How to Grow Foxgloves

Tips for growing and caring for Foxgloves

Foxgloves are popular cottage garden flowers that look great growing along borders or at the back of a garden bed with smaller flowers in front.

Growing Foxgloves is easy, even for beginner gardeners and with these simple tips you’ll be able to have gorgeous Foxglove flowers growing in your garden.

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Foxglove flowers

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is native to Europe, parts of Asia and North-western Africa. [1]

Foxgloves bloom in mid-summer and the flowers are clusters of tube shaped blooms in colors of pink, red, yellow, white and purple. 

Most varieties are biennials that only live for two years, but some varieties can survive as perennials.

Important note: Foxglove plants are poisonous so they’re not suitable if you have pets or small children in your yard.

It’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with Foxgloves as the foliage can irritate the skin and eyes.

HOW TO GROW FOXGLOVES

Best Soil for Foxgloves

Foxgloves grow well in acidic, well-draining soil, but they can also survive in heavy clay soil with some good quality compost dug into the top layers of soil.

How much sunlight do Foxgloves need?

Foxgloves can grow in full sun in cooler areas but in warm climates they’ll need some shade from the hot afternoon sun.

How tall do Foxgloves grow?

Foxgloves can range in height from 2 – 6 feet (60 – 180 cm), depending on the variety.

How much space is needed between plants?

Each plant should have at least 1 feet (30 cm) space in all directions as they spread out a lot. Taller varieties may need staking to protect them in high winds.

Foxglove flowers

Growing Foxglove seeds

When planting foxglove seeds, lightly press the seeds into the soil but don’t cover them because they need light to germinate.

The seeds can be sown directly into the ground or started indoors and transferred to the garden later.

Foxglove seeds usually germinate in 20 – 30 days. [2]

Foxglove plants reseed easily, so if you want more foxglove flowers in the same spot just give the flower spike a shake to release the seeds.

If you’d like to grow foxgloves in another area of the garden, cut the flower spike off once it’s gone to seed and carefully carry it to the new spot and shake the seeds on top of the soil.

Foxgloves grown from seed will produce flowers in the second year.

Perennial foxgloves can be propagated by division or from the offshoots that grow from the base of the plant.

Foxglove varieties to try in your garden

Fertilizer for Foxgloves

Applying a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season can produce more flowers.

Watering Foxgloves

Foxgloves are not very drought tolerant, so regular watering is essential during hot, dry weather, especially for new plants that aren’t established

A thick layer of mulch around the plants will help to conserve moisture.

Foxgloves

Pruning Foxgloves

Many foxgloves will bloom a second time if the flower stalks are removed after they bloom.

If you’d like the plants to self-sow for the next year, you can leave the plants as they are over the winter.

Pests and Diseases

Foxgloves can be affected by powdery mildew and leaf spot, so it’s essential to have enough space between the plants to allow the air to circulate.

To avoid fungal diseases, it’s best to water the base of the plants and avoid overhead watering whenever you can.

If you see spots or mildew on the leaves, cut them off so that the mildew doesn’t spread. Any diseased leaves should be thrown in the trash, not composted.

Foxgloves can also be affected by snails and aphids.

Companion Planting for Foxgloves

Some popular companion plants for Foxgloves are Snapdragons, Phlox, Zinnia, Lobelia, Cornflower and Dianthus. [3]

Harvesting and Using Foxgloves

Foxglove plants are grown commercially to produce the heart medication Digitalis. 

Digitalis is used to treat congestive heart failure and heart rhythm problems. [4]

Growing foxgloves

Common questions about growing Foxgloves

Are Foxgloves Frost Tolerant?

Perennial Foxgloves can be cut back to ground level before winter and covered with a thick layer of mulch to protect the plant through winter and retain moisture. 

Can Foxgloves Grow in the Shade?

Foxgloves will tolerate partial to full shade in hot climates.

Will Foxgloves Grow in Clay Soil?

Foxgloves will grow in clay soil as long as it has some compost dug through the top layers of soil.

Can Foxgloves Grow Indoors?

Some varieties of Foxglove can grow up to six feet tall so they’re not well suited to growing indoors, but smaller varieties of Foxglove may be ok for indoors.

Can Foxgloves Grow in a Pot or Container?

Foxgloves can be grown in a container or pot as long as it’s deep enough to accommodate the plant’s roots.

The pot should have plenty of holes in the bottom to allow for good drainage.

Purple foxglove flowers

Foxgloves are beautiful tall flowers that look great in any garden.

Plant them once and you’ll have an abundance of Foxglove flowers for years to come.

Have you tried growing Foxgloves in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Flower Gardening and Gardening Tips that you may enjoy. You can also find me on Facebook.

How to grow foxgloves

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin. I'm passionate about gardening and horticulture and I love growing just about everything including herbs, vegetables, flowers, succulents and indoor plants. I've been gardening most of my life and I created this blog to inspire beginner gardeners to create their own urban garden. Read more

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