Digitalis purpurea

Digitalis purpurea Foxy

This is the only sort of foxglove I have ever had luck with in my Sydney garden. It is an annual plant in our climate but often reappears each year via its self-seeding habit! The most reliable way to grow these plants is to purchase seedlings in late summer and grow them on individually in pots until around April, when the plants - sturdy by then - can be planted into the garden. If growing the plants from seed, sow them in mid-late summer and pot them on as described above. They seem to do best in a partly shaded spot with decent soil. They form a large basal rosette so should not be planted too close together. They benefit from regular applications of soluble fertiliser through autumn, winter and spring to form a good clump of foliage. 'Foxy' seems to be a reliable cultivar.

Digitalis purpurea Foxy in the garden

The tall flower spires (up to 1 m in height) appear in mid- to late spring and last quite a while. Each flower is like a long, tubular bell, flared out at its lower end, and exquisitely spotted within. The flower stems may benefit from staking so they don't snap off in windy weather. If the main stem is cut off when it has finished, secondary, smaller flower spikes may appear. Flowers are pink, purple, cream or white. The mixture of all the colours together can be most attractive. Foxglove flowers blend with the blooms of shrubs out at the same time: Brunfelsia and Mackaya bella (which both do well in a shaded spot), as well as Philadelphus and deciduous Viburnum.

All parts of this plant are toxic.

Flowers in October, November.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.