This steadfast, old fashioned perennial, with showy majestic spires in varied palettes, is an integral part of the quintessential cottage garden. The upside-down bell flowers often have contrasting mottled interiors, like colorful fat freckles. ‘Purpurea’ is the most common cultivar in white and shades of pink. You can also choose from wonderful creamy yellows, mauves and purples. Foxgloves are actually biennials that perpetuate through self-seeding. They happily pop up here & there in the garden, and can easily be transplanted. The first year, the plant is a mound of bristly green foliage, with the second year producing flower spikes. I have wondered if lupines, hollyhocks and foxgloves are all good friends considering their similarities. The scientific name ‘digitalis’, means ‘finger-like’, referring to the tubular flowers that can fit ‘like a glove’ over fingertips. My son takes delight in pointing out foxgloves in our garden, ‘They’re poisonous!’ he whispers ominously. Yes, foxgloves are poisonous if ingested - in fact, the heart medication digitalis is derived from extracts of foxglove.
Technical stuff – Foxglove/digitalis, zones 4-9, biennial/short lived perennial that continues by self-seeding, height 24”-60”(dwarf varieties available) and spread of up to 24”, prefer part shade and moist, fertile soil but adapt to most conditions, blooms in summer.