Scientific Name: Digitalis spp.
Common Names: Foxglove
Family: Plantaginaceae, formerly the Scrophulariaceae
Plant Type: Perennial or biennial, herbaceous
Environment: Likes acidic soils and deep shade to full sun, in a range of habitats including woodlands, mountain slopes, and sea cliffs. Commonly found on sites where the ground has been disturbed by recent clearing or burning
Bloom: Late spring through summer
Uses: Tall and stately, lovely in garden for vertical interest. Some may grow to six feet depending on the species and cultivar
Mediterranean Beds: 28, 71, 72
Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of shrubs, perennials, and biennials native to North Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia. The most common species in cultivation is D. purpurea, a species endemic to most of Europe. With flowers ranging from white, yellow, pink, and purple in cultivation, the common foxglove is a garden favorite.
As a biennial, the common foxglove matures and flowers in its second year. Its first year from seed is spent as a tight rosette — a short, vertical stem with leaves radiating outward. Nature's "solar panels,"" these leaves produce sugar via photosynthesis. In the second year, this rosette base serves as the energy factory and the support base for the tall flower stalk which develops. Some very healthy specimens can persist beyond two years, producing offsets at the rosette's base which can be divided. They also reseed readily. Common foxglove thrives in shade to part sun with moist, well-drained soil.
Though not native to the States, the common foxglove is welcomed by native bumblebee pollinators. It is recognized as a naturalized species along the West and East Coasts of North America, including Canada and Alaska.
IN BLOOM CONTRIBUTORS: Text by Corey Barnes and Profile by Mona Bourell. Photos by Joanne Taylor and Mona Bourell.