How to Grow Erinus Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Fairy Foxglove, Alpine Balsam, and Starflower

Depending on the species cultivar / variety, they bloom from the end of winter to summer. They carry flat flowers of pink, white, or red.

Their small size makes them ideal to grow in rock gardens, or in the gaps of drystone walls.

A common name of Erinus is the Fairy Foxglove.

Erinus alpinus
Erinus alpinus by peganum.

Erinus Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Fairy Foxglove, Starflower, Alpine Balsam.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm).
Native: Europe.
Family: Plantaginaceae.

Growing Region: Zones 4 to 9.
Flowers: Species dependent: Late winter and/or spring and/or summer.
Flower Details: White, red, violet, pink. Flat. Massed. Small.
Foliage: Tiny. Green. Grey-green.

Sow Outside: Surface.  Early spring. Spacing 3 to 8 inches (8 to 20 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: 3 weeks to one month. Temperature: 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight, afternoon shade on hot areas. Good drainage. Sandy, gritty soil. Supply mulch of rock chip or gravel in order to improve drainage. Short-lived. Propagate: Take Erinus cuttings at the start of summer. Divide in the spring in cold areas and autumn elsewhere. Seeds are not usually true.

How to Grow Fairy Foxglove (Erinus)

Seeds of the Erinus plant should be sown on the soil surface at the start of spring. Fairy foxgloves like to grow in a sunny to partially shaded part of the garden. This location should also have good drainage.

The soil should be gritty or sandy in nature. If you prefer to start the growing process indoors, then they should be started off about 8 weeks before they are due to be put in the garden (following the last frost of spring).

They typically take about three to four weeks to germinate, at a temperature of 17 to 21 degrees Centigrade (63 to 70°F).

Caring for Erinus Plants in the Garden

If you require more Fairy Foxgloves, then they should be divided in the spring.

It is best not to self seed Erinus plants, as the plants used in gardens are cultivated for their traits. Thus if they self seed, then their offspring may not stay true, and plants are generally not as attractive.

Common Questions

How many members does the Erinus genus have?

The Erinus genus consists of just one species.

Do members of Erinus make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Erinus alpinus, commonly known as Fairy Foxglove, is a charming plant that's great for rock gardens and stone walls.

Which Erinus species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The Erinus alpinus (Fairy Foxglove) is the only species.

Are members of the Erinus plant genus fragrant?

No, Erinus flowers are not known for their fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Erinus?

Erinus prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil, ideally in rock gardens or crevices in walls.

Is Erinus invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Presently, Erinus is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Erinus plants from my garden?

Remove Erinus by uprooting the plant, ensuring to remove all roots to prevent regrowth.


The Erinus genus, commonly known as Fairy Foxglove or Alpine Balsam, comprises a single species, Erinus alpinus. This small, hardy perennial native to southern Europe is cherished for its tiny, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer, typically in shades of pink or white.

Erinus plants prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. They can be grown from seeds or division. Ideal for rock gardens, crevices, or the front of borders, they can also self-seed in favorable conditions, creating charming drifts of color.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Erinus plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Foxglove, Antirrhinum plant, and Rhodochiton plants.