Foxgloves are short-lived perennials or biennials with funnel-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors. The plant, which ultimately grows 3 to 5 feet tall, produces a rosette of leaves during its first year followed by flowers the next year. Foxgloves grow well in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil that has been fertilized with organic material. Foxgloves can be propagated very easily with seeds, or you can buy them as plants. It is also possible to start new foxglove plants by root division.
Grow from Seeds
Foxgloves can be grown easily from seeds. Plant every year to guarantee vigorous blooms the following year. Sow the seeds in late summer or in fall before the first frost. The seeds can be sown indoors or outdoors in nursery beds, seedbeds or pots placed in a protected location. Once the seedlings emerge, transplant them to the desired spot in your garden. The germination of the seeds takes anywhere from 15 to 20 days at 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Handle the plants very carefully when transplanting them, and keep the soil evenly moist until they are well established. For best effect, place foxgloves 1 to 1 1/2 feet apart or plant them in large drifts.
Foxgloves are able to self-sow. Let a couple of the flower spikes set seed, then crumble the resulting pods over the area where you desire new plants. Once the seedlings have produced small leaf rosettes, you can move them to other locations. Plants that are grown from the self-sowing method are variables, so you won't have control over the color of the flowers. In order to gain specific flower colors, it is necessary to purchase the right seeds and propagate plants from them.
Foxgloves are easily propagated through root division. You can do this in early spring or fall by digging up batches of the plant, separating them at the roots and then replanting them.
Once foxgloves have been propagated and have started to grow, the plants require very little special care to thrive except for a deeper watering during very dry spells. The tall flower spikes are able to stay straight without any support or stakes. For healthier blooms, replace the plants after two years.
- “Taylor’s Guide to Growing North America’s Favorite Plants;” Barbara Ellis; 2000
- BackyardGardener.com: Digitalis - Foxgloves, Witches’ Thimbles
- Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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