Two years ago, just for the fun of it, a package of foxglove seeds, digitalis purpurea ‘Apricot’, was picked up at the local WalMart. Lightheartedly tossed into a pot on top of a little vermiculite sprinkled over seed starting mix with a dusting more of vermiculite on top of that, watered and placed on a shelf in the good old greenhouse/sunroom, it was then forgotten.

In a short time, as the orchids were getting their misting,it was noticed that the pot of foxgloves had germinated, it seemed like every single seed had come to life. We had a wealth of foxgloves. Sturdy little guys they were too, being moved to larger quarters, nearly all survived that ordeal. Next stop, out into the garden to grow on until the next year, being biennials. They sprout one year, grow on and then flower the following year. That is their life cycle.

Planted at various spots in the garden, this patch at the base of the shed, facing north at the top of the hill, with excellent drainage performed like champs.

Walking around with the camera, taking pictures of this and that, including the copper praying mantis in the rusty wheelbarrow, the eye is drawn to those scapes at the top of the step stones. Must go up.

Never mind the lovely dianthus ‘Firewitch’ lining the path, or the white and yellow iris in full regalia, the foxgloves are singing their siren song.

Apricot is not really very descriptive of the color, it is more like a pink sea shell interior, but still breathtaking. Foxgloves have been grown in gardens since medieval times with magical lore surrounding them. In researching foxgloves it was learned they have numerous names, many associated with fairies. It was read that planting foxgloves was an invitation for fairies to enter your garden. Very appropriate for our new fairy gazebo complete with bench.

Peeking from behind the shed, they are a vision of startling beauty.

We can’t get enough of them, we want to drink of their loveliness until drunk from it.

Hey now, a rogue purple in the purpurea! It looks good!

Planted along the deck wall with pink and white astilbes, the flowers are at eye level, easy to inspect each ‘glove’ to see what mysteries lie within.

Later in the month of May, as the eryngiums come into their own time in the sun, the seed heads are forming on the foxgloves, to keep us well stocked with the self sown babies. There are many young plants now thriving in the area at the corner of the shed that are the offspring from those shown in this group of photos. In addition a packet of seeds from Thompson and Morgan with the delightful name of Candy Mountain were started and planted out last spring. We should be well stocked with a range of colorful blooms to be photographed and posted about some time in May for your viewing pleasure.

One of the happiest of surprises, an original plant has lived on to bloom again, the brown flower stalk still showing in the center of the lush leaves. As with most flowers, a mass planting is breathtaking. That will be our goal, to grow masses of these most exquisite charmers every year.


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46 Responses to Foxgloves

  1. chuck b. says:

    Frances, you might not believe this, but I also sowed an apricot foxglove last year, Digitalis purpurea ‘Apricot Beauty’. The plants are getting quite large, so the inflorescences should be impressive. I hope to see them in April and/or May.

    And, like you, it seemed like every seed germinated. I had enough extra plants to give several to my neighbor.

    Have you visited the blog Lake County POV? Hank there is nuts for foxglove and planted a huge garden of it for bloom this year. He’s dubbed the scene Digitalistan.

  2. Frances says:

    chuck b…I would believe anything you said. Surely you will have the sea of foxgloves, maybe not Digitalistan however. Visited that site, was deeply impressed, added it to the sidebar, thanks for making me aware of it.

  3. The County Clerk says:


    I love them. Your garden is sumptuous.

    Plant more Digitalis!


  4. Frances says:

    County Clerk, Hank…thanks and welcome. You bet more digitalis will be planted!

  5. jodi says:

    I adore foxgloves too (yeah, I know, is there any plant I don’t love–but you understand plant adorations, obviously.) Have you tried Milk Chocolate yet? Very different from these more showy types, but wonderful. And what about yellow digitalis (there are two species at least)? A local nursery staffer told me today they’re getting in ‘Candy Mountain’, the one that grows with upward-facing ‘gloves’…you KNOW I won’t be able to resist that!

  6. Frances says:

    Jodi…I have tried several of the species, grandiflora, yellow, and ferruginea, small brownish, and mertonensis, rose colored. I need to try them again, now being a more mature gardener who can appreciate more subtle beauty.

  7. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    Your foxglove is gorgeous! I grew some from seed last year and they should bloom this year. I can’t wait!

  8. WiseAcre says:

    When you said the magic words “Mass Planting” I suddenly had visions. I’m thinking 100 or so might be a decent addition to an area I want to ‘naturalize’.

  9. Frances says:

    Robin’s Nesting Place…Thanks, you should have a good crop, lots of photo ops there to save for use in the winter!

