partial shade, although they can tolerate full sun and even some light shade. You can plant them in areas with well-drained soil, as excessive moisture can cause their roots to rot. It’s important to note that foxgloves are not suitable for extremely dry conditions.

Soil Preparation

Before planting foxgloves, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or grass and loosening it to a depth of about 12-18 inches. Adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can improve the soil’s quality and drainage.



When planting foxgloves, make sure to space them about 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper airflow and to avoid crowding. You can start them indoors from seed or buy seedlings from a retail nursery. Once they reach a suitable size, carefully transplant them into your prepared garden bed.

Care Tips

  • Water your foxgloves regularly, especially during dry spells, but avoid overwatering to prevent root rot.
  • Support the tall flower spikes, if necessary, by using stakes or twine to prevent them from falling over.
  • Deadhead the faded flowers to encourage continuous blooming.
  • Collect the seeds from mature plants, if desired, but be aware that foxgloves can self-seed and may become invasive if not managed properly.

Foxgloves come in various colors, including shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow. Some popular types include the Digitalis purpurea, Digitalis lutea, and Digitalis grandiflora.

By following these tips, you can easily grow foxgloves and enjoy their vertical splendor in your garden. Whether planted as individual specimens or in mass displays, foxgloves are sure to add charm and color to your outdoor space.

How to grow foxgloves from seed

Growing foxgloves from seed is a wonderful and easy way to enjoy these colorful cottage garden favorites in your own garden. Foxgloves (scientific name: Digitalis purpurea) are biennial plants that are highly resistant to pests and diseases, making them a popular choice for many gardeners.

When to sow foxglove seeds

Foxglove seeds should be sown in late spring or early summer in order to ensure good growth and flowering in the following year. Sometime between May and July is generally the best time to sow foxglove seeds.

How to sow foxglove seeds

Foxglove seeds can be sown directly into the ground or in seed trays. If sowing directly, choose a spot in your garden with well-drained soil and partial shade. Foxgloves can tolerate full sun but will benefit from some shade, especially in hotter climates.

Prepare the soil by removing any weeds and loosening it with a garden fork. Then, scatter the foxglove seeds on the soil surface and lightly press them into the soil. Foxglove seeds are very small and should not be covered with more than a thin layer of soil.

Watering and care for foxglove seedlings

After sowing the seeds, make sure to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Foxglove seedlings are delicate and can easily be damaged by overwatering or drought. Watering the seedlings from below using a tray or saucer can help prevent waterlogged soil and damping-off disease.

Transplanting foxglove seedlings

When the foxglove seedlings are large enough to handle and have developed their second set of leaves, they can be transplanted into their final growing positions. This is typically done in late summer or early fall.

Choose a spot in your garden that receives partial shade and has well-drained soil. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of the seedling and gently place it in the hole. Backfill the hole with soil and firm it gently around the base of the plant.

Caring for mature foxgloves

Mature foxgloves are fairly low-maintenance plants but will benefit from some care to ensure optimal growth and flowering. Foxgloves should be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Remove any spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent the plant from going to seed too early. Foxgloves are prolific self-seeders, so removing spent flowers can help prevent them from spreading too much.

Deadhead foxgloves as soon as the flowers have shed to encourage a second flush of blooms later in the season. Be aware that foxgloves are poisonous if ingested, so handle them with care.

In conclusion, growing foxgloves from seed is a rewarding and easy process that can yield beautiful, vertical flower spikes in your garden. By following the expert tips mentioned above and providing the right conditions, you can enjoy these cottage garden favorites without any problems.

Growing foxgloves in containers

Foxgloves are beautiful perennial plants that are native to western and southern Europe. They are commonly found in cottage gardens and are popular among retail nurseries. Foxgloves are resistant to most pests and diseases, making them a low-maintenance option for gardeners.

While foxgloves are typically grown in gardens, they can also be successfully grown in containers. This is especially useful for gardeners with limited space or for those who want to create a specific display with their foxgloves.

