Foxglove (Digitalis)

All you need to know about growing Foxglove in your garden
Steven R. Lorton and Lauren Bonar Swezey

Majestic spikes of tubular flowers rise in late spring and summer; their flowers come in a wide range of colors. Of the many foxgloves available, two are hardy perennials, while the rest are biennial (see "Is it biennial or perennial?"). Most biennial foxgloves reseed themselves in the garden. All prefer regular water.

Biennials

D. purpurea (Sunset climate zones A2-A3, 1-24 from the Western Garden Book) is the most common species and includes many beautiful strains. Heights vary, depending on the climate. (In the mild-climate West, they generally grow taller than the heights described on seed packets.) Plant in partial or full shade, except in cool-summer climates, where they'll take full sun.

COLOR MIXES. Excelsior mix, with large spotted flowers in shades of white to dark pink, grows at least 5 feet tall. Shorter (to 3 feet tall) Giant Shirley mix bears flowers in colors from white to dark pink with crimson or chocolate spots inside the tubes; it reseeds easily. Foxy (to 3 feet tall), in cream, rose, white, and yellow, blooms the first year from seed sown in spring.

SINGLE COLORS. Outstanding ones are 'Apricot' and 'Apricot Faerie Queen' (both grow to 5 feet tall), with beautiful soft apricot bells. 'Pam's Choice' (3 to 4 feet tall) has elegant white bells and showy maroon throats (isolate it from other foxgloves to maintain the rich flower color on plants that sprout from seed). 'Primrose Carousel' (2 1/2 feet tall) is the first yellow foxglove that comes true from seed (retains its color and other characteristics).

Perennials

p D. x mertonensis is coppery pink. Plant in partial or full shade (full sun in cool-summer climates). Its flower spikes grow 3 feet tall and it is hardy in zones 1-10, 14-24.