Foxgloves have distinctive tubular flowers
image by Foxypar4: Flickr.com
Foxgloves are biennial herbaceous plants native to Europe, Asia and Africa. They are prized for their ornamental value, due to the large, showy flowers they produce. The tubular foxglove flowers are borne on a tall flower spike, which can reach 48 inches in height, and vary in color from purple and pink to white and yellow. The plant itself may grow up to 5 feet in height, so make sure you have plenty of room in the garden before taking on a foxglove. The plant needs little care and maintenance, once established.
Plant foxglove seeds in early spring or fall. Select an area of the garden with well-drained soil, full sun for cooler areas or light shade in areas where the summers are hot. Plant with the crown at the soil's surface, and at least 12 inches apart.
Apply approximately 3 inches of mulch around foxgloves to conserve moisture and insulate the roots against extreme temperatures. Leave a perimeter of approximately 3 inches around the plant uncovered to allow room for growth.
Water foxgloves often enough to keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season. In dry areas, you may need to water once or twice a day. In cooler climates, once every other day should be enough. Check the soil daily and, if it appears dry, water thoroughly.
Reduce watering to once a week after the blooms begin to die and fade, unless there is a heavy, soaking rain. Foxgloves require constant moisture to produce blooms, but once the summer growing season is over, you can decrease watering.
Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer to the soil around foxgloves once a month in the spring and summer. Refer to the manufacturer's directions for appropriate dosage and application instructions. Do not fertilize in the fall and winter months.
Cut foxgloves back to the basal foliage, or the foliage at the base of the plant's stem, once flowering is finished and the stalks have set seed. Remove foxglove plants after two years, when they will begin to lose vigor, and they will be replaced by the seedlings of previous years.