how to grow foxglove from seed

How to Grow Your Own Magical Foxglove Garden from Seeds

Key Takeaways
– Foxglove is a beautiful and beneficial flowering plant that attracts hummingbirds and bees, adds color and charm to any garden, and has medicinal and magical properties.
– You can grow foxglove from seed by following these steps: sowing, germinating, planting, caring, and propagating.
– Foxglove seeds are sown in late summer or early autumn, indoors or outdoors, in pots or trays, with well-drained and fertile soil.
– Foxglove seeds germinate in two to four weeks at 18 to 24 degrees Celsius, with regular soil moisture, weed removal, and thinning.
– Foxglove seedlings are planted in spring or autumn, in full sun or partial shade, in well-drained and rich soil, with 30 to 60 cm spacing.
– Foxglove plants are watered deeply but infrequently, fertilized once or twice a year, pruned and deadheaded regularly, and protected from harsh weather, pests, and diseases.
– Foxglove plants are propagated by collecting and storing seeds from mature plants or by dividing established clumps in spring or autumn.
how to grow foxglove from seed

Have you ever dreamed of having a magical garden full of enchanting flowers that attract hummingbirds and bees? Do you want to add some color and charm to your cottage garden with plants that have a long history of medicinal and mystical uses? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to consider growing foxglove from seed.

Foxglove, also known as digitalis, is a flowering plant with bell-shaped flowers that come in various colors, such as purple, pink, white, yellow, or orange. Foxglove is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, but it has been introduced to many other parts of the world as an ornamental or medicinal plant. There are over 20 species and hundreds of varieties of foxglove, each with its own characteristics and preferences.

Foxglove is not only a beautiful plant, but also a beneficial one. Foxglove flowers attract hummingbirds and bees, which help pollinate your garden and provide honey. Foxglove leaves contain a substance called digitalin, which is used to treat heart problems and other conditions. Foxglove also has magical properties, such as warding off evil spirits, enhancing psychic abilities, or attracting fairies.

In this article, we will show you how to grow foxglove from seed by following these steps: sowing, germinating, planting, caring, and propagating. We will also give you some tips on how to choose the best location and companions for your foxglove plants, how to avoid common problems during the growing process, and how to enjoy the beauty and benefits of your foxglove flowers.

How to Sow Foxglove Seeds

close-up photo of hands sowing foxglove seeds onto soil-filled pots or seed trays

The first step to grow foxglove from seed is sowing. Sowing is the process of placing the seeds on or in the soil where they will grow into plants. Here are some things you need to know about sowing foxglove seeds:

  • When to sow: The best time to sow foxglove seeds is in late summer or early autumn (August to October), when the soil is still warm but not too hot. This will give the seeds enough time to germinate before winter and produce flowers in the next spring or summer.
  • Where to sow: You can sow foxglove seeds either indoors or outdoors, depending on your climate and preference. If you sow them indoors, you will need pots or trays with drainage holes, potting soil, and a sunny windowsill or a grow light. If you sow them outdoors, you will need a spot in your garden with well-drained and fertile soil, full sun or partial shade, and protection from strong winds or heavy rains.
  • How to sow: To sow foxglove seeds, you will need to prepare the soil and the seeds first. For the soil, you will need to loosen it with a fork or a rake, remove any weeds or rocks, and mix in some compost or organic matter. For the seeds, you will need to moisten them slightly with water, but not soak them. Then, you will need to scatter them lightly over the surface of the soil, and cover them with a thin layer of soil or vermiculite (a mineral that helps retain moisture and prevent fungal growth). You don’t need to bury them too deep, as they need some light to germinate. Finally, you will need to water them gently with a fine spray or a mist bottle, and label them with the date and variety.

Here are some tips on how to ensure successful sowing of foxglove seeds:

  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy, as too much water can cause the seeds to rot or drown. You can use a plastic cover or a glass lid to create a mini greenhouse effect and maintain the humidity, but make sure to remove it once the seeds sprout.
  • Place the pots or trays in a warm and bright place, but not in direct sunlight, as too much heat can dry out the soil or damage the seedlings. The ideal temperature for foxglove seed germination is between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius (64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Check the pots or trays daily for signs of germination, which usually takes two to four weeks for foxglove seeds. You will see tiny green shoots emerging from the soil, which are the first leaves of the seedlings.
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How to Germinate Foxglove Seeds

how to grow foxglove from seed

The second step to grow foxglove from seed is germinating. Germinating is the process of developing from a seed into a seedling, which is a young plant with roots, stems, and leaves. Here are some things you need to know about germinating foxglove seeds:

  • How long: Foxglove seeds usually germinