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Digitalis thapsi 'Spanish Peaks'

Perennial Foxglove

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Digitalis thapsi 'Spanish Peaks'

Perennial Foxglove

Availability: In stock

Packet Size:100mg
Average Seed Count:1,500 Seeds


Digitalis thapsi 'Spanish Peaks' foxglove is a lovely smaller, compact foxglove, that produces elegant, tubular apricot-cream to raspberry-rose blooms with interior markings. A superb perennial species that can be counted on for a glorious floral show each spring and is often the first foxglove to flower.

Very easy to grow from seed, they can be started in early spring or can be sown directly where they are to flower in late summer. Removing spent flower stalks is about the only major maintenance that this plant needs. They can be removed as soon as flowering is done or after the seed is mature if seeding is desired, the capsules will naturally split open at maturity. New basal foliage will be produced and remain fresh the rest of the year. New plants are easily started from seed and it is useful to add new plants as back ups if existing plants die of old age. Plants will put up new growth after flowering and this basal foliage will persist until flowering next spring.

Native to Spain and Portugal, Digitalis thapsi resembles its close cousin the common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, with similar purple-pink flowers but differs in that Digitalis thapsi bloom spikes are about 60 to 70cm (2 to 2½ ft) tall whereas Digitalis purpurea rises to a height of between 120 to 180cm (4 to 6ft). Perhaps most importantly Digitalis thapsi is perennial whereas Digitalis purpurea is a true biennial.
Digitalis thapsi is in bloom for at least a month in mid-spring. Its bloom period is additionally valuable coming in the lull between spring's peak bloom and summer blooming perennials. It is very showy and blooms at a very welcome time in the garden.
Very easy to grow in virtually any location. Adapts to most soil types. Water thoroughly but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings. Protect from excessive winter moisture.

Sowing: Sow indoors: March to May or 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).

Sowing Indoors:
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.

Sowing Direct:
Sow in May to June or September to October directly in a well prepared seedbed. Sow seed very thinly in drills 30cm (12in) apart. Firm down gently. Keep the plants moist and free of weeds. Thin out the seedlings to 15cm (6in) apart when large enough to handle.

Most Foxgloves are biennial which means that plants establish and grow leaves in the first year, and will send up large spikes, then flower and produce seeds in the second. A few are perennial, and some are short lived perennials.
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 and, if you wish, you can reseed from the second showing.
Self-sown seedlings producing different shifting, untutored patterns of flowers each year, they can be easily transplanted to the location you want them to bloom. They are best transplanted when the leaves are about 10cm long. Make sure the newly moved plants are watered very well to help them establish.

Seed Saving:
Cover the flowerspikes with paper bags (such as those used by bakers to wrap baguettes) to collect the seeds. When the seedheads have dried, shake them to remove the seed and scatter them where you want them to grow.

Digitalis is a source of digitalin used in cardiac medicine, it slows the heart. The whole foxglove 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 irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth, actually causing pain and swelling. It also causes diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, so if it does get in, it soon comes out!
Because of these factors, it is not really a problem for wildlife, human or otherwise. However if you ever find a child who has been around this plant with symptoms of oral irritation, grab a stem or two and get to the emergency room! Wear gloves when handling plants or seeds, plant only where children or animals will not have access.

Plant Uses:
Shade/Woodland Garden. Cottage/Informal Garden, Cut Flower Arranging, Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildflower Gardens or Wildlife Gardens

Other Uses:
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.

Foxgloves originate from parts of Europe, Asia and north-west Africa. They come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes and range in height from 30cm (12in) tall to whoppers soaring above 7ft. There are 25 species and distinct geographic or varietal forms found throughout Central and Southern Europe.
Digitalis thapsi is an endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula, occurring in both Portugal and Spain. It grows in the mountains and rocky plains of the central and central-western parts of the Iberian Peninsula, especially in the Sistema Central and its extensions between the rivers of the Douro and Tagus.
It grows in acidic soils, on rocky ground and on slopes. It prefers sunny, open and disturbed places. It generally grows on soils derived from granite, but also sometimes on quartzite and schist. It grows at 500–1500 metres in altitude.
It is of commercial importance as an ornamental plant. It is not considered rare in a national or international perspective, but it has been classified as locally 'endangered' in the Regional Red List of Andalucía of 2005. The reason for this was that the different collection localities and populations in this region were fragmented and very small.

First described in the modern taxonomic system by Carl Linnaeus in 1763. The name Digitalis is a latinisation of the German name 'fingernut' from the Latin digitus meaning 'a finger'. The flower resembles the finger of a glove. The English name comes not from foxes, but from the phrase 'folks' gloves' because it was thought that the flowers were used as gloves by fairy folk. Another common name is 'Fairy Thimbles'.
Digitalis thapsi is often called the mullein foxglove after Verbascum thapsus, which is also known as Mullein. Mullein is said to be derived from a Middle English word, moleyne, also from the Latin mollis. Both words have the same meaning, ‘soft’, with reference to their soft leaves.
In many areas of Spain and Portugal populations of D. thapsi and D. purpurea meet, and introgression is common. This natural hybrid is now generally known as Digitalis × coutinhoi.

Folklore & Legend:
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 flower meaning is insincerity – Folklore tells that bad fairies gave the flowers to the fox to put on his feet to soften his steps whilst hunting.
It comes from an old myth that foxes must have used the flowers to magically sheath their paws as they stealthily made their nocturnal raids into the poultry yards of rural folk. The association is natural for the foxgloves grew on the wooded hillside slopes that foxes chose for their dens

Additional Information

Additional Information

Packet Size 100mg
Average Seed Count 1,500 Seeds
Seed Form Natural
Seeds per gram 150,000 seeds per gram
Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Digitalis
Species Digitalis thapsi
Cultivar Spanish Peaks
Common Name Perennial Foxglove
Other Common Names Mullien Foxglove, Flannel Leaf Foxglove
Hardiness Hardy Perennial
Hardy Hardy to minus10°C (14°F)
Flowers Tubular raspberry-rose blooms with interior spotting
Natural Flower Time Late spring to early summer
Foliage Green rosettes
Height 60 to 70cm (24 to 28in)
Spread 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in)
Position Prefers full sun to part shade
Soil Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Dry or Moist
Time to Sow Sow indoors: March to May
or sow directly outdoors in May to June or Sept to Oct
Germination 2 to 4 weeks at around 20°C (68°F).
Notes Resistant to: deer and rabbit

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