How to Protect Foxglove, Rusty


Foxglove is native to Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. It is a biennial that will reseed itself in the fall. Rusty foxglove grows to a height of 4 to 6 feet with beautiful rusty red blossoms. The tall spires have blossoms that are the size of a thimble. They are a beautiful element of both the urban and country garden. The leaves are a source of digitalis. Digitalis is used in an extremely strong heart medication, and the leaves are poisonous. To protect foxglove you need only to follow good basic gardening principles for this particular species.

Step 1

Loosen the soil of the garden bed 12 to 15 inches deep. You can use a garden fork or a garden tiller if available.

Step 2

Mix a 2 to 4 inch layer of compost into the soil to complete the preparation of the plant bed. Foxglove does well in a high organic content soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole twice the size of the container that the foxglove is in. Position the plant so that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the soil. Be sure to water well.

Step 4

Fertilize with a timed-release fertilizer. Mulch the plant so that it will retain moisture during the heat of the day.

Step 5

Stake the foxglove once it has grown to a height where it is susceptible to wind blowing it over. The flowers of this species cause the plant to become top heavy and need additional support.

Step 6

Leave the flowering spike intact so that it will reseed itself. Removing the spike will cause side shoots to grow and it will produce more flowers. But if you want it to reseed, it is necessary to leave the flowering spike intact.

Step 7

Cut back after the first hard frost and mulch to protect against the freezing and thawing cycles of winter. You can use leaves, evergreen boughs or straw as a protective mulch.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden fork or tiller
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Timed-release fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Plant stakes
  • Hand pruning shears
  • Protective mulch


  • National Gardening Association
  • Natural Life Magazine
  • Old Fashioned Living
Keywords: rusty foxglove winterize, plant protect winter frost, basic garden principles

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.