    Wiseacre…That would certainly be a mass planting, 100 foxgloves, and easily done they way the seeds germinate so easily. How beautiful!

    brokenbeat…sorry that ‘a blog administrator’, me, removed your comment. Do try again.

  10. Anonymous says:

    More foxgloves. I can’t wait to see the show this year!I am growing one now called Dedalera “Dwarf Foxy” that is supposed to bloom the same year. We will see. love semi

  11. Gail says:


    Beautiful, beautiful and even more beautiful I haven’t seen foxglove that lovely in a Tennessee garden, well ever…they are perfect for a Faire garden.


    you are so right about mulching the heuchera…they needed more, more, more. Anything you say three times is true.

  12. Gail says:


    I have been meaning to tell you that I love that you include the bloggers first names by their blog name.
    Such a friendly, personal touch…


  13. kate says:

    Your Foxgloves are beautiful – I was thinking as I looked at the pictures, that the blooms were more pink than apricot. Thank you for confirming this.

    I have Foxgloves growing on my stenciled wall, but not in my garden. They don’t survive the winter wet here. I hope to remedy that one day.

    The garden house is really attractive especially framed by such beautiful flowers.

  14. Frances says:

    semi…Can’t wait to see your new dwarf foxglove!


    Kate…Thanks, maybe you will be able to find a spot to grow them with good drainage, they are worth extra effort. We do love the shed, it makes everything around it look good.

  15. Carol says:

    Did you know that the spots on the flowers of foxglove are really garden fairies’ footprints? They indeed do attract garden fairies.

    I have not been able to grow foxglove so that they reseed, makes me sad indeed because I love them and would like for them to sow themselves all over the place.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  16. Frances says:

    Carol…Oh how wonderful, that means we may have fairies abouts. I tried for years to get them to self sow, and this apricot batch did it, although there were so many of them, that probably helped the odds. I always buy some more seeds, just in case of failures.

  17. Nan Ondra says:

    I adore foxgloves, but they don’t return the favor, so I’m grateful that you’ve shared yours, Frances, and I look forward to seeing this year’s batch. I like Carol’s story about the spots, but that makes me wonder about the unspotted ones: Are they somehow deemed not worthy of being visited, or does it mean that one’s garden is faerie-free?

  18. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    You’ve really got the knack for growing Foxgloves. They had naturalized around the house where I grew up, so that I thought they were native wildflowers. I tried growing them in the garden here at Squirrelhaven, but they failed to return. :^( Did you know that the name “Foxglove” is a corruption of the term “folk’s glove,” so named because the flower looks like a small glove belonging to the wee folk? I always loved that idea.

  19. Frances says:

    Nan…Thanks,it was assumed that all could grow this plant, but it seems not. They like the elusive moist but well drained partial shade soil, and new seed should be sown every year, like annuals, really if you want a continuing crop. I can’t remember if these had freckles either, so we need some that do, to insure the fairy element!

    MMD…Welcome back from your trip. I read your post about your parent’s home, but know nothing about tropical plants. That is sweet about the wee folk, more must be learned about their flower preferences so we can make their at ease here.

  20. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances, Love your Foxgloves. I am sure your garden fairies feel the same way. Unfortunately my garden fairies don’t have the luxury of foxgloves. I am unable to get them to reseed. I sometimes succumb to them in the garden center and have them one year but they never return. SIGH~~
    I will have to enjoy them vicariously through your garden.

  21. Frances says:

    Hi early bird Lisa…Thanks. The foxglove success here is not without effort. I plant new seeds every year and try to sprinkle the dried seed heads about outside. The self sown ones are just a bonus. These are not like the hellebores, which sow seed with abandon. Try again!

  22. tina says:

    lucky you! i purchased a pot about three years ago, hoped they would self seed but never had no luck. now it appears as though something is determined to grow where the foxgloves were planted. they are rosettes like yours, but not as big and i just can’t be sure. do you think it could be? i hope so, yours are so beautiful.

  23. tina says:

    mr. mcgregor’s daughter, i did not know that about foxgloves. how interesting and thanks!

  24. The Giraffe Head Tree says:

    Such a vision, your Foxgloves! We all look forward to a stunning presentation of your yearly crop in May. Wonderful inspiration, your blog!

  25. Frances says:

    tina…It sounds like you have some baby foxgloves, good deal!

    Giraffe Head Tree…Hope this year’s crop is as good as last year’s, thanks.

  26. Dave says:

    I’ve always been tempted to try them. After looking here I may just have to get a few for the garden. Add yet another thing to the to-do list!

