Digitalis

Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis

Foxglove

  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: moist, humus-rich soil
  • Flowering period: May to July
  • Height: 1,5m
  • Foliage: semi-evergreen
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

Digitalis, also known as foxglove, is an undemanding plant for adding vertical accents to the garden. It is a short-lived perennial or a biennial.

Varieties

Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove) is a popular variety and is by nature a plant of woodland edges. This lovely foxglove produces imposing spikes of tubular rosy-purple or white flowers in May to July. It performs best in partial shade in moist, well-drained soil.

Pruning

How to deadhead Digitalis purpurea (foxglove). Cut back the main flower spike to the base of the plant after flowering to encourage a second flush of smaller flower spikes.

At the end of the growing season cut down all the flowered spikes to the ground. The rosettes of leaves are more or less evergreen. Remove damaged and old, brown foliage in March.

Digitalis White
Digitalis p. ‘Alba’                                  Digitalis purpurea forms a rosette of leaves

How to grow digitalis from seed

Digitalis purpurea self-seeds freely. If you want seedlings, don’t remove the faded flower spikes. Ripe seeds will scatter on the surrounding soil. Then new seedlings will emerge near the base of mature plants.

These will produce rosettes of leaves in the first year and usually flower in the second year. Keep in mind that all parts of the plant are poisonous.

Alternatively, dig the seedlings up when they are large enough to handle and pot them up individually. Then plant the young plants out in a suitable spot in the garden in the autumn or in the spring.

Plant combination

Foxglove looks fabulous on its own or combined with other plants such as Dicentra spectabilis, Alchemilla, Papaver orientale, and Alcea rosea.

Alcea
Alcea rosea

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