Foxgloves are plants that produce beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers. They have a long delicate stem on which flowers emerge. These plants are rugged perennials or biennials. They grow well in full sun but also tolerate partial shade; they prefer the USDA zone 3-9.
They have an ideal appearance. Species that grow longer are best to grow because you can easily trim them which increases the production of flowers. They can easily grow in shady areas because these plants are native to woodlands.
Most of the species of this plant is an excellent source of nectar for many bees and other insects. So they are good for wildlife, as these insects visit them to collect nectar and in return transfer their pollen from one plant to another or among flowers. In Britain, they are also known as purple foxglove, which is actually an old wildflower. It was a focal point of cottage gardeners in the middle ages; they place it between vegetables or other flowers.
The thing to remember about this is that it is a toxic flower, so it can cause the death of an adult one if ingested. Moreover, if you have pets that eat your garden plants or kids who play in your garden, avoid growing it because it may prove very dangerous to grow.
Tips for Growing Foxgloves:
As these plants are native to woodland so they like moist soil, and also tolerate partial shade. But some varieties may require full sun to grow well. Deadhead spent blooms after flowering to encourage the production of blooms again or let themself seed over the garden.
Biennial types can be preserved by digging up or any other method after they have set seed, but perennial foxgloves should be cut back for autumn, ready to bloom again in the upcoming year.
Biennial means these types produce flowers in the second growing season after planting. Because of this, if you start with seeds, growing foxgloves in containers in the first summer will not be very showy.
If you want flowers in the first season of planting then buy container-grown fox gloves plants that have already been planted in the nursery and when you plant them in your garden they are in the bloom season.
After the flower sets these plants die, but they produce a lot of seeds that by taking care of your spot you can expect a lot of bloom in the next year. You can remove some faded flowers to encourage new growth, but you will have to retain some flowers if you want seeds.
Where to Grow Foxgloves?
Most foxgloves can grow in partial shade. Their native habitat is woodland clearing or at the foot of a local hedge. However, some species, such as the digitalis parviflora and the digitalis obscura, require full sun to grow well.
Foxgloves can thrive in a range of soil but love to be grown in well-drained moist soil. But avoid growing fox gloves in wet or soggy soils.
In addition, if you want your foxgloves can grow themselves in your garden and produce lush each year, you have to grow these plants at least for two years continuously.
Growing Foxgloves in Pots
To grow fox gloves in pots is an easy and fun activity. Because with little care you can expect a high yield. They will fill your garden with blooms in late summer or early spring.
Basic Requirements to Grow Foxgloves in Pots:
The following things can be considered during growing foxgloves in pots
Size of container
The most important thing while growing foxgloves in pots is to choose a container according to the variety of your plant. A suitable container for foxgloves is one with a proper draining system and at least 12 inches deep.
Different varieties have different sizes so while planting space them accordingly. The recommendation is to place them 2-3 inches apart from each other.
Fill the pot with a well-draining, and use quality potting mix. Buy the soil specially prepared for container-grown plants. Foxgloves like rich organic and well-drained soil with a slightly acidic PH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. Moreover, you can also add some fertilizers to the soil that is available for acid-loving plants.
Planting from seeds:
Spread foxglove seeds on top of the soil and press in or sprinkle some soil on them. Do not place them deeply, as they need light to germinate. Then gently water the seeds, and keep them moist until they germinate.
Planting from potted nursery pots:
As they are biennial means it took one year to establish and bloom in their second growing season. So to ensure first-season blooms they should be planted from potted nursery plants that are already in their second year of growth. In this way, you can see lush flowers in the first year of planting.
They will need watering on hot days. But do not overdo it especially when these biennial plants are in their dormant period during the winter. Make it sure that your pot has proper drainage holes as waterlogged soil can cause plant rotting. They love moist but not wet or soggy soil.
If there is a dry period in the summer and there is no rain as well or the top two inches of soil are dry, water the plant thoroughly to ensure moisture.
Temperature and moisture:
Foxgloves perform well in cold temperatures and can shrink in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For germination seeds require temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Foxgloves are not over particular for moisture, they love adequate moisture but excessive moisture can encourage some fungal diseases. Place them at the proper distance to ensure proper air circulation.
Mulching can provide necessary moisture and nutrients but it’s a time taking phenomenon as leaves or wood chips take long to decompose. So provide well-decomposed mulch to your plants.
Well, organic soil does not need fertilizers, so check your soil content before feeding as excess nitrogen can affect your flowers negatively.
