Foxgloves are a staple of many cottage gardens up and down these isles, but are they a perennial plant or something else entirely?
Are Foxgloves Perennial
During the first year of a foxglove’s life, they tend to only put on leafy growth and not flower. Flowering is not unheard of in the first year but it is quite rare. If your plant does flower in its first year it will still usually flower well in its second so don’t panic!
Perennial foxgloves do exist, it’s just that the standard foxgloves you normally see are biennial.
Perennial foxgloves are much the same as biennial ones but often their flower displays are not quite as prolific as biennial ones.
They like the same kind of soil as regular foxgloves. This is rich, well-draining, loamy soil. They also like dappled shade rather than being out in full sun.
How To Get A Foxglove Display Every Year
So if you want flowers every year what do you need to do? The answer is simple but requires a little more work to set up.
Essentially you need to have a staggered system set up, where you have some foxgloves in their first year and some in their second year at all times.
This means you will never be without flowers come summertime.
And the best thing about growing your foxgloves like this is that once it is up and running you can leave the plants to it. They will self-seed every year giving you fresh plants every year.
Then because the flowering is staggered the seeding will be staggered. So you will have a perpetual cycle of young plants not flowering and older plants flowering from now on. It goes without saying that with this method you need to let the plants self-seed, so no overactive deadheading!
More On Foxgloves
Foxgloves (Digitalis) is a flowering plant that actually contains biennials, perennials and shrubs all under the common name foxglove.
These plants are native to Europe and even parts of northern Africa, they are woodland plants and as such love a little bit of shade.
As most people are aware foxgloves are poisonous if digested. The active ingredient in foxgloves that makes them poisonous also works as a medicine and as such, numerous drugs are made using foxgloves.
Fatalities are rare from foxgloves but they do occur and for this reason, it is important to take care when gardening with foxglove, wear gloves when handling them and make sure you avoid touching your eyes or mouth after handling them.
Most fatalities actually occur when the plant has been mistaken for something else and digested in large quantities.
Numerous reports have also been of young children dying after drinking the vase water that foxgloves have been in. This is definitely something to think about if you plan on using them as a cut flower and your house has children or grandchildren in it!