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Growing Foxglove

Category Perennials
These tall stately flowering perennials originated in norther Europe. They are easily grown in full or part sun, from seed. Do keep in mind that they are also very poisonous, if you have small children. This is a guide about growing foxglove.


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By 0 found this helpful
March 13, 2006

Growing Hints:

  • Purchase plants or sow seeds directly in garden in midsummer or sow in pots indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the planting in garden.
  • Plant foxgloves 15 to 18 inches apart.
  • Staking may be required for taller varieties.
  • Cut off stems just above leaves after plants are done flowering, letting a few of the spikes remain to set seed. Some varieties, like common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) usually die after flowering in their second year.
  • Deadheading may extend its life for another season or two.

Interesting Facts:

  • The name "foxglove" is derived from folklore, where as one story goes, the plant was originally called folk's glove, the "folks" being woodland fairies and elves. The fairies and elves distributed the flowers to foxes so they could wear them as gloves while raiding henhouses.

  • Digitalis is Latin for finger. The thimble shaped flowers on the foxglove are the perfect size to fit a human finger.
  • The leaves and flowers are highly poisonous, they should be grown away from areas frequented by children.

Botanical Name:


Life Cycle:

Short lived perennial or biennial.

Planting Time:

Mid summer


2' to 5'


Full sun or partial shade (afternoon shade best in hot climates)


Average to rich, evenly moist, well-drained soil


Performs best in zones 4 to 8; will grow in zones 9 and 10 (except Florida) if given afternoon shade.

Bloom Time:

Early summer


Spikes with thimble-shaped flowers in pink, purple, white, yellow, red, lavender and rose.


Upright stalks of flower spikes with clumps of green leaves.


Seeds, division in spring

Suggested Use:

Back borders, shady beds, roadsides, and cottage gardens.
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By 0 found this helpful
February 8, 2008

I had Foxglove blooming for the first time last year. They dropped seed and all kinds of new plants came up in the fall but then were frozen off. Does this mean that I will not have any come up from seed this spring? I know they are normally a biennial but want to know if the plants will come up.


Hardiness Zone: 5b

Elaine from Iowa


February 10, 20080 found this helpful

Hopefully it'll mean those plants will bloom for you this summer. Let me know. I'm curious too. I know hollihocks are like that too. One yr. they grow, then the next yr. they bloom. Maybe we could exchange seeds if you get a lot this yr. I love the Foxgloves but the roots rot for me and they don't come back.

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March 14, 20080 found this helpful

Yes, biennial means that they will grow the first year and the plant will return and bloom the second, then die after it scatters the seeds. There are always exceptions to the rule, but this is what happens in most biennials. As sewing granny stated, hollyhocks perform the same way.

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March 14, 20080 found this helpful

I know that they are a biennial. I don't think I made the question clear; I want to know, since they dropped seed and came up in the fall, will they not come up in the spring?

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By 7 found this helpful
May 15, 2011

I love my foxgloves. They are very easy biennials to grow. The deer never bother them. They grow upright on a slope and don't fall over. The blooms last for quite a long time.


By pam

photo of Foxgloves

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