Foxglove – Digitalis purpurea

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) common foxglove, purple foxglove or lady’s glove.
Foxglove is a short lived flower with a rosette of soft, wrinkled, downy leaves with a tall spike of pink / purple flowers or on rare occasions, they can also be white.

This plant loves to grow in disturbed acidic soil that is in a lightly shaded area. Although it is most commonly associated with open woodland, it can also do well around river banks, rocky slopes, walls , wastelands and sea cliffs. As the preferd conditions are often dominated by larger more competative species of wild flower, the Foxglove makes up for this by producing more than 70,000 seeds per plant. These seeds can stay in the ground for many years before growing in the right conditions. The seed itself requires light to germinate, therefore it needs the ground to be distrubed before growing when the conditions are perfect. This flower is a particular favourite of the Bumblebee as a source of pollen and the nectar that it produces.

Foxglove is a short lived plant that has leaves arranged in a spiral, each leaf is around 10 – 35 cm in length and roughly 5 – 12 cm broad and are covered in white / grey hairs that give the leaves a woolly texture. During the first year of growth, there is no sign of a flower just the small rosette of leaves on the ground, it is during the second year that the flower begins to flourish. The stem itself can reach up to 2 meters tall and sometimes longer. The flowers appear in clusters of elongated petals arranged in a tubular shape. The traditional colours for this plant are purple, but they can occasionally be pink, red, yellow or even white. The inside of each flower is heavily spotted. 

Height: 60 – 150cm
Flowering Time: June – Sept
Preferred Conditions: Prefers sun or light shade in well drained soil.

Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea