Foxgloves grow 2 to 5 feet tall with long, slender flower heads that support bell-shaped flowers. Foxglove is the common name for Digitalis purpurea, a biennial flowering plant that grows in temperate climates. Plant foxglove along a tall border area to add colour to other shrubs and perennials, or plant them in the landscape to add vertical interest to a perennial or annual flowerbed.
Foxgloves are biennial. A biennial plant, like the foxglove, produce foliage the first year. The foliage dies back in the winter and the roots go dormant. In the second spring, foxgloves produce foliage and a tall flower spike and flowers. The flowers set seed at the end of the growing season and the plant dies back to the ground. The next season, a new plant grows from the scattered seeds.
Late Spring Blooming
Foxgloves bloom in late spring and last into early summer. Flowers emerge along the tall flower stalk in the shape of purple bells hanging down to the ground. The flowers at the base of the flower head are largest and they gradually get smaller toward the top. Once the flowers fade and scatter the seeds, cut down the flower stalks at ground level to improve the appearances of your summer and fall garden.
Planting Times for Continuous Blooms
To get foxgloves to bloom continuously in the garden, equal numbers of first- and second-year plants must be present. In most areas, this occurs naturally as the seeds are scattered each year. When planting foxgloves for the first time, plant one batch of seeds the first year and a second batch of seeds the following year. Plant foxglove seeds in the spring after the ground thaws.
Climate and Growing Conditions
Foxgloves grow easily in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 8, and the seeds and root systems can survive winter temperatures as low as -13 Fahrenheit. When the ground thaws in the spring, the seeds germinate and new growth begins from the roots of second-year plants. Foxgloves grow best in a sunny area with slightly acidic, loamy soil. The plants like to dry out slightly before watering and need good drainage to thrive.