I planted several transplants of foxgloves in a garden bed last year and they bloomed and grew well. I thought they were annuals and would die when winter came, and I was surprised to see that they have come back. What can you tell me about them?
Foxgloves, with their low-growing foliage and tall, dramatic flower spikes, are biennials, blooming in their second year, or short-lived perennials, according to the National Gardening Association. In a garden bed that contains foxgloves, the foliage begins to appear in spring, and by late spring or early summer they are usually ready to bloom.
They’re a nice addition to a garden bed because they’re low-maintenance, high-impact plants. They don’t need all-day sun to grow well (in fact, they’re good for gardens in light shade and woodland areas, NGA says). And while individual plants may not come back year after year, they multiply readily by self-sowing, so under the right conditions you can have foxgloves in your garden for years.
Foxgloves grow best in moist, well-drained soil. Plant transplants in early spring, or sow seeds in summer. With seeds, the first season’s growth will be a ground-hugging rosette of leaves; flower spikes will appear the second season, the plant will drop its seeds, and the cycle begins again.
One cautionary note: foxgloves leaves contain digitalis, and are considered poisonous.