Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) organically grown flower seeds. Floral Encounters.
Overlay Text
Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.08 g 1000 Seeds $3.30
Medium 0.16 g 2000 Seeds $5.80

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info


Beautiful dramatic tall biennial that sometimes acts like a short lived perennial. Hardy to zone 4. Flower spiked can reach 6 feet (1.8m) in height and will flower for about 2 months from early summer onwards. Very easy to grow, flowers in the second year from seed, needs good sunshine and regular water. Not fussy about soil type provided it is well drained but will not grow tall unless has a good amount of organic material, then may only reach 3 feet (1m). Ideal for back borders or growing for cut flower use. Wildlife dont eat it.
Warning. This plant is poisonous and should not be grow in gardens where small children or pets will be playing. Can cause death if ingested.

Description of Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).
Dramatic biennial or short lived perennial flowers in the second year from seed. In the first year it produces a clump of large spear shaped leaves with a prominent central vein that causes the leaves to fold up slightly in the center the other veins are stretched tight across the leaf giving the surface a dimpled or quilted appearance. Leaves are mid green with strongly serrated edges and covered on both sides with gray white hairs that give it a downy texture. In the first year they can reach 8-10 inches (20-25cm) in length and form clumps up to 18 inches (46cm) tall. In zones 6b and warmer this clump will most likely stay green all winter long.
In spring of the second year tall circular stems arise that can reach 6 feet (1.8m) or more in good conditions. The lower sections have small versions of the basal leaves arranged in alternate pairs along the stem but the top half has a spectacular flower head. Individual blooms begin at the base of the flower stalk progressing upwards and can last for two or more months. Each flower is a bell shaped tube with four subtle lobes with the base of the flower being the largest and downward facing while the other three flare out around the end of he tube. Flowers can be purple, pink or white in color. The inside base of the tube is speckled with darker marking usually dark purple surrounded by white or light pink in a 'crazy paving' like pattern leading into the flower and the stamens that are located deep in the tube. The lower section of the flower acts as a landing platform so visiting bees can then scramble inside to reach the rich source of nectar and pollen within. Each flower can be up to 2.5 inches (6cm) long and are arranged in staggered wholes around the stem although most stalks seem to have a 'back' on the north side of the flower stalk where there are less blooms. Flower stalks can hold up to 80 individual blooms.

While most plants produce one main flower spike the may produce smaller stems if conditions are good and if stems are cut down after flowering has completed if light and temperature conditions are right, usually below zone 5b they may produce a second flower spike to flower up until the frost comes.

Each flower is followed by a small rounded capsule that turns brown on maturity and splits open to release large numbers of small seeds. These can self seed easily in good conditions.

Growing Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) from Seed.
Do not cover seeds as they need light to germinate. Best sown inside in cell or plug trays where each plant can have enough room to grow. Seeds are very small so take care not to place too many in a cell. For detailed instructions on growing these and other small seeds see our General Growing Instructions.

Use a good well draining compost and keep moist. usually germinate in 7-14 days with temperatures around 70 F (21C). grow on and transplant to individual pots until about three inches tall then after danger of frost has passed they can be transplanted out. keep moist until established.

Location and Care of Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Location will depend on your zone.
Light. In zones 4-6b full sun almost all day is ideal and most locations. In zone 7 -8a shade from the noon sun in an area where it can receive breezes would be best. In 8b and warmer light shade in areas with a breeze are required.
Foxgloves are originally from Europe where they are commonly found in open settings along streams, cliffs and woodland edges, they are not adapted to hotter climates and will need protection from bright sun if grown in these zones.
In cooler zones they are very tough and can give amazing displays in cool zones where its hard to get showy displays.
Soil. Foxgloves grow best in good soils with lots of organic material. They can then grow to 6 feet (m) or more in height. however they will grow in most soils provided they are well drained, they don't like waterlogged soils. In poorer soils they may only reach 3 feet (1m) in height.
Water. Needs a moist soil, this plant is not drought tolerant and may die back if not enough water. Keep soil moist watering a few times a week depending on rainfall.

Make great back border plants of for areas where height is required sown in a group they can make very dramatic displays that last for a couple of months.
Plants may need staking if they become tall and are located in areas where breezes have not toughened stems sufficiently to keep them upright. In most locations with enough breeze they manage well by themselves but if intermittent strong winds are likely such as violent thunderstorms staking may be necessary.

Pollinator and Wildlife with Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).
Its a great pollinator plant, for some insects. Bumble bees especially love this plant as they are adapted to scramble inside the flower tubes to reach the rich nectar and pollen. Often they leave a like little golden balls covered in the bright pollen and are fun to watch. Hummingbirds also like the flowers especially the purple ones. Small native bees also use them but butterflies are not equipped to reach the nectar.

Harvesting Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).
The leaves should only be harvested from plants in their second year of growth, picked when the flowering spike has grown and about two thirds of the flowers have opened. Harvested at other times, there is less of the medically active alkaloid present. Harvesting cut flowers should be done when bottom third of the flower stalk is open.

Culinary Uses
None know. the plant is poisonous.

Medical uses of Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
Very important in medicine in treatment of heart conditions. So much so that many pharmaceutical drugs are based on the Digoxin that this plant creates. It has a stimulatory effect on the heart allowing it to beat more powerfully but slower and more regular without requiring more oxygen to do so. It is used in many medicines for those with multiple heart conditions. It also has strong diuretic properties and are used in the treatment of certain kinds of edema especially those related to heart conditions as it reduces the fluid in the body thus reducing blood pressure which can lessen the load on the heart.

Warning. using Digitalis to treat heart issues can be dangerous as the therapeutic dose is very close to the lethal dose. Since plants are variable it is not easy to determine the exact amount of digoxin contained in any plant so dosage is hard to determine. Pharmaceutical drugs have been standardized to provide a specific amount of digoxin in a dose so it is easy to determine how much is given and at what interval. Foxglove leaves should not be used unless by a very experienced herbalist who is able to test the plants beforehand.

Other uses of Common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).
Foxgloves make really lovely cut flowers and last about 5 days in fresh water. But an infusion of the leaves prolongs the life of these and all cut flowers.
The tall spikes can add lots of drama and interest to flower arrangements. White ones are really lovely for wedding displays.
An apple green dye can be made from the flowers. It is also reported that growing foxgloves near a root cellar helps them to store better.

All parts of this lovely plant are poisonous. Do not grow if small children and pets will be using the garden.

Other names.
purple foxglove, fairy gloves, fairy bells, lady's glove, ladies glove

Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.08 g 1000 Seeds $3.30
Medium 0.16 g 2000 Seeds $5.80

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info