The perennial foxglove is the perfect additions to any shade garden that is guaranteed to thrill year after year. The large plant often towers 6 feet in height but small varieties are available that range in size from 3 to 4 feet. Grow foxgloves in Zones 4 to 10 for best results. The plants prefer well draining acidic soil conditions.
Choose a location that offers shade. When planting add abundant compost or organic matter to the soil. Foxgloves adore sites that offer rich soil nutrients. Adding aged manure or peat moss to the soil at the time of planting is ideal. The soil should feel and smell rich. It should have the appearance of being crumbly to the touch.
Space foxglove plants at least 16 inches apart to offer enough room for the light green foliage that forms a large rosette shaped mound. Foxgloves spread rapidly and it is advised that every three to four years the plants be divided and transplanted into a new location. Foxgloves easily naturalize an area and offer a wonderful meadow appearance when allowed to grow wild with other wildflowers.
Foxgloves are easily grown from seeds but will not flower until the plant reaches one year of age. Sow seeds after all danger of frost has passed. Plant seeds 1/2-inches deep in the soil.
Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the foxglove plants. The mulch offers summertime protection for the plants root system against the intense heat, the mulch also offers wintertime protection, it helps soil retain water and keeps weeds down. Peat moss or bark chips are ideal mulch for use around foxgloves.
Foxgloves are adored by bees and hummingbirds so plant in a location where you can enjoy watching the activity. Locating them outside a window is often a wonderful way to enjoy the show.
Water foxgloves weekly to keep the soil moist. The foxglove does not tolerate dry soil conditions well. Use a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose so the plants flowers and foliage does not become wet. The large flower spikes will easily be weighed down with water and often bend or break under the weight.
Clip spent flower heads to encourage side shoots to develop and flower. Leave the flower heads on the plant if you wish the plant to produce ample seeds and spread.
Taller varieties of foxgloves often require garden staking to stay upright in wind. Use a simple garden stake and loosely tie the plant using cotton rope.
Each spring work 2 or 3 inches of aged manure around the base of the foxgloves as they emerge. Aged manure will add much needed nutrients to the soil.