Floxglove Digitalis purpurea

Foxgloves produce attractive spikes of open, bell-shaped flowers that hang down from the tall stem. Flowers tend to be a range of purplish pinks and whites and have small freckles on their inside, there are also varieties with apricot, yellow and even green blooms. Foxgloves are usually associated with woodland plantings and look good on the fringes of a garden where they can enjoy some cool shade on their roots and the support of other plants. They are popular with bees that seek them out and are drawn into the garden by their tall spikes crowded with flowers. These flower spikes can make plants grow up to head height. Foxgloves are popular flowers that are often included in garden plantings but it is worth noting that all parts of the foxglove plant are toxic, they produce a compound called ‘digitalin’ that is a key ingredient in medicines used to treat heart conditions. If you have small children then you may want to avoid planting foxgloves.

Companions Foxgloves are a companion to many vegetable and fruit plants because they attract pollinating bees into the garden.




  • Part shade/cool sunny spot
  • Free draining soil
  • Best sown in autumn
  • Tall flower spikes
  • Toxic plants but they do attract bees

Roasted Tomato Soup

A warm comforting peaceful garden soup with a hint of smoked paprika to enhance the roasted tomato floavour.


Getting started


Sow or plant in spring countrywide. Foxgloves can also be sown in autumn and this head start usually means they establish well through winter and get off to a good start in the spring.


Foxgloves grow best in dappled shade and can handle full sun – especially in cooler parts of the country.


Foxgloves like well-cultivated soil with some compost in it but they will also grow on stickier clay soils - as long as the top (finger deep) layer has been dug through with some well-rotted manure or compost.



Foxgloves are biennials which means that plants grow from seed in the first year and in second year they produce flower stems that set seed as the plant dies.In autumn or early spring, sow seeds onto the surface of seed raising compost in trays or punnets or directly into the garden or proposed container. Seeds should not be covered with soil as they need light to germinate - just water them to get them started. When they are about a thumb’s length tall, thin seedlings so that plants end up about a finger’s length apart. As they continue to grow, thin seedlings so that they do not touch. If you want to try for flowers in the first summer it helps to grow seedlings on in a greenhouse through winter so they are rearing to go come spring.


If you want flowers in your fist season then you might need to buy seedlings from a garden centre and plant them in spring. Unless, of course, you have grown some great seedlings of your own through winter in which case plant them out as soon as weather warms and when seedlings are at least a finger’s length in height. Seedlings should be spaced about an average of two hands’ lengths apart.


Water young seedlings in dry periods. Once they are established and starting to grow you shouldn’t need to continue with watering unless weather is persistently dry and your soil dries out.


Once you have planted foxgloves you shouldn’t need to plant them again as they are very adept at self-seeding and finding new territory to populate in your garden. This often makes for a pleasant surprise as they pop up in unexpected places.