Choosing the right container

When growing foxgloves in containers, it is important to choose the right size and type of container. Foxgloves have long tap roots, so a deep container is essential. A container with a diameter of at least 12 inches and a depth of 18 inches is recommended. Additionally, ensure that the container has good drainage to prevent waterlogging.

Selecting the right soil

Foxgloves prefer well-drained soil, so it is important to use a high-quality potting mix that provides good drainage. You can also add perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage. Additionally, foxgloves benefit from a slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.

Sowing and planting

Sow foxglove seeds in trays or pots, around five to six weeks before the last frost. Cover the seeds lightly with compost and keep them in a warm and sunny location. Once the seedlings have grown their true leaves, transplant them into individual containers.

When planting foxgloves in containers, it is important to place each plant at least six inches apart to allow for proper root development and airflow. Fill the container with the prepared potting mix and then carefully place the plants into the soil. Gently firm the soil around the plants, ensuring that the crown is at the same level as the soil surface.

Care and maintenance

Care and maintenance

Water the plants regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as this can cause root rot. Foxgloves also benefit from regular feeding. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season.

Deadhead foxgloves regularly to encourage continuous blooming. This involves removing spent flowers to promote new flower production. After the first flowering, foxgloves can be cut back to encourage a second round of blooms later in the season.


In colder climates, foxgloves grown in containers may need special attention during winter. Move the containers to a sheltered location, such as a garage or shed, to protect them from frost. Provide some insulation for the pots, such as wrapping them in bubble wrap or burlap. Keep the soil slightly moist but not wet, and reduce watering frequency during winter.

Growing foxgloves in containers can be a wonderful way to enjoy these cottage garden favorites even in small spaces or gardens with poor soil drainage. With proper care and maintenance, your container-grown foxgloves can thrive and provide a stunning display of tall and colorful flowers.

Foxglove care tips

Foxgloves are beautiful and delicate flowers that are commonly found in cottage gardens. They come in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, purple, yellow, and white. These wonderful flowers are thought to have originated from the cooler regions of England.

Planting and growing

When planting foxgloves, it is important to choose a location that receives partial shade. They can tolerate full sun, but they will perform best in areas that have some shade during the hottest parts of the day. Foxgloves prefer well-drained soil, so if your soil is heavy or compacted, it may be beneficial to create raised beds or improve the drainage in your planting area.

Foxgloves are usually grown from seed, which can be sown directly into the garden in the spring or started indoors in late winter. Foxglove seeds are prolifically produced by the plants and can sometimes self-seed, resulting in surprise blooms in unexpected spots in the garden.

Care and maintenance

Foxgloves require minimal care once established. They are relatively low-maintenance plants and are resistant to most pests and diseases. However, they can be prone to powdery mildew if they are grown in shady, humid conditions. To prevent this, make sure to provide adequate air circulation and avoid watering the foliage.

It is important to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged, especially during dry spells. Mulching around the base of the plants can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Deadheading and propagation

Removing spent flowers, or deadheading, can prolong the flowering period of foxgloves. Simply cut off the flower stalks as soon as the blooms begin to fade. This will encourage the plant to produce more flowers and prevent it from going to seed too quickly.

If you want to propagate more foxgloves, you can collect the seeds from the spent flower stalks. Allow the seed pods to dry on the plant before collecting the seeds. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to sow them in the spring.

Additional tips

Additional tips

  • Foxgloves can attract birds, bees, and other pollinators to your garden.
  • They can add vertical interest to your garden beds and borders.
  • Some common foxglove varieties include ‘Foxy’, ‘Excelsior’, and ‘Digitalis purpurea’.
  • Monty Don and Graham Rice are experts in growing foxgloves.
  • Foxglove flowers have a distinctive throat and a tiny heart-shaped pattern inside.

Overall, foxgloves are a favorite of many gardeners. Their beautiful blooms and lush foliage add color and texture to the garden, and their vertical growth habit makes them a standout among other plants. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, these tips and information from experts will ensure that you can enjoy a stunning show of foxgloves in your own garden.

How to make more foxgloves for free

Raised beds are a great way to start your foxgloves from seed, according to expert gardeners. In order to ensure successful growth, it is important to choose a well-drained location with plenty of light.

