Foxglove 'Excelsior Mix'
Scientific Name: Digitalis purpurea
Common Names: Foxglove Excelsior, Common Foxglove, Lady's Glove
Foxglove is native to temperate regions of Europe.
In the past foxglove has been used medicinally, it contains digitoxin a powerful heart stimulant that can be fatal if ingested so medicinal use is discouraged today. Because they grow tall foxglove plants are ideally suited for planting at the rear of mixed borders in cottage gardens. The Excelsior group of varieties found in this mix have been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Foxglove can be used as a cut flower in floral arrangements. The tubular flowers of foxglove provide a nectar source for beneficial insects and birds.
Foxglove may suffer from heat stress if planted in full sun, so be sure to choose a growing location that receives at least some shade during the day. A spot that is fully shaded from the hot afternoon sun is ideal, especially if growing foxglove in warmer climates. Foxglove plants can be heavy feeders so top dress around plants occasionally with a complete organic fertiliser if they start to show any symptoms of a nutrient deficiency. If your soil is lacking in organic mater place down a layer of well rotted cow manure or compost prior to sowing or planting out starts. Foxglove is a biennial, sometimes grown as an annual, and will usually die after flowering. Foxglove may self-sow under optimal growing conditions so dead head spent flowers if this is unwanted. Tall mature plants may blow over in heavy winds, to prevent this choose a planting site in a sheltered location behind a windbreak or tie foxglove plants to a stake to provide support.
When to Sow
In cold and mountainous areas of Australia sow foxglove seeds from late Summer to mid Autumn. In temperate and subtropical regions of Australia sow foxglove seeds anytime during Autumn. Foxglove prefers cooler climates so is unlikely to grow well in tropical climates.
How to Sow
Foxgloves seeds are tiny and should be surface sown then covered with only a very light sprinkling of growing media. Foxglove seeds require some light to reach them in order to germinate so should not be covered too deeply. After sowing firm down the growing media gently to ensure good contact with the seeds, firm contact between the growing medium and the seeds will help to prevent them from drying out between waterings. Water regularly to ensure the young seedlings do not dry out and perish. Foxglove plants grow quite large, so thin seedlings or plant out starts about 40cm apart to give your young foxglove plants plenty of room to expand.
Foxglove seeds take between 14 and 21 days to germinate once sown.
Time to Flowering
Foxglove will take between 22 to 25 weeks from sowing to start flowering, although sometimes they will not flower until their second growing year especially in cooler climates.