Care for Foxglove Plants

Overview

Foxglove (Digitalis), is an old-fashioned bloomer that brightens up shady areas in a flower bed with hues of white, pink, lavender, red, yellow or rose. Depending on the variety, the spiky blooms can grow a demure two feet up to tall six-footers. Foxglove will thrive in nearly any climate, including those with sub-zero winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it won't tolerate extremely warm, humid climates.

Step 1

Plant foxglove where the plant will be exposed to morning sunlight and afternoon shade if you live in a mild climate. In hot climates, foxglove should be planted in full shade. Foxglove can be planted by tossing the seed on the soil, with no need to cover the seeds or add fertilizer. You can also start with bedding plants available at a garden center or nursery.

Step 2

Keep the soil damp at all times. Foxglove can tolerate periods of drought, but won't produce a large number of blooms and won't do well in soggy, poorly-drained soil.

Step 3

Stake tall varieties of foxglove. Drive a wooden stake into the ground a few inches from the plant, and attach the plant loosely to the stake with a garden tie or a strip of soft fabric.

Step 4

Pinch wilted foxglove blooms. Pinching the spent blooms, or deadheading, will encourage the foxglove to continue blooming and will keep the plant looking neat.

Step 5

Divide foxglove every three or four years. Dig the plant with a garden fork or a shovel, digging deeply to avoid damaging the roots. Use your hands to divide the plant into smaller sections. Plant and water the divided foxglove immediately.

Tips and Warnings

  • Foxglove is a toxic plant. Always wear gloves when handling foxglove, and keep the plant away from pets and children. Although the bitter taste of the plant makes it unpalatable, ingestion can cause severe illness.

Things You'll Need

  • Foxglove seeds or bedding plants
  • Wooden stake (for tall varieties)
  • Soft ties or strips of fabric
  • Garden fork or shovel

References

  • University of California: Foxglove Offers a Spectacular Display
  • Old Fashioned Living: Growing Foxglove
  • Sacred Earth: Foxglove
Keywords: foxglove maintenance, foxglove plant care, care for foxglove

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.