Many gardeners plant foxgloves as biennials, meaning they will flower in the second year. However, if you want to see those wonderful blooms sooner, you can also grow them as annuals.

To start foxgloves from seed, experts recommend sowing them in late summer or early autumn. The tiny seeds should be sown on the surface of the soil and lightly pressed in.

One common variety, Digitalis purpurea, can be quite invasive if left to self-seed. To prevent this, experts suggest removing the spent flowers before they produce seed.

Another foxglove variety called Digitalis obscura, also known as the Canary Island foxglove or D. valinii, is a short-lived perennial that can be grown as an annual. This type is more compact and great for smaller gardens or containers.

If you want your foxgloves to spread in your garden without becoming invasive, experts recommend planting them in well-drained soil with good airflow.

To make the most out of your foxgloves, you can propagate them through root cuttings. Dig up a mature plant in late winter or early spring and divide the root into small pieces. These can be potted up individually to create new plants.

If you have a sunny spot in your garden, foxgloves grow well alongside other cottage garden favorites like roses and Peonies. Their tall spires make a beautiful backdrop for these flowering plants.

Foxgloves are also a favorite of wildlife, especially bees and butterflies. The flowers’ tubular shape and bright color attract these pollinators, making them a valuable addition to any garden.

Graham Rice, an expert gardener and author, suggests that foxgloves can be sent to a second flush of growth if the leaves are cut back after the first bloom. This will encourage the plants to produce more flowers later in the season.

When buying foxgloves, look for healthy plants with no signs of disease or pest damage. The leaves should be packed with color and the roots resistant to being pulled out.

So whether you choose to start foxgloves from seed, propagate them through root cuttings, or buy them as mature plants, these stunning flowers will add beauty and charm to your garden.

Foxglove problems and how to solve them

If you’re growing foxgloves in your garden, it’s important to be aware of some common problems that can arise and how to solve them. Foxgloves are beautiful cottage garden favorites, but they can sometimes encounter issues that may affect their growth and overall health.

1. Pests and diseases

Foxgloves can be susceptible to pests such as aphids and slugs. To protect your plants, it’s important to regularly inspect them and take appropriate action if you notice any signs of infestation. You can use organic pest control methods or insecticidal soap to get rid of aphids, and beer traps or copper tape to discourage slugs.

As for diseases, foxgloves may be prone to powdery mildew, which can appear as a grayish-white powdery coating on the leaves. To prevent powdery mildew, ensure good air circulation by spacing the plants properly. If your plants do develop powdery mildew, you can remove affected leaves or use a fungicide spray to control the spread.

2. Soil quality and drainage

2. Soil quality and drainage

Foxgloves prefer well-draining soil. If your soil is heavy and retains too much water, it can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. To improve drainage, you can incorporate organic matter such as compost into the soil. Additionally, avoid overwatering your foxgloves and ensure they are planted in a location with good drainage.

3. Lack of sunlight

While foxgloves can tolerate some shade, they generally thrive in full sun or partial shade. If your foxgloves are not receiving enough sunlight, they may become leggy and produce fewer flowers. Make sure to plant them in a sunny spot or provide them with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

4. Re-seeding and invasive tendencies

Foxgloves are biennial plants, which means they typically live for two years. However, they can also self-seed and become invasive in some areas. To prevent excessive re-seeding, you can deadhead the flowers after blooming to remove the seed pods. Alternatively, you can collect the seeds and store them for later use or share them with other gardeners.

If you’re concerned about invasive foxgloves in your area, consider growing sterile hybrid varieties or other non-invasive alternatives.

5. Winter care

In colder regions, foxgloves may not survive the winter as they are typically grown as perennials. To protect them from frost, you can mulch around the base of the plants with a layer of organic matter, such as straw or leaves. This will help insulate the roots and provide some protection against freezing temperatures.

If you live in an area where foxgloves are not winter hardy, you can treat them as annuals and replant them each year. Alternatively, you can start foxglove seeds indoors in trays and then transplant the seedlings outdoors once the threat of frost has passed.

