I Love Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea

Jun 12, 2020 | Love This!

Name:   Digitalis purpurea aka foxglove

Type of Plant:   A biennial, which means that the plant grows from a seed one year, blooms the next (and makes more seeds), and then it dies.

Why I Love/Hate this plant:  June gardens are magnificent when the foxgloves, peonies, lady’s mantle and catmint are all in flower. These are not only a “Wow!” combination in the garden, but are also lovely as cut flowers in large arrangements.

I love the fact that these plants are super-easy to grow from seed. The seeds are very tiny, but almost every one germinates! Plant seeds in June and then plant them in the garden in late-July for a spectacular display next year.

It pleases me that these biennials wander around my yard and garden. They pop up in random places and all I have to do is learn to recognize the seedlings so that I don’t pull them out when I weed. I also love how the flowers have spots that mark the way into the flower for the bees…the markings are like lights on an airport runway, signaling the way in.

A Word to the Wise: If you love foxglove, know that although you can move some of the seedlings around in early summer, for the most part you’ll need to let these grow and flower where they choose to do so. This isn’t a plant for control freaks!

Know too that all parts of this plant are poisonous. If you have pets or children that are prone to grazing on flowers, you’ll want to avoid this one.

This group was transplanted here last summer. So as you see, it’s possible to move and group them.

We let clusters of foxgloves such as these go to seed where they grow, and usually more appear every year.

The speckles on the flower signal the bees that the flowers are open for business!

Be ready to see this biennial pop up in odd and random places. That’s just part of the fun.

Here is how foxglove seedlings look in the garden in early summer. In spring they are smaller, of course, but still with the same slightly scalloped leaf edge.


  1. Nanny D

    I love foxgloves, too, and am happy to see them get recognition.

  2. Dana N

    Your foxgloves are beautiful! I just planted foxglove this year and absolutely love them! I have several dalmations and a sugarplum in purples and rose. The one dalmation peach I grew is much more beautiful than I ever expected. Do you have a photo of the seedlings? I don’t know how to recognize them yet.

    • CL Fornari

      I posted a photo at the bottom showing what the seedlings look like in early summer

  3. Margot Margot Fitsch

    Most of my Foxgloves are all the same purple color now (they pop up where ever they please) although I have planted other colors varieties in the past.
    Do they revert to their original color after years go by?
    I do have one beautiful white one that appears down in the woods nowhere near the others.

    • CL Fornari

      It’s not that they revert, but that seeds can either self-hybridize or the seeded plants change. So if you want other colors, you might buy seeds of other colors and throw them out this fall to sprout next year. And be sure to let that one by the woods set seed and scatter those around. Fortunately, each seed pod contains many, many seeds!

  4. Lynda Burwell

    My first time for foxglove plants. Volunteers from my neighbor’s garden. They’re so beautiful and I am really enjoying them. Hopefully the previous year’s seeds will bloom next year. Lov your Saturday radio program that my husband and I listen to each week. Always learn something new! Thank you so much.

    • CL Fornari

      Thanks, Lynda. I so appreciate that you listen and enjoy the show. Keep in touch!


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