By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)
Tall and stately foxglove plants (Digitalis purpurea) have long been included in garden areas where vertical interest and lovely flowers are desired. Foxglove flowers grow on stems which may reach 6 feet in height, depending on variety.
Foxglove flowers are clusters of tubular shaped blooms in colors of white, lavender, yellow, pink, red, and purple. Growing foxgloves thrive in full sun to partial shade to full shade, depending on the summer heat. They are hardy in gardening zones 4-10 and in the hottest areas prefer more midday and afternoon shade for optimum performance. The hotter the summers, the more shade the plant needs.
How to Grow Foxgloves
Foxglove plants grow best in rich, well draining soil. Caring for foxglove plants will include keeping the soil moist. As a biennial or short lived perennial, the gardener can encourage re-growth of foxglove flowers by not allowing the soil to dry out or to get too soggy.
Foxglove flowers may be grown from seed, producing blossoms in the second year. If flower heads are not removed, foxglove plants reseed themselves abundantly. Using them as cut flowers can decrease reseeding.
If flowers are allowed to drop seeds, thin the seedlings next year to about 18 inches apart, allowing growing foxgloves room to develop. If you want additional foxglove plants next year, leave the last flowers of the season to dry on the stalk and drop seeds for new growth.
The foxglove plant is grown commercially for distillation of the heart medication Digitalis. Caring for the foxglove plant should include keeping children and pets away, as all parts can be toxic when consumed. This may explain why deer and rabbits leave them alone. Hummingbirds are attracted by their nectar.
Varieties of Foxglove Flowers
Rusty foxgloves are the tallest variety of this specimen and may reach 6 feet, sometimes requiring staking. Foxy Hybrids foxglove reaches just two to three feet and may be an option for those growing foxgloves in small gardens. Sizes in between the two come from planting the common foxglove, which reaches 4 to 5 feet and hybrid types.
Now that you’ve learned how to grow foxglove flowers, include them in a safe, background area of the flower bed or garden to add the vertical beauty of foxglove blooms.