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Foxglove

I sowed foxglove seeds in my garden last year and although the plants look healthy, I see no signs of blooms. A friend told me that they wouldn’t bloom until next year. Is this true?

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a biennial, meaning that it takes two years for the plant to complete its life cycle. If you plant the seed this year, it will be two years before they flower, produce new seeds and then die back.

I like foxgloves because they add a tall and graceful element to my garden. They also tolerate partial shade, which works out well in my garden since I have plenty of dappled light areas. They perform best in rich, loose garden soil that’s well drained.

Now, if you can’t wait for two years to enjoy the flowers, there are foxglove varieties that will bloom the first year from seed, such as ‘Foxy’. The only drawback with ‘Foxy’ is that doesn’t get as tall as the biennials like ‘Giant Shirley’ and ‘Excelsior Hybrids’, but it rarely requires staking and it is a great little plant for containers. Camelot™ is another foxglove that will bloom the first year from seed and it does grow to an impressive height of 30 to 38-inches tall. This is the variety I often use for flower borders. In addition to pale lavender and deep rose, Camelot&trade is available as a white flowering foxglove, which is nice for all white gardens or evening gardens.

Another great thing about foxglove is that they will readily come back as volunteers from seed produced in the fall. Simply allow your plants to form seed heads and then shake them throughout garden for the next generation of plants. Just be sure you can identify the young seedlings the following spring so you don’t pull them up as weeds.