Foxglove is a biennial or short-lived perennial originally native to western Europe, the Mediterranean region and the Canary Islands, where it grows wild in woodlands clearings, mountainsides and disturbed areas. Sometimes referred to as purple foxglove, lady’s glove or fairy bells, Foxglove is a popular ornamental plant in the garden. As it has naturalized in many regions outside of its native habitat, foxglove can be considered invasive in certain situations. Make sure to prepare a dedicated spot in your garden where they will remain contained or cut the stalks when the flowers start to fade so they don’t spread by seeds.
Foxgloves must be started indoors during the winter to flourish the first year. If started at a later date, the biennial plants, hardy to Canadian hardiness zones 5 to 9, will form a clumping rosette of long leaves on the first year and a 3- to 5-foot-tall spike will emerge in the second year. The bell-shaped blooms, usually about 2 inches wide, will open progressively along the cluster with sometimes up to 100 flowers per stem. Great at attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, foxgloves also make beautiful fresh-cut bouquets.
*Note that all parts of the plants and the seeds are toxic to animals and humans.
- Latin Name: Digitalis purpurea
- Life Cycle: Biennal
- Days to Maturity: Second-year maturity
- Planting Depth: Broadcast directly
- Plant Spacing: 30-40 cm
- Growth Habit: 90-150 cm tall
Foxglove produces towering stalks of drooping clusters of flowers. Impressive tube-like blooms are brightly coloured and spotted on the inside. Plants in the Digitalis family are typically biennials. They will form a rosette in the initial season and blossom in their second year. If maintained well for two years, foxgloves will easily reseed. Leave seeds to self-sow or collect them for future plantings.
Be aware that foxgloves are poisonous. Don’t let children or pets consume any part of the plant.
Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost. Moisten the soil, lightly scatter seeds and cover with a thin layer of soil. Provide the flats or pots with plenty of light and keep at a temperature of 15-20 degrees. Mist the soil consistently and seedlings should appear in 14-21 days. Keep the sprouts under bright light and thin them as needed. Seedlings should be gradually hardened off and transplanted outdoors when all danger of frost has passed.
Seeds can also be sown directly in the summer. Choose your planting site and broadcast seeds without covering. Make sure to give seeds enough time to grow and establish a root system before the winter sets in. Select a garden area that receives full sun in colder climates. In warm areas, some afternoon shade is preferable.
Soil should be high in organic matter and well-drained. Be sure to keep the soil moist, but not overly damp. Water at the base of the plant, never overhead. Mulch around the plants will help retain water and suppress weeds. Fertilizer isn’t usually required for foxgloves during the growing season. But if the soil is poor, add a slow-release fertilizer or incorporate some compost in the spring.
Deadheading early on after flowers have faded can lead to a second blooming period. Let a few spikes of flowers endure into the fall if you’d like to let them self seed in the garden.
Foxgloves will look best in the back of a garden bed because they tend to grow up to 150 cm and would otherwise shade shorter plants. Foxgloves should be spaced about 60 cm apart in maturity. Proper spacing will promote good air circulation and discourage fungal diseases. Stake plants early on as they start getting taller.
Gardeners with patience will be rewarded with stunning spikes of brilliant tubular blooms.
- Foxgloves look like gloves that fit the paws of foxes and other small animals.
- Foxglove seeds will remain viable for 2 years if stored in a cool, dark place, ideally between 4 and 10⁰C. After that, the germination rate may start to go down.
OUR SEED GUARANTEE
You know that a lush, fruitful garden needs good soil, frequent watering, and sunlight to grow, but it’s the seeds that really make the harvest.
Picked and bagged for 2023 the vast majority of our seeds have germination rates of over 85%. The seeds are all-natural, non-GMO, non-hybrid, untreated, and open-pollinated for seed saving.
We have put a lot of thoughts into the design and packaging of our seed packets. Our seeds are all carefully packed in food grade kraft paper/aluminium zipper lock bags, and then are shipped in eco-friendly padded mailers.
We heat-seal each of our seed packet for even more protection from moisture, odour and light, allowing you to store your seeds for up to 3x longer than paper or plastic. Plant them all, germinate some indoors, save some for next season - it’s up to you!