However, if your soil does not have enough minerals that plants require then add some slow-release fertilizers to it, they will help plants to do well during summer.
Sprinkle it around the base of the plant and then add some water over the fertilizer to help it settle down. Make sure that your fertilizers do not touch the foliage as it can cause burning.
Cutting and Pruning:
You will get blooms in the second year after planting in the case of biennial plants. Keep the faded flowers cut to encourage repeat blooms, and stake taller varieties as they can fall in wind.
After their flowers fade, remove the spent bloom, but leave the crowns in the ground and look after them. If you are lucky, your foxgloves will return the next year for a remarkable performance.
Foxgloves Are Self-propagating:
Foxgloves are self-producing plants as they produce enough seeds in the growing season. Just leave some flowers to dry on the plants at the end of the growing season, and when seeds are ripe they will automatically fall from plants even in mild air.
If you want to plant your foxgloves somewhere else, press flowers to get seeds and place them in a bag to get dry. Or you can also get seeds by tying a bag around the plant, as ripe seeds fall in a bag instead of the ground and you can place them where you want.
Seeds may undergo dormancy for several years. So don’t be surprised if you see a plant years after the death of the parent plant. As the buried seeds can germinate, when they receive the right conditions.
Foxgloves are susceptible to insects like aphids, mealy bugs, slugs, and Japanese beetles. Mild infections are often treated with predatory insects, but serious infections can be treated with insecticide soaps or chemical sprays. But use environmentally friendly chemicals.
Foxgloves can also be affected by a range of fungi such as powdery mildew, and leaf spots. These problems can be reduced by providing proper air circulation and making sure they are planted in well-draining soil.
Plants can be treated by using fungicides. Crown rot can also be a serious problem caused by white fungal spores or they also appear because of poorly drained soil. If the damage is not controlled by treatment then discard the infected plant to secure others.
Best Varieties to Grow:
These plants have small flowers. Digitalis parviflora has beautiful, smoky orange flowers that are tightly packed on long tapered stems. It is rugged perennial species; it thrives well in partial shade but can also tolerate full sun. Require moist and well-drained soil.
Digitalis x mertonensis:
Digitalis x mertonensis has large pink blooms so it is also called strawberry foxgloves. It is also a perennial species that will enjoy growing in moist, well-drained soil in full to partial shade.
This plant is native to Spain. It is a sunset perennial species. So it needs more sunlight than other foxgloves, place it in a sunny spot. It is frost tolerant species. It is well suited for pots as it grows only 1m in length.
It is one of the longest-lived perennial fox gloves. It is a hardy perennial that produces yellow-colored blooms in spring. It makes a lovely cut flower; it’s so charming in appearance and can be the focal point of the garden. Grow Digitalis Grandiflora in moist soil and in partial shade.
This is an eye-catching plant. The Elegant foxglove bears tightly packed flowers with rusty orange color. It grows 1.5m in height. A robust species, Digitalis ferruginea is tolerant of most types of soils or spots, but does not like to be in wet or overly dried soil.
The Canary Island foxglove is a shrubby, tender foxglove with showy orange and glossy blooms. They have evergreen foliage. Looks right at home as part of an exotic border but will require to be protected from frost in winter.
It is commonly known as the small foxglove, Digitalis lutea is a cute delicate species that have beautiful creamy-colored blooms. A hardy perennial, it grows about 60cm in length and enjoys a partially shaded spot do well in moist, well-drained soil.
- Best Flowers To Grow For Bouquets
- 20 Shade-Loving Flowering Plants
- What Flowers to Plant in Raised Beds?
Companion Plants for Foxgloves:
Different plants can be grown with tall foxgloves which can grow to five or six feet tall. Growing foxgloves with such showy-colored plants will create a striking combination of textures. The plants that provide and get benefits from fox gloves include:
- Coral bells
- Snapdragons and iris make good companion plants for foxgloves.
Uses of Foxgloves:
Foxglove is used for congestive heart failure, in relieving edema, asthma, epilepsy, tuberculosis, constipation, headache, and spasm.
Side Effects of Foxgloves:
It is a beautiful plant to grow but along with its beauty, it may prove harmful to grow. So take precautions to grow it or avoid growing it if you have kids in your home.
As it is a poisonous plant so it’s dangerous for anyone to take it by mouth without the advice and care of healthcare professionals. Ingestion can result in irregular heart functions and even sometimes may prove fatal.
Symptoms of foxglove poisoning include abdominal discomfort, cataracts, blurred vision, rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, excessive urination, fatigue, muscle weakness, and convulsions.