Foxglove is a stunning flower with tubular flowers that have a speckled throat. This plant creates a dramatic effect with its tall towers of flowers. It is a biennial, meaning it forms a rosette and leaves the first year, blooms the second year and then dies. The flower reseeds easily, so plant it two years in a row to get flowering plants. Also, new perennial varieties have been developed that bloom in the first year. The leaves of the plant were used in the 18th century to treat heart failure and used to be the source of heart tonics. Each plant can produce 1 to 2 million seeds. How to plant and care for foxglove, we show in our article!
Table of Contents
- Planting and caring for foxglove
- What conditions are appropriate for the plant
- Common pests and plant diseases
- Planting foxglove and care for it on the balcony
- Recommended varieties
- Is the foxglove plant poisonous?
Planting and caring for foxglove
Sow the seeds outdoors in pots in late spring or sow them in the garden in late summer where you want the plants to grow. The seeds need light to germinate, so don’t cover them. Seedlings should be planted in the garden bed in early fall so they can establish their root systems before the cold weather arrives.
- Keep the soil moist.
- Add a thin layer of compost around the plant each spring.
- Tie tall varieties to a stake to keep the flower stalks upright.
- Cut back the center flower stalk after flowering to allow more flower stalks to develop later in the season.
- Leave the flower stalk on the plant when you want to reseed it.
What conditions are appropriate for the plant
Foxgloves are fairly easy plants to grow in moist, nutrient-rich soil in full sun to partial shade. The plants come in a variety of sizes and should be spaced accordingly, but generally it is good to plant them about three feet apart. After flowering, they can become somewhat scrawny, so plants are often removed from the garden at this time – or right after the seeds have dispersed throughout the garden.
Light conditions for the flower
Grow plants in a full sun to partial shade location. Adjust the amount of sunlight to suit your climate. If you live in the south, provide some shade for foxglove, as full sun is too hot for the plants. In the north, the plant thrives in full sun, although it can tolerate some shade.
What kind of soil is suitable
Foxgloves like rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic and has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Although the flowers prefer lighter soils, they also thrive in heavy clay soils to which organic matter such as compost is added.
Plant and care for foxgloves: Water
Foxglove is susceptible to crown rot, so it should receive good drainage. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. If there is a dry spell in the summer and it has not rained in a week or the top 5 inches of soil is dry, water the plant thoroughly. Avoid overhead watering, which can promote fungal diseases.
Temperature and humidity
Foxgloves do better in cooler temperatures and can wither at temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius. Planted seeds germinate at temperatures between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius. The plant is not picky about humidity, although excessive moisture can promote some fungal diseases. Provide good air circulation by planting the plants at adequate intervals.
Is fertilizer necessary
A 3-inch layer of well-decomposed mulch usually provides adequate nutrients for foxgloves. In good soil, fertilizer is rarely necessary, and excess nitrogen can actually be detrimental to flower growth. However, if your soil is very poor, you can add a handful of fertilizer in early spring. Spread it around the plant, and then water it to help it settle.
Propagation of the flower
Foxglove is generally propagated by seeds collected from the flower heads after the flowers have faded. The seeds mature on the stem and are ready for harvest in mid to late summer. Remove the seed pods and shake them upside down into a paper bag or envelope. The tiny seeds should be visible. Store the seeds in a dry place until ready to sow.
Growing seeds indoors
About 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost, fill trays or small containers with a seed mixture and moisten the mixture. Sprinkle seeds thinly over the moistened seed mixture and cover with a thin layer of vermiculite. Place the tray or pots in a sheltered place with plenty of light and a temperature of 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. Check regularly and moisten the soil if it becomes too dry. After 14 to 21 days, the seedlings should sprout. Continue to grow the seedlings in a bright location, thinning them out as needed. Keep them evenly moist, but not wet. Plant the seedlings outdoors when there is no longer a risk of frost.
Common pests and plant diseases
Foxglove can be attacked by insect pests such as aphids, mealybugs, slugs and Japanese beetles. Predatory insects often help with mild infestations, but insecticidal soaps can be used to combat heavy infestations. The flower can also be attacked by a number of fungi, such as powdery mildew , Verticillium wilt and leaf spot. Minimize these problems by providing good air circulation and making sure plants are planted in well-drained soil. Crown rot can be a problem, sometimes caused by white fungal spores or by dense, poorly draining soil. Seriously affected plants must be discarded.
Planting and caring for foxgloves on the balcony.
Foxgloves also do very well in containers, making them perfect for adding shade, volume and color to a balcony. To grow the flower in pots, choose a pot that is at least 30 inches deep and has drainage holes. Fill the pot with a well-drained, high-quality potting soil. Place the seeds on top of the soil and press them down. Do not bury them, because they need light to germinate.
There are many foxglove varieties and some hybrids available commercially. Here are the most common varieties:
- ‘Foxy’ grows 2 to 3 feet tall and blooms reliably from seed the first year. The flowers are white, cream and pink.
- ‘Candy Mountain’ has sturdy stems with large, upturned flowers that turn from pink to purple with age.
- The ‘Camelot’ series has 120 cm tall flower stems and blooms in shades of lavender, pink and white. This variety blooms from seed the first year.
- The ‘Alba’ variety has pure white flowers on tall, sturdy stems.
Is the foxglove plant poisonous?
Foxglove is a poisonous plant . All parts are poisonous. Be careful when planting if you have children or pets. Use gloves!