Your Gardening Guide to Grow and Care for Foxgloves

Foxgloves are a pretty addition to cottage gardens, but how much do you know about them? In this guide, I’ll answer the most common questions about how to grow and care for foxgloves so you will have the knowledge to grow your own plants.

With their tall stalks and clusters of tubular flowers, foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea) are unique and beautiful biennial flowers that add a touch of old-fashioned charm to any garden.

pink foxglove in front of white picket fence

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my personal opinion and things that worked for me along the way.

foxgloves in many colors in shopping carts

A couple of years ago, I was pleasantly surprised when I made a trip to the grocery store and found a display of foxgloves just outside the doors.

I bought every last one of them. They were quite a deal from what I remember.

I had never grown these plants in my garden because I was a bit intimidated by them, especially because I heard they were a biennial flower which I didn’t know much about.

After bringing a cartload full of foxgloves home with me, I decided to do a bit of research, seeking answers to all the questions I had about growing these biennial foxgloves in my garden.

foxgloves in front of white picket fence and greenhouse -questions and answers

Common Questions About How to Grow and Care for Foxgloves

1. What is the Best Location for Growing Foxgloves?

Foxgloves thrive in areas with full sun or partial shade, making them versatile in a variety of gardens. When choosing a location to grow foxglove, try to pick an area that receives both sunlight in the morning and some shade during the hotter part of the day.

foxgloves in front of the greenhouse -questions and answers

2. How Do I Sow Foxglove Seeds?

Sow foxglove seeds directly in the garden bed in late spring or early summer.

Lightly press the seeds into the prepared soil and cover them with a thin layer of fine soil. Keep the soil consistently moist throughout the germination process, which usually takes 2-3 weeks.

Remember, the plant will not flower until the following year.

cream foxglove in front of greenhouse-questions and answers

3. When is the Best Time to Plant Foxglove Seeds?

For early summer foxglove blooms, sow seeds in the previous year, during late spring or early summer.

This gives the seeds enough time to establish themselves and develop into sturdy plants that will flower the following year.

foxgloves in the garden

4. What Type of Soil Do Foxgloves Need?

Foxgloves thrive in well-drained soil enriched with organic matter.

Prior to planting, prepare the soil by adding compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility and help to retain moisture levels.

Avoid waterlogged areas, as foxglove prefers moist soil but saturated conditions can cause root rot.

foxgloves in the cottage garden

5. What Care Do Foxgloves Require During the Growing Season?

Once foxgloves are established, they require minimal care.

Water the plants regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil evenly moist.

Mulching around the base of the plants is a good idea as it helps to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth. Apply a balanced organic fertilizer in early spring to promote healthy growth and strong bloom production.


6. Can I Expect Foxglove to Bloom in the Second Season?

Yes, foxgloves are biennial flowers which means they complete their lifecycle over two years.

In their first year, they focus on vegetative growth, developing a rosette of leaves.

In the second season, they send up tall flower stalks with beautiful clusters of flowers. While the central flower spike tends to bloom first, secondary flower spikes may emerge later, providing a second flush of flowers in the growing season.

pink foxgloves in front of white picket fence -questions and answers

7. Are Foxgloves Poisonous?

Yes, foxgloves are considered poisonous plants.

All parts of the plants contain digitalis, a toxic compound that affects the heart. It’s important to exercise caution and keep foxgloves out of reach of small children and pets.

It’s highly recommended that you wear gloves when handling this plant type.

Foxgloves are also known to have natural predators, such as deer and rabbits, who tend to avoid them due to their toxicity.

growing foxgloves along the white picket fence garden

8. What are the Common Diseases or Issues That Affect Foxgloves?

Foxglove is generally a resilient garden plant but can be susceptible to certain diseases and pests. Powdery mildew, leaf spot, and aphid infestations are some of the common issues to watch out for.

To prevent these problems, provide adequate air circulation by spacing plants properly and avoid overhead watering the flower stalks and foliage, as wet leaves can promote disease development.

foxglove plants

9. How Do I Extend the Lifespan of My Foxgloves?

While foxgloves are technically biennials, you can encourage them to reseed and establish themselves for multiple years in your garden.

Allow a few of the flower heads to mature and produce seeds. These seeds will naturally disperse and germinate, giving you new foxglove plants for the next season.

This self-seeding process will bring you a continuous display of foxgloves in your flower garden.

foxgloves along the garden patio

10. Are There Different Varieties of Foxgloves To Choose From?

Yes, there’s a wide range of foxglove varieties available, with diverse colors and heights.

One popular variety is the purple foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), known for its striking deep purple blooms. Other biennial varieties come in shades of white, pink, and apricot.

Mixing different colors and heights will create a gorgeous cottage garden aesthetic.

pink foxglove in the garden

With their tall flower spikes and charming tubular flowers, foxgloves are a charming addition to any flower garden.

By providing the right growing conditions, such as well-drained soil enriched with organic matter and a balance of sun and shade, you can enjoy these lovely flowers in your garden.

Remember to sow the seeds in early summer for blooms the following year, and provide adequate foxglove care by watering, mulching, fertilizing, and controlling pests and diseases.

foxglove in front of greenhouse -questions and answers

While foxgloves are poisonous and should be kept away from small children and pets, they also have natural predators that help deter deer and bunnies.

By allowing the plants to reseed, you can extend their presence in your garden and create beautiful display year after year.

If you have any questions about how to grow and care for foxgloves that I haven’t covered here or have a message, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below. And be sure to share this blog post link with anyone who may find these gardening tips useful.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!

Your questions answered about foxgloves

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  1. I love foxgloves but I had NO IDEA they were poisonous to people and pets. Thanks so much for sharing that and for all these helpful tips. As always your garden is dreamy. I just love everything you plant and share. It lifts me up daily! Big hugs, CoCo

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