Foxgloves are one of the flowers that instantly make you think of the countryside, or a cozy cottage garden. But how to grow foxglove from seed? Let’s find out!
It is not too tricky to grow these beautiful flowers from seed; all you need is a little time, care and patience, and you will be enjoying those bell shaped blooms with the best of them.
What You'll Learn Today
How To Grow Foxglove From Seed
Some plants are a little fussy to grow from seed – thankfully foxglove is not one of these and can be happily sprouted from seeds.
- Prepare a tray of moist compost – either the type used for seeds or for cuttings, as it will be fine and nutrient-filled.
- Scatter the seeds thinly over the surface of the soil, pressing them down lightly to allow them to contact the soil well.
- Do not be tempted to cover the seeds with compost – they need to feel the light on the seeds themselves.
- Moisten the soil with a spray bottle, so that the seeds get wet but aren’t damaged by a strong jet of water.
- Keep the tray in a warm place, and allow it plenty of light – foxgloves need good light in order to be able to germinate.
- The seeds should sprout in just a few days, but don’t panic if it takes a week or more before you see growth.
- Water the seedlings well in this first stage, to give them the best chances. You can either mist or bottom water, for best results.
- Prick the seedlings out once they are strong enough, and grow them on outside in larger pots for the next 4-6 weeks.
- Plant out the young plants where you want them to grow in September, and water them in well.
- By May or June your foxgloves should be strong and healthy and ready to produce those signature blooms!
- If you have planted biennial foxgloves, be aware that you won’t get flowers the first year after you planted them.
This detailed article tells you just about everything you need to know about growing foxgloves.
When Should I Plant Foxglove Seeds?
In the wild, foxgloves will spread their seeds after they have flowered, so you can emulate those conditions to get the best foxgloves.
Planting your seeds in the autumn will mimic their natural conditions and allow them a good long time to grow strong and healthy.
If you want to grow seeds for the best growth, sowing between April and July will give your seeds a good chance.
If you have a greenhouse or you are growing the seeds indoors, you can start your planting regime at any time – but remember that plants are generally dormant during the winter so this may not be the best time to plant.
Spring is generally the best time of year to plant any seeds – the plants will be doing their best growth at this time, so give them a helping hand by allowing their natural growth cycle.
Will Foxgloves Come Back Every Year?
There are two types of foxglove – the perennial and the biennial.
- The perennial type will come back after winter for two years, after which time the plant has reached the end of its life and it will die off.
- The biennial type will produce foliage the first year then flowers the second, before it too dies back for good.
- You can keep foxgloves blooming in your garden every single year if you stagger your plantings of these beautiful flowers.
- Having a mix of perennial and biennial foxgloves will ensure a constant crop of these elegant, old fashioned flowers.
Is It Ok To Touch Foxglove?
Foxglove contains Digitalis, which can affect the heart. It has been used as a medicine for hundreds of years, but we would not recommend that you ingest any part of the plant!
Although touching a foxglove certainly won’t kill you, experts do recommend wearing gloves if you have to handle the plant.
The cardiac glycosides in foxglove can be absorbed through the skin, so if you have any kind of heart trouble then stay away from this one!
Foxglove poisoning is extremely rare, so don’t panic if you have them in your garden – but caution is definitely recommended.
If you have children or pets, you should definitely keep your foxgloves separate. Kids and pets have a habit of putting things in their mouths – and this is not a plant that you want accidentally ingested.
Don’t panic – but certainly don’t eat foxgloves, and wear your own gloves when you are handling them, just to be on the safe side.
Here is an interesting video telling you about the potential problems with foxglove and why you should be careful with it, as well as its uses in modern medicine:
How Long Does It Take To Grow Foxgloves From Seed?
These lovely plants are pretty easygoing and easy to grow – and unlike some, they don’t have a very long germinating time.
Once you have sown the seeds, provided you have given them the right conditions, you should start to see sprouting from 2 weeks.
Some foxgloves may take longer than this; up to 3 weeks in some cases. Don’t panic if yours take a little longer though!
If the conditions are especially mild and your seeds have plenty of light and warmth, you may even see germination begin sooner than this.
You don’t have to do anything to the seeds before you plant them – no soaking, no freezing – just scatter them and you’re away!
Foxgloves Key Facts
|Scientific Name||Digitalis Purpurea|
|Light Requirements||Almost any – full sun to full shade|
|Soil Requirements||Well draining, moist soil|
|Temperature Requirements||Frost hardy, happy in summer and winter|
|Water Requirements||Water new plants well for a few months, established plants only need watering during long dry spells|
|Fertilizer Requirements||No need for fertilizer, just ensure the soil is rich in organic matter|
|Bloom Time||June to September|
|Size||Up to 2 metres tall|
Foxgloves are tall, graceful and elegant, and they are an excellent source of food for many different types of pollinators.
With this in mind, it is definitely a great idea to plant them from seed, as yopu can then enjoy their beautiful display right there in your garden.