"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Saturday, May 22, 2010


   A few years ago, I started out with a couple Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) in this bed. This year I have several new plants that are blooming for me. I think my first was Camelot Rose. They really brighten this bed. The only problem I have is that this is such a narrow bed. It is only about 24" deep at the deepest part. So I will probably have to transplant these this fall. This bed looks kind of unkempt now with the Bleeding Heart and Hosta's now getting huge.
   Dr. William Withering, born in England in 1741, was credited with the introduction of Digitalis into the practice of  medicine.
   Foxgloves have been a pretty much carefree plant for me. They also grow easily from seed. They are a biennial that grow 3-4 feet in height, and are hardy in zones 4-8. They tolerate sun to partial shade, but this bed they get early morning sun, then only indirect light, as the sun then comes over the front of the house. They form rosettes of fuzzy lance shaped leaves with the flower spike coming up from the center. The individual flowers are about 2 inches long and tube shaped, with an elongated bottom lip. Sometimes they have spotted throats. They are considered poisonous if ingested due to the cardiac drug digitalis in the leaves, flowers and seeds of the plant. So keep that in mind if you have kids or pets that may nibble on things. I have always had cats and dogs, and never had a problem. However, it can cause mild side effects to cardiac arrest and even death. I read that it is not recommended to grow near edible plants because the  pollen is said to have 80% digitalis. Never, ever try to self medicate with this plant.
   I have read it will rebloom if you cut the stem when its done blooming. I Havent tried this, but I may try it on a few plants this year.They prefer moist conditions, so they dont do well in dry areas. There is also a newer introduction called "Foxy". These new hybrids bloom the first year from seed, unlike their relatives which dont bloom until the second year. They actract hummingbirds, and bees, and are deer resistant. I have some of these that I winter sown this year.


  1. Tammy your Foxgloves are so pretty. I think I like the pure white one the best. So lovely.

  2. Does the pollen contaminate food plants?

  3. Lisa, I dont know personally. I read that on the following link under the heading "Uses". I have had them growing within 20 feet of Foxglove before without any problems. That was the ONLY article that stated anything like that. But its something I have no facts on, sorry.

  4. Tammy, love your foxglove but have never tried growing them myself. I saw a beauty at Home Depot last week and almost bought it but have always heard they are difficult to grow. How did you get started? I love the stone pavers around that flowerbed. I've been thinking about something like that for the new flowerbed I created or took over an old flowerbed, dug out diseased azaleas and a hydrangea I didn't want. The previous owner of this house had planted about 8 or 9 hydrangeas on one entire side of the house and put down landscape timbers. Perhaps I should just carry the same to the adjoining flowerbed. Might be the least expensive too but there's a lot of work involved in driving the rebar into the pressure treated wood to hold them into place and I'd be fighting a big maple/or oak tree roots. When you say foxgloves are biennials, does that mean you only see blooms every other year or they only live 3 yrs.? Do they bloom the first year you plant them?

  5. Pippi21, mine were started from seed.They are no trouble what so ever for me. I do need to clean up and thin this bed tho.The typical meaning for "biennial" or "biannual" is that the first year they grow, second year they bloom, and some die after this, some not. But in the meantime they have dispersed seed for the next generation. Once blooming, you should have bloom every year.There is a foxglove that is supposed to bloom the first yr from seed. I winter sowed them the first time this yr and waiting on bloom. They are called "Foxy". The stacked stone certainly would be easier and would last forever which the landscaping timbers eventually rot.We have used them along our walkways. This smaller stone used here arent too badly priced, and I only placed them about 2 rows high. I actually layed these myself. Hubby layed the 80 pounders in the raised, tiered bed.