Digitalis purpurea

December 8, 2010

Plant Particulars
Zones: 4-8
Height: 3 to 6 ft
Spread: 2 ft
Shape: graceful upright
Color: shades of white, yellow, purple, pink
Bloom time: early summer
Light needs: full sun to part shadev Soil: moist, well drained

Special Note: resistant to deer and rabbits; toxic when eaten


All parts of foxgloves are poisonous, so deer snub them. Most nurseries carry the variety 'Foxy', which blooms the first year from seed but lacks the grace of the 4-to-6-foot cottage-garden biennial. Look for Excelsior Hybrids or other tall types.

Sow foxglove seeds in a pot anytime in spring. In late summer, plant them in well-drained soil in part shade. They'll go dormant, then revive to bloom dramatically the following June. Let some seeds ripen on the stalk to harvest or self-sow. The fading flowers make this an awkward stage, so plan ahead with good-looking companions such as perennial geraniums, hardy begonias (Begonia grandis), or ferns.