Digitalis or ‘FoxGlove Plants’
Foxglove plants (digitalis) are a tall growing perennial or biennial. The tall flowers of foxgloves have been a feature of garden borders for centuries.
Foxgloves flower in late spring through to summer with flower spikes of the foxglove reaching to 2m. Foxglove plants prefer a partly shaded position in a humus rich well drained soil.
Foxgloves may be grown from seedlings or from seed. Digitalis purpurea, colourful hybrids and Digitalis lanata are the major types for sale in Australia.
We suggest planting in clumps against a green shrub for a dramatic effect. Grown in large pots or containers they can also put on a magnificent display.
Care and Growing Notes
Being a a tall growing clump forming perennial plant Foxglove Plants are best suited to the middle of garden border. Best grown in a humus rich soil with some shade in the afternoon to protect from hot sun. Fertilize with blood and bone or a seaweed fertilizer in early spring.
The best time to plant foxgloves is in spring as soon as the soil begins to warm up, and as late as early summer if you provide some extra water. Plant seeds or seedling, flowering plants sold at nurseries look good but will not last long in most conditions.
Foxgloves are a very popular plant in cottage gardens and also do well in the perennial border. Good drainage is important to prevent rot.
Growing Foxgloves from seed
The main trick with growing foxgloves from seed is not to cover them with soil, they do need light to germinate. Plants will self seed, however many gardeners prefer to buy or collect seeds to guarantee a good flower display.
Simple foxglove seed raising steps
- use a flat tray or individual biogradeable pots
- sow thinly, or at least thin out the seedlings as they germinate to prevent them overcrowding (do not let the seedlings touch each other)
- use a good seed raising mix or light compost, gently press the seeds into the mix
- water overhead, using a gentle fine spay of water.
- seeds can be sown in autumn and over wintered in a cold frame, or sown in spring
- plant seedlings out in late winter as soon as the weather warms up or in spring
- YOU CAN SOW DIRECT. In spring sow directly and make sure the seeds are kept moist.
The common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a good start with flowers ranging from pale pink to purple. Hybrids available for sale have a wider range of colours from white through to almost red. Digitalis lanata is the grecian foxglove, creamy yellow flowers with strong markings, look for seed for this one.
Larger clumps of Foxglove plants can be divided in late winter just as new growth commences. Foxglove seeds can be planted into seedling trays in late winter to early autumn.
Are foxgloves poisonous to animals and children? The simple answer is yes they are. However so are most garden plants.
And the name, it comes from partly the shape of the flowers, like little gloves. And partly from mythology, they probably should be called ‘Folks Gloves’, ‘Little Folks Gloves’ or even Goblins Gloves if history has it correct, it’s all about folklore, Fairies, Goblins and Foxes. In France they are called ‘Lady’s Gloves’ (gant de notre dame)
Foxglove Plants are available from the following nurseries
PO Box 7040 Leura NSW 2780
Rare woodland plants, Trilliums Epimediums, Arisaemas, plus much more.www.lynnsrareplants.com.au
395 Lesters Rd Ascot VIC 3364 - phone (03) 53434303
Specialising in beautiful perennials & bulbs including new releases from Europe & USA. Many hardy, rare & difficult to find ‘drought hardy’ plants, quality vegetable & flower seeds.
52 Rodd St Canowindra NSW 2804
An online nursery specialising in drought and frost tolerant perennials and fragrant, edible and herbs.