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Plants We Love: Foxgloves

Foxgloves (Digitalis) are classic cottage-garden flowers that tolerate a wide range of soils and exposures. They make a dramatic addition to the formal border and an enchanting sight in the natural woodland garden.

Plant name: Foxglove

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Botanical name: Digitalis species and cultivars

Fairly easy to grow plants that bloom in dramatic spikes of tubular bell-shaped flowers. Most foxgloves are biennials (forming leaves the first year and flowers the second) that reseed, creating a perpetual self-sown display.

Flowers: Tubular, bell-shaped, slightly downward-facing flowers are held densely on upright stems. They can be white, yellow, pink, purple or blue and are often dotted on the inside.

Foliage: Medium green leaves form rosettes near ground level in its first year. Smaller leaves line the flower stalks that appear the second year.

Habit: Rosette-forming with an upright flowering stem.

Season: Flowers appear in summer, early, mid or late depending on the species, in the second year from germination.

Origin: Europe, northwest Africa, central Asia.

Foxgloves tolerate nearly any type of soil, except the very wet or very dry. They also tolerate a range of sun exposure, though most species prefer partial shade. These biennials will often scatter their own seed at the end of the growing season. If you do not want seedlings the next year, remove the flowers before seeds are set. All parts of foxgloves (Digitalis) are poisonous if ingested, and their foliage can irritate the skin. USDA Zones 3–10, depending on species.

Read more about biennial flowers

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