Sheena explains why Foxgloves are great this summer
The foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, is one of the most familiar of our wild flowers and a must for any woodland garden.
Digitalin, which is extracted from it, is a powerful poison and an important drug in the treatment of heart complaints so beware of planting if you have young children.
Digitalis purpurea is a biennial and seeds freely when happy. Since it does not produce flowers until its second year, you must plant them two years running if you want to have foxgloves every summer.
The creamy white Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora is one of the most popular varieties and looks wonderful when planted in an informal cottage garden scheme. As with all foxgloves, it requires a moist soil and dappled shade; in the wild it grows under hedgerows so it’s best to try and duplicate those conditions to keep them happy.
If you want a foxglove that will last more than two years, the perennial Digitalis x mertonensis may fit the bill. The flowers are a pinkish buff and it makes the perfect companion with wafty Stipa tenuissima.