In summary, foxgloves are generally easy to care for and make excellent additions to cottage gardens. By being aware of these common problems and knowing how to solve them, you can ensure that your foxgloves thrive and provide a colorful spectacle in your garden.

Do foxgloves come back every year

Foxgloves, with their tall spikes of bell-shaped flowers, are a wonderful addition to any cottage garden. They are biennial plants, which means they have a two-year life cycle. In the first year, the foxglove plant forms a rosette of leaves close to the ground. In the second year, it sends up a tall flower spike from the center of the rosette.

While foxgloves are biennials, they often behave like short-lived perennials. The older plants tend to die off after flowering, but they can produce new rosettes from their base, allowing them to come back the next year. However, it is important to note that not all foxgloves will return each year, and some may only come back sporadically.

If you want to ensure that foxgloves come back year after year in your garden, you can try a few different methods. Monty Don, an expert gardener, suggests using canes to prop up the flower spikes as they age. This will help the plant look more attractive and also prevent it from producing seeds too early, which can weaken the plant’s ability to come back.

Another approach is to collect and sow the seeds that the foxgloves produce. This can be done either by allowing the seeds to scatter naturally or by collecting them and planting them in your desired location. Keep in mind that foxgloves usually self-sow in the garden, so you may need to remove any unwanted seedlings to maintain control over where they grow.

Foxgloves can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions, but they do best in well-drained soil in partial shade. They can also tolerate full sun, but they may require extra watering in hot summer months.

One common mistake when it comes to growing foxgloves is planting them in soil that is too rich or packed with organic matter. These plants prefer soil that is on the lean side, so avoid using compost or other heavily fertilized materials when planting.

In colder zones, foxgloves may be grown as annuals, as they are not reliably winter hardy in these areas. However, in milder climates, they can be a mainstay of the garden and return year after year with minimal care.

Foxgloves not only add vertical interest and a pop of color to the garden, but they are also attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Their tubular flowers are particularly favored by long-tongued bees, while birds enjoy feasting on their seeds. However, it is important to note that all parts of the foxglove plant are toxic to humans and many animals, so care must be taken to keep them away from children and pets.

In conclusion, foxgloves can come back every year, but it is not guaranteed. By taking care of the plants as they age, collecting and sowing seeds, and providing the right growing conditions, you can increase the chances of enjoying these beautiful flowers in your garden for years to come.

Do foxgloves spread easily

Foxgloves are beautiful and beloved cottage garden favorites that can add a touch of elegance to any landscape. While they do self-seed quite readily, they are not invasive and are generally easy to control.


Foxgloves have a natural tendency to self-seed. After the first year, they will produce many small seedlings that can spread throughout the garden, especially in beds where the flowers are allowed to go to seed. This can be a good thing, as it means you will have a good show of foxgloves for years to come without the need to replant.

Managing self-seeding

Although foxgloves can self-seed prolifically, it is easy to manage their spread. The key is to deadhead the flowers once they have faded and before they have a chance to produce seeds. This will prevent the seedlings from popping up in unwanted areas.

If you do want to encourage self-seeding, you can let a few flowers go to seed and then collect the seed pods in late summer or fall. These can then be carefully sown in the desired areas in spring, ensuring a new crop of foxgloves for the following year.

Preferred growing conditions

Foxgloves are biennials, which means they have a two-year life cycle. In the first year, they produce a rosette of green leaves, and in the second year, they send up tall flower spikes. Foxgloves prefer moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate some shade, although they will do best in sunny locations. They are hardy in most of England, but may need some winter protection or mulching in colder areas.

Most popular varieties

Foxgloves come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Some of the most popular varieties include:

  • Foxglove ‘Apricot’
  • Foxglove ‘Camelot’
  • Foxglove ‘Excelsior’
  • Foxglove ‘Pam’s Choice’

These varieties have excellent color and quality, and are particularly good for making a statement in the garden.

Expert tip

Graham Rice, a well-known gardening expert, says that the best way to ensure a good display of foxgloves is to sow them in early summer. He recommends sowing the seeds outdoors in a well-prepared seedbed and then transplanting the seedlings to their final positions in autumn or early spring.

