Foxglove is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to western and southwestern Europe. It is known for its striking tall spikes of tubular flowers that bloom in shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow. The flowers are attractive to pollinators, especially bees and hummingbirds. Foxglove is also known for its medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to treat various ailments. However, all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested and should be handled with care. It is commonly grown in cottage gardens, borders, and woodland settings.
How to Grow Foxglove Organically
- Select a planting site: Foxglove prefers a partial shade to full sun location with well-drained soil. They can grow in most soil types, but prefer slightly acidic soil.
- Prepare the soil: Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and remove any rocks or debris. Add compost or aged manure to the soil to improve soil fertility and drainage.
- Plant the seeds or seedlings: Foxglove can be grown from seeds or seedlings. If you are planting seeds, sow them in late summer to early fall, lightly cover with soil, and keep the soil consistently moist until they germinate. If you are planting seedlings, space them 18 to 24 inches apart.
- Water the plants: Foxglove prefers consistent moisture, so water the plants deeply once a week, especially during dry spells.
- Fertilize the plants: Foxglove does not require much fertilizer, but you can fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, once or twice a year.
- Deadhead the flowers: Deadhead the flowers regularly to encourage more blooms. Cut off the flowers as soon as they start to fade.
- Mulch the plants: Apply a layer of mulch around the plants to help conserve moisture and keep the soil cool.
- Watch for pests and diseases: Foxglove can be prone to aphids, slugs, and leaf spot diseases. Treat any problems as soon as they are noticed.
Foxglove is a beautiful and striking plant that adds vertical interest to any garden. It is also an important medicinal plant, containing digitalis, a powerful cardiac stimulant used to treat heart failure. With these steps, you can grow your own foxglove and enjoy its beauty and benefits. However, it’s important to note that all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested, so keep it away from children and pets.