  27. Weeping Sore says:

    I love your thought about drinking in the beauty of the foxgloves until you’re drunk. I also love the tour of your eclectic garden. A place to get lost in…

  28. Frances says:

    Dave…Thanks. That do to list will never end, you know that, right?

    Weepingsore…Thanks, the garden is a good place to lose yourself, I do it often.

  29. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    I have always loved foxgloves, but have never planted them because they are so poisonous – aren’t they? Isn’t the heart medicine digitalis made from foxgloves? (I could also be displaying some ignorance here…if I am, set me straight!)

    I love the tour of your garden, especially the little shed. Thanks for sharing..

  30. Frances says:

    Sherry at the Zoo…Research showed that the foxglove plant is poisonous if eaten. The drug for heart conditions is derived from digitalis, you are correct. If you have concerns about something or someone eating this plant, it would be best not to plant it. Our pets are indoor cats, but there are strays around and Kitty sometimes goes out with me into the garden. My other cat Hazel, is a terrible plant eater, but she is always inside. I am not very smart about what plants are poisonous, other than poison ivy and oak, which we have all around us outside the property boundaries. Thanks for that reminder.

  31. Crafty Gardener says:

    Your foxgloves are magnificent Frances. They remind me of the ones I grew in my garden in England. I just have never had luck growing them here in my present garden. Perhaps I will try again, after seeing yours I am inspired.

  32. Crafty Gardener says:

    I see you mentioned about foxgloves and fairies. I did a post about a fairy door I found and just had to have for the garden. The legend has it that the fairies sleep in the flowers and the spots inside the flowers are supposed to be the fairy footprints. So be sure to check your foxgloves for spots and you’ll know for sure that you have fairies in the garden.
    The Fairy Cottage

  33. Frances says:

    Crafty…Thanks. You definitely need to grow those foxgloves for your little door and windows, so sweet! But I agree with Carol, the gnome may be scaring them away! I am still researching the proper plants to attract the fairies, we already have many of them growing here, they just need to be gathered around the new gazebo.

  34. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    I just love foxgloves! And your portait of them is great – makes me realize that I haven’t got any apricot digitalis in my garden – yet!

  35. Ewa says:

    I also love foxgloves – they are so beautiful and so easy growers. They are welcomed everywhere in my garden.

  36. Marie says:

    Your blog is very beautiful! Please visit me at Heimdal 🙂

  37. Frances says:

    Katarina…Thanks. The foxgloves are a great addition to any garden. The apricot is really more pink but beautiful.

    Ewa…Thanks. The foxgloves are welcome wherever they decide to pop up.

    Marie…Thanks and welcome. I have visited Heimdal and love it.

  38. Chickenpoet says:

    I hope the little baby foxgloves whose fate so happened to end up in the cement planter, grow to be as magnificent as their ancestors. Much Love and glad to be back on track.

  39. Frances says:

    chickenpoet…I forgot about those. They need to be planted out in the garden, more space between to let them reach their potential. You can leave a few in the pot, but move most of them to a garden bed, you should have a wonderful show this

  40. Rosehaven Cottage says:

    I just planted Apricot foxgloves for the first time in our garden just yesterday. I’m so excited because up until now we’ve only had Foxy. Foxgloves are a huge favorite of mine and I love how they reseed themselves so nicely. Hubby likes to joke that some little fox is missing its gloves.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  41. Connie says:

    Lovely post….I very fond of foxgloves….they scream “Cottage
    Garden.” 😉 I started ‘Sutton’s Apricot’ from seed last year and can’t wait to see it bloom this spring!

  42. Frances says:

    Cindy…Funny hubby! Hope you foxgloves make you happy.

    Connie…Cottage style gardening is my favorite, so far people have mentioned Apricot Dream and now Sutton’s Apricot, I wonder if they are all the same, mine from WalMart just said Apricot!

  43. Frances says:

    Gail…Sorry this is out of sequence, your comment got put in the wrong file accidently. That is very nice of you to notice, I do put the names when they are known to help me and others keep track of who does the blogging, I have trouble remembering since there are now so many wonderful bloggers out there.

  44. shirl says:

    Hey, Frances lovely post 🙂

    I grew some from seed a few years ago and what a show I had too. Although the variety that I had was nothing like yours which is a beauty. I eventually pulled mine out as I don’t have a lot of space for one plant to take over. However in your setting they look great 😀

  45. Frances says:

    Shirl…Thanks. The leaves do get large and have to be left so there will be flowers for the next year, and they look so much better in a larger group.

  46. Amelia Franer says:

    You do know that foxgloves are poisonous, right?

    Yes, I do.

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