In terms of maintenance, Monty Don, another gardening expert, suggests cutting back the flower spikes after they have finished blooming to prevent self-seeding. He also advises dividing older plants every three to four years to keep them vigorous and prevent overcrowding.

So, while foxgloves do spread easily through self-seeding, they are relatively easy to manage. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy their colorful blooms in your garden for many years to come.

Are there any foxgloves that will flower the same year that I start the seed

When it comes to growing foxgloves from seed, it is important to note that most varieties are biennials, which means they will not flower in the first year. However, there are a few foxglove varieties that can bloom the same year that the seed is started.

One such variety is the ‘Foxy’ series, which includes ‘Foxy’, ‘Foxy Mix’, and ‘Foxy Hybrids’. These foxgloves have been bred to flower in their first year, providing gardeners with beautiful blooms earlier than traditional biennial varieties.

Another option is the variety called ‘Excelsior Hybrid’, which is a perennial foxglove. This means that it will flower in the first year and continue to flower year after year. It is important to note that ‘Excelsior Hybrid’ may not be as long-lived as other perennial foxgloves, but it can still provide colorful blooms in the first year.

When starting foxglove seeds, it is important to provide them with the right conditions for germination. This includes keeping them in a cooler environment, such as under 60°F (15°C), and ensuring they are well watered. It is also important to use a well-draining soil mix and to sow the seeds thinly to prevent overcrowding.

If you are looking to start foxglove seeds indoors, you can use containers such as seed trays or small pots. Once the seeds have germinated, you can transplant the seedlings into larger containers or outdoor beds.

It is worth noting that some foxglove varieties can be grown as annuals, especially in colder climates. These varieties, such as the ‘Camelot’ series and the ‘Dalmatian’ series, are known for their prolific flowering and can be enjoyed as colorful additions to the garden for one season.

If you have bought foxglove plants from a retail or online source, be sure to follow the instructions provided to ensure their success. Some plants may have been grown using special techniques to encourage early flowering, such as cold stratification or starting the seeds weeks or months before they are available for retail sale.

For the best results and a greater chance of flowers in the first year, it is recommended to start foxglove seeds in late summer or early fall, as this will mimic natural germination conditions. By sowing the seeds at this time, the plants will have time to establish a strong root system before the winter, which will help them survive and bloom in the following year.

In conclusion, while most foxglove varieties are biennials and will not flower in the first year from seed, there are a few exceptions. The ‘Foxy’ series and the ‘Excelsior Hybrid’ foxgloves are two options that can provide beautiful blooms in the same year that the seed is started. By following proper germination techniques and choosing the right varieties, gardeners can enjoy the beauty of foxgloves much sooner.

Are foxgloves poisonous

Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) are commonly found in gardens and are known for their tall spires of tubular flowers in various colors, including shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow. While these cottage garden favorites add a pop of color to any landscape, it’s important to be aware that they are highly toxic if ingested.

The toxicity of foxgloves comes from the presence of cardiac glycosides, which can cause serious harm to humans and animals. The entire plant, including leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds, is poisonous.

Without proper care, foxgloves can be easily damaged by pests and diseases. They are susceptible to aphids, slugs, and snails, which can feed on the foliage and leave holes or chewed edges. To prevent pest infestations, regular inspection and control measures are necessary.

When it comes to growing foxgloves, they can be sown directly in well-drained soil or started indoors in trays and later transplanted. Foxgloves are biennials or short-lived perennials, meaning they typically flower in their second year and then shed their seeds for the next generation. However, some varieties, such as D. purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’, are easily grown as annuals.

According to expert gardener Leigh Baker from England, foxgloves are best sown in late spring for flowering in the following year. The seeds should be sown thinly and lightly covered with soil or vermiculite. To maintain moisture, the trays can be placed in a plastic bag or covered with a plastic lid until germination occurs.

In winter, foxgloves need protection from frost. They can be packed with straw or surrounded by evergreen branches for insulation. Mulching can also help protect the roots and prevent weed growth.

