Foxglove- Digitalis purpurea, Common Foxglove

Foxglove, digitalis purpurea, is a traditional English garden plant. Find facts and information on growing foxglove to create a cottage garden of your own. Foxgloves are often used in borders and woodland gardens as well.

Foxglove Facts and Information

Foxglove is a biennial plant that grows in Zones 3-8. It reaches heights of 3-6’ and up to 24” wide with an upright growth pattern. Foxgloves prefer full sun to partial shade from the afternoon sun. Provide fertile, well-drained soil with pH of 5.5-7.0. Tall spikes of purple, pink, or white flowers appear in early summer. Plant in them in cottage gardens, a mixed perennial border, along fence rows, and in the bright woodland garden.


Foxglove Spikes

Companion plants for foxglove include: ‘Fire King’ yarrow, apothecary rose, ‘The Rocket’ ligularia, and ‘Stargazer’ Lily.

Foxglove Care

Plant foxglove at least 18” apart in spring or fall in fertile soil that is high in organic matter. After planting, water deeply and add 3” of mulch around, but not touching, the plants. Apply slow-release granular plant food at the time of planting or begin using water soluble plant food 3 weeks after planting in spring.

Water deeply whenever the soil becomes dry. Remove flower stalks after blooms have faded or leave erect long enough for seeds to drop if self-seeding is desired. If plants do not self-seed in the landscape, plan to replace them every year or two with container stock.

Foxglove Propagation

As mentioned, foxglove will self-seed in the landscape, but seeds can be started indoors. This is done by sprinkling seeds over the soil mix and leave them exposed to the light, do not cover. Thoroughly moisten and keep moist, not soggy, until seeds germinate. Germination occurs in 5-10 days after sowing. After germination, reduce the temperature to 55-60 degrees.

"Digitalis Purpurea"

Blooms of Digitalis Purpurea

Foxglove Pests and Diseases

Diseases often include Southern blight, anthracnose and fungal leaf spots.

Related Species (Foxglove)

The cultivar ‘Alba’ has white flowers, ‘Apricot’ has apricot flowers, Excelsior Hybrids come in pastel shades, and Foxy Hybrids have carmine, pink, cream, and white flower with flecks of maroon.

Yellow foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora) reaches 3-4’ tall and 24-36” wide and has pale yellow blooms with brown veins. Strawberry foxglove (Digitalis x mertonenis) is a perennial with strawberry pink blooms. It can be divided every 2-3 years to maintain its vigor. This variety will come true from seed.

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