4 to 6 feet.
Flowers of several colours, June and July.
The Foxglove, though called a perennial, generally
behaves and should always be treated as a biennial.
Occasionally a stray plant may survive to a second
year, but the majority flower themselves to death
the first season.
The wild Foxglove of the woods
and hedge-sides may be imported into the garden,
and makes a fair show there; but from it many
beautiful cross-breeds have been raised, which
are more in keeping with the works of man.
these are a pure white, a white spotted, wither
heavily or minutely with purple and rusty brown;
and several shades of purple and rose, both light
The hybrid kinds are much taller than
the wild plant, and carry a much fuller and more
gracefully elastic spire of bells. A stock of
plants may be raised by sowing seed in shallow
drills in fine soil in the open air about the
end of May.
The seed-bed may be under shade from
a wall or trees for part of the day; heat and
drought must be avoideDigitalis
The seedlings must be
pricked out before they are crowded; few things
better repay careful handling during this operation
and watering if rain fail.
By October the plants should be heavy tufts a
foot or eighteen inches across; they may be put
out in their flowering stations any time before
They may be grouped in threes of fours
in mixed shrubbery borders, or may be planted
in large masses and irregular lines wherever room
can be found for them.
They will grow and flower
well in shade and under trees, where little else
The ground should be well dug for
them, and enriched with plenty of leaves, half
decayed, and in the form of moulDigitalis The flower-spikes
are elastic and self-reliant, and ought not under
any conditions to need sticks.
little attention after they are planted, but the
destruction of weeds, a light top-dressing of
leaf-mould and wood ashes among the plants (not
over them) in April, and a good watering in drought,
will amply repay the gardener who has the time
for such additions.
As a rule,
the plants may be cleared away when the last bells
of the spike have fallen; but if the ground where
they stand is not required, they may be left alone,
and will presently produce a crop of self-sown
seedlings, which may in time spread and stock
a whole garden.
The variety Digitalis lutea grandiflora
is a true perennial, forming a ground-tuft of
leaves, darker and glossier than in the white
and purple-flowered sorts, and sending up for
many years spikes of pale yellow flowers with
a rusty tinge.
It is well worth growing, will stand a good deal
of shade, and may be raised from seed with a little
more care than the rest demands. It should be
planted out from October to March, and established
clumps should be divided and re-planted every
third or fourth year.
See also: Digitalis