Although most foxgloves have purple flowers, there are other varieties available, such as ‘Alba’ with white flowers, ‘Dalmatian Peach’ with peach-colored flowers, and ‘Camelot Rose’ with pink flowers. The experts advise growing a mix of different varieties to enjoy a range of colors in the garden.

If you are concerned about the poisonous nature of foxgloves, it’s best to keep them out of reach of children and pets. Gardening gloves should be worn when handling foxgloves to prevent any skin irritation.

It’s worth noting that foxgloves have been used medicinally for centuries. The plant contains the active ingredient digitalis, which has been used in heart medications to treat various heart conditions. However, it’s important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before using foxglove for any medicinal purposes.

In conclusion, foxgloves are a wonderful addition to any cottage garden due to their tall spires, beautiful flowers, and various color options. However, they should be handled with care and caution due to their toxic nature. By following proper gardening practices and taking necessary precautions, you can safely enjoy these stunning flowers in your garden.

Are foxgloves deer resistant

Deer can be a common problem for gardeners, especially when it comes to delicate and attractive plants like foxgloves. However, when it comes to deer resistance, foxgloves are considered to be a good option.

According to expert gardener Monty Don, foxgloves are not a favorite food of deer. While deer may occasionally nibble on the lower leaves of the plant, they typically leave the rest of the plant alone. Monty says that deer are more likely to go for plants with softer foliage or those that have a high water content. So, although foxgloves are not completely deer-proof, they are not as appealing to deer as other plants.

In addition to their resistance to deer, foxgloves also have other qualities that make them a popular choice for gardens. They are versatile plants that can be grown in a wide range of conditions. They can grow well in full sun or partial shade, and they can even tolerate some drought. However, it is important to ensure that they have well-drained soil to prevent waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot.

Foxgloves are also known for their vertical growth, which can create a beautiful backdrop in the garden. Their tall flower spikes can reach up to 5 feet in height, adding height and color to flower beds and borders. They come in a variety of colors, including shades of purple, pink, white, and yellow, allowing gardeners to choose the color that best complements their garden design.

When it comes to growing foxgloves, the best time to start is in the spring. Foxglove seeds can be sown directly into the garden, or they can be started indoors in trays or pots and then transplanted outdoors. They typically take about two weeks to germinate, and then they can be moved to their final growing location.

Once established, foxgloves are relatively easy to care for. They will need to be watered regularly, especially during dry periods, to ensure that the soil stays moist. It is also important to remove any dead or brown foliage to promote new growth and prevent the spread of disease.

In terms of maintenance, foxgloves are considered to be self-seeding plants. Once the flowers have bloomed and the seeds have matured, they will drop to the ground and start to grow new plants. If you want to prevent your foxgloves from becoming invasive, you can cut off the flower spikes before they have a chance to seed. This will help to control their spread and keep them in check.

In conclusion, while foxgloves may not be completely deer resistant, they are not a preferred food for deer. They have a range of qualities that make them a great addition to any garden, including their vertical growth, variety of colors, and ease of care. So, if you are looking for a beautiful and low-maintenance plant for your garden, foxgloves are definitely worth considering.

Are foxgloves invasive

  • Foxgloves are not considered invasive plants, but they can self-seed and spread in the garden under certain conditions.
  • If you have bought foxgloves from a reputable source, they are unlikely to become invasive. It is important to stay away from wild foxgloves, as they can cause damage to your garden and potentially harm surrounding ecosystems.

When planting foxgloves, make sure to prepare the soil properly. Mix in compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil quality and drainage. Foxgloves prefer a well-drained soil and will not tolerate waterlogged conditions.

These colorful cottage garden favorites are loved by bees and other pollinators, which makes them a valuable addition to any garden. If you are an expert gardener or just starting out, foxgloves are relatively easy to grow and care for.

Most foxgloves are biennials, meaning they complete their life cycle over two years. They start as seeds and develop into small plants in the first year. In the second year, they produce tall flower spikes with tiny flowers in their throat.

It is recommended to sow foxglove seeds in late summer or early autumn to give them time to develop before the cooler months. You can also sow them in late winter or early spring, but they may not flower until the following year.

If you cannot wait for your foxgloves to flower, you can buy established plants from nurseries or garden centers. There are many varieties available, including the popular ‘Foxy’ and ‘Excelsior’ series, which produce a range of colors.

In England, the Royal Horticultural Society has developed the Foxglove ‘Camelot’ series, which is known for its high-quality plants with strong flower spikes. Monty Valinii, a freelance garden writer, has also developed his own variety called ‘Monty’s Foxgloves’.

Foxgloves can be grown in beds and borders, as well as in containers for small gardens or outdoor spaces. When planting in beds, space the plants about a foot apart to allow for adequate airflow and prevent diseases.

If you are growing tall varieties, it is recommended to stake them with canes and twine to prevent them from falling over. This is especially important in windy spots. Foxgloves can also be planted directly into the ground or in raised beds.

Remember to keep your foxgloves watered, especially during dry spells. Water them at the base to avoid wetting the leaves, as this can lead to fungal diseases. Foxgloves prefer moist soil, but overwatering can cause root rot.

In conclusion, foxgloves are not considered invasive plants, but they can self-seed and spread in favorable conditions. With proper care and attention, these beautiful flowering plants can make a stunning addition to any garden.

How and where to buy foxgloves

When it comes to buying foxgloves, there are a few options to consider. Whether you’re looking to prevent your foxgloves from getting too tall, or you want to enjoy the vibrant colors of these cottage garden favorites, here’s what you need to know:

1. Purchasing foxgloves in spring

Spring is the best time to buy foxglove plants, as they are typically available in garden centers and nurseries. Look for varieties such as Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove) or D. grandiflora (yellow foxglove), which are the older, more traditional types.

It’s important to note that foxgloves are quite hardy and can withstand frost, so planting them in early spring usually produces better results than waiting until later in the season.

2. Buying foxgloves online

If you can’t find the foxglove varieties you want at your local garden center, or you prefer the convenience of online shopping, there are plenty of reputable online nurseries and seed suppliers where you can order foxgloves direct to your doorstep. They offer a wide range of options, from traditional varieties like Digitalis purpurea to modern hybrids developed for larger flowers and improved disease resistance.

When ordering online, be sure to read reviews and check the retailer’s shipping and return policies to ensure you’re getting high-quality plants and seeds.

3. Growing foxgloves from seed

3. Growing foxgloves from seed

If you’re up for a challenge and want to start growing foxgloves from seed, you can buy packets of foxglove seeds from gardening centers, nurseries, or online suppliers. This is a cost-effective way to grow a large number of plants for your garden.

Simply sow the seeds indoors in late winter or early spring, and when the seedlings are big enough, transplant them to individual pots or plug trays. Once the danger of frost has passed, the seedlings can be planted outdoors in well-prepared beds or containers.

4. Propagating foxgloves from established plants

Another way to get more foxgloves for your garden is by propagating them from established plants. This can be done by division or taking basal cuttings.

To divide foxgloves, simply dig up the clump in early spring or late summer, and carefully separate the individual plants. Replant them in well-prepared soil, and water regularly until they establish.

Basal cuttings can be taken in early spring when new growth is just starting. Cut away the tiny leaves and plant the cuttings in a mixture of compost and grit. Keep them watered and in a shady spot until they develop roots.

5. Visiting specialist nurseries and gardens

For the avid foxglove enthusiast, visiting specialist nurseries and gardens that specialize in foxgloves is a great way to explore the wide variety of foxglove specimens available. These nurseries often have a carefully curated selection of foxglove plants, including rare or hard-to-find varieties.

No matter where you decide to buy your foxgloves, ensure they are planted in a location that provides the right conditions for growth. Foxgloves prefer partial shade to full sun, and they need well-drained soil that is kept consistently moist.

Remember to water your foxgloves regularly, especially during dry periods, and provide support such as canes or stakes to prevent them from toppling over under the weight of their tall flower spikes.

By following these tips, you can enjoy beautiful foxgloves in your garden all summer long. So start shopping or planning your propagation methods and look forward to a show of foxglove blooms that will make Mary Mary quite contrary shed her garden peas with envy!


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