An aristocrat from Spain with densely packed spikes of cylindrical small chocolate funnels above dark green coloured glossy leaves. The rich foliage has a sheen that sets these dramatic flower spikes off wonderfully. A plant that will stop viewers in their tracks and have them enquiring its identity.
Plants form rosettes of hairy lance shaped leaves in their first growing season. The second year it will send up large spikes with drooping bell shaped blooms. Digitalis are handsome and easy if watered well in dry weather, and look spectacular at the back of a border. The blooms are excellent as a cut flower and are extremely attractive to bees
Sowing: Sow directly outdoors in May to June or September to October
Sow seeds on the surface of a peaty soil. Do not cover or bury seeds as the seed needs light to germinate, just press seeds lightly into the earth. Keep seed in constant moisture (not wet) they will usually germinate in 2 to 4 weeks at around 20°C (68°F).
Sow in March to May, 10 to 12 weeks before last frost. Sow seed thinly in trays of compost and place in a cold frame or greenhouse. Once germination occurs keep in cooler conditions. Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays to grow on. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out once all risk of frost has gone. Transplant to the flowering position planting 30cm (12in) apart.
Sow in May to June or September to October directly in a well prepared bed. Sow very thinly in drills 30cm (12in) apart. Firm down. Keep the plants moist and free of weeds. Thin out the seedlings to 15cm (6in) apart when large enough to handle.
Foxglove plants establish and grow leaves in the first year. It will send up large spikes, then flower and produce seeds in the second. As a rule, they are hardy plants and can cope with any soil unless it is very wet or very dry. They are fairly disease resistant, although the leaves may suffer slightly from powdery mildew if the summer is hot and humid. If you cut the stalk down before it goes to seed, it will generally rebloom through August and, if you wish, you can reseed from the second showing.
Self-sown seedlings are best transplanted when the leaves are about 10cm long. Make sure the newly moved plants are watered very well to help them establish.
Cover the flowerspikes with paper bags to collect the seeds. When they have dried, shake them to remove the seed and scatter where you want them to grow.
Digitalis is a source of digitalin used in cardiac medicine, it slows the heart. The whole plant is toxic, no part is edible and if eaten it will cause severe discomfort, in a child or small animal it could cause death. Fortunately it tastes very bitter and causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Wear gloves when handling plants or seeds, plant only where children or animals will not have access.
Shade/Woodland Garden. Cottage/Informal Garden, Cut Flower Arranging, Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildflower Gardens or Wildlife Gardens
If foxgloves are grown near most plants they will stimulate growth and help to resist disease and if grown near apples, potatoes and tomatoes their storage qualities will he greatly improved. Foxgloves in a flower arrangement make all the other flowers last longer - if you do not want the actual flowers in the vase make some foxglove tea from the stems or blossoms and add to the water.
Folklore & Legend:
Foxglove - the name is said to derive from both the shape of the flowers resembling the fingers of a glove - 'folk’s glove' meaning belonging to the fairy folk. The flower meaning is “insincerity” as folklore tells that bad fairies gave the flowers to the fox to put on his feet to soften his steps whilst hunting.
The foxglove was believed to keep evil at bay if grown in the garden, but it was considered unlucky to bring the blooms inside. The commonest colour for the foxglove is pink, but you often see white blooms in the hedgerows.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 38mg Average Seed Count 100 Seeds Family Plantaginaceae Genus Digitalis Species parviflora Cultivar Milk Chocolate Common Name Foxglove Hardiness Hardy Biennial Flowers Chocolate in Late Spring to Mid Summer Foliage Mid Green Herbaceous (Velvet / Fuzzy) Height 60-90cm (24-36in) Spread 45-60cm (18-24in) Position Partial to Full Shade Soil Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Dry or Moist