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Foxglove Digitalis purpurea

Rough Draft 12/16/2020

Intro

The beautiful layered bell shaped flowers are real eye catchers,  especially in a wild forest landscape. In the Westerm Washington Cascade Foothills these grow well and are stunning below evergreen trees. Make no mistake foxgloves are highly poisonous if ingested to humans, animals and livestock. If foxgloves are a must try or have in your landscape make sure young children and animals can’t reach them. At our foothills home we let them grow wild in our forest landscape and just adored them from a distance.

Pets  and Safety

Keep your Animals Safe 

These flowers may be a honey bee’s best friend. We did notice many bees around our foxglove and the buzzing sound. Please note  foxgloves are highly toxic for both people and dogs. If eaten, foxgloves can cause your dog to suffer severe nausea and vomiting.

Safety 

Take special care  if you choose to  handle this plant. All parts of it, the stem, flowers, and seeds, can cause allergic reactions.  The berries are particularly poisonous. The plant contains minute needle-shaped crystals which can severely irritate the skin. Foxgloves are beautiful, old-fashioned garden flowers, but are highly toxic and  can stop the heart. Foxgloves have been reported to kill livestock, pets, and humans. Children have even been poisoned by drinking the vase water from flower arrangements containing foxgloves. Take precautions by wearing  gloves if you choose to touch a foxglove plant or cut stems for displaying the bloons in a vase.

Perennial or Biennial

They are not perennial. They are not annual. Foxgloves are biennial and  live for 2 years and bloom the second year and seed freely.  Plant seeds r and enjoy the greenery of the foliage the first year. By the second year bell flowers can be expected and you should have blooms popping up each year and the seeds will be self sowing for future blooms. The blooms which grow tall can grow to be around 6′ tall. If you plan to cultivate these in your landscape they are perfect for planting towards the back of gardens for height and interest. Most foxgloves are evergreen which is nice to have the green leaves through the winter months.

Summer Colors

They bloom in the summer. You can count on summer flowers with foxglove. Foxglove also comes in an array of colors including white and yellow. The majority I’ve noticed in the wild are different shades between pink and purple. The ones that we were accustomed to were a true and dark pink. 

Water, Sun, and Temperature

Water

These plants should be watered 2 times per week. Be mindful because regular watering is a must. Drenching these plants are okay during a drought or hot dry periods during the summer months. Just be sure they are planted in well draining soil.

Sun

Provide sun to partial shade during the summer months and plant where you can control  the amount of sunshine you give this biennial depending on your zone’s climate. If you live in the South, give it some shade. In the North or Northwest, you can grow it in a range of sunlight conditions, from full sun to partial shade. Tip: foxglove growth and blooms will perform best in partial sun.

Temperature

Most foxgloves are hardy through cold winter months. These plants also enjoy cooler temperatures and tend to wilt once temps rise close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They have humidity needs and do really well in moist air. Seeds will germinate best when temperature hit between 70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hummingbirds and bees love to sip the nectar from these bell shaped flowers. When these bells are in bloom enjoy the sight and sound of hummingbirds coming to visit often. They are a joy to watch when they catch your eye.

Resource links

https://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=5547

https://www.thespruce.com/tall-toxic-foxglove-plants-2132588

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