When to grow foxgloves – the key dates to watch for

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Foxgloves are great for many types of gardeners from avid enthusiast to the lackadaisical gardener. They require very little care and will flower and see without much intervention. Foxgloves are trouble-free plants which may need protection in their younger phases.

The common foxglove, known as Digitalis purpurea, is a common wild plant which grows in many areas.

They are easy to recognise because they are large and the flowers are bell-shaped.

Foxgloves are tall and stately flowers which grow on steps and can reach up to six feet tall.

They grow in clusters of tubular-shaped blooms in a range of colours from pink to purple to white.

Most foxgloves are biennial which means they flower in their second year from seed, or they are short-lived perennials.

The majority of these flowers are also more-or-less evergreen, so their rosettes of green leaves remain throughout the winter.

The flowers are very nectar-rich and are very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Be warned – foxgloves are actually poisonous and can kill an adult human if any part of the plant is ingested.

If you have pets which are prone to eating plants – you should avoid growing foxgloves.

How to grow foxgloves

Foxgloves like moist but well-drained soil in full sun or full shade areas, depending on the variety.

You should deadhead your blooms after flowering to encourage a second bloom.

You should sow foxglove seeds outdoors in late spring or early summer in a well-prepared seedbed.

Keep the soil moist until germination takes place and ensure seedlings are kept around 15cm apart when they are large enough to handle and then thin them out to two feet apart into their flowering positions during the autumn for flowering the following year.

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When to plant foxgloves

You can plant foxgloves just about any time of year, except when the ground has frozen over, become waterlogged or is extremely dry.

They are best planted during the spring and autumn periods, directly into the garden.

After planting you should take care to water well.

To plant foxgloves, dig over the planting area and incorporate lots of organic matter.

Dig a good-sized hole which is large enough to easily accommodate the roofball.

Place the root ball into the planting hole and then adjust the planting depth so it can be planted at the same depth it was before.

Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole.

Water in the plant well, apply a granular general feed over the soil around the plant and add a two to three-inch deep mulch of well-rotted garden compost or bark chippings around the root area.

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