How to Grow Digitalis Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Foxglove

Members of the Digitalis plant genus are usually hardy perennials or biannuals, but are often grown as annuals or biannuals in the garden.

They range in height from 60 to 180 cm (2 to 7 feet) and have beautiful tubular pink, orange, yellow or cream freckled flowers that grow on a spire. Plants bloom from the end of spring to the end of summer.

The common name for Digitalis is foxglove, and it makes an ideal border plant.

Digitis Purpurea
Digitis Purpurea – Common Foxglove by Jörg Hempel

white foxglove
Digitalis white foxglove by Echoforsberg.

Digitalis Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Foxglove, Dead Man's Bells, Witches Gloves.
Family: Plantaginaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy biennial. Hardy perennial. Hardy perennial usually grown as a hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: 20 to 78 inches (50 to 200 cm).
Native: Europe, Central and Western Asia, Northwestern Africa.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Spring to late summer.
Flower Details: Pink, purple, white, grey, yellow. Tall spike. Tubular. Freckled.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Green.

Sow Outside: Surface. Perennial/biennial following last frost. Spacing: 10 to 24 inches (25 to 60 cm).
Sow Inside: You need to grow indoors first if you are treating foxglove as an annual. Germination time: two to three weeks in the light. Temperature 65°F (18°C). ten to twelve weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors three weeks before the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight, shade or light shade. Soil pH 6 to 7.5. Moist soil. Rich soils. Deep soil. Add manure when planting/sowing. Regular watering. Perennials should be cut back after flowering, and given a winter mulch. Use slug repellent. Propagate: dividing: spring in cool areas; autumn in warm areas.

How to Grow Foxglove (Digitalis)

The seeds of Digitalis can be planted out in the middle of spring or autumn. They should be sown on the surface at about 50 cm apart.

They like to grow in the sun but it is probably best to grow them in an area that is partially shaded in the afternoon.

Foxgloves like to grow in a soil that is both moist and rich, ideally with a pH of 6 to 7.5.

If you prefer to start growing foxglove seedlings indoors first then they should be prepared about ten weeks before they are due to be transplanted into the garden in late autumn, a few weeks before the first frost of winter.

Members of Digitalis usually take about two or three weeks to germinate at 15 to 18 degrees Centigrade.

Caring for Digitalis plant species such as Foxglove in the Garden

Once growing in the garden foxgloves require regular watering, and they prefer a moist soil, so water sufficiently. At the end of the flowering season the inflorescence should be cut back to the ground.

It is best to replace Digitalis plants every two or three years to maintain their beautiful appearance in the garden.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Digitalis plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Plantaginaceae growing guides: How to grow Speedwell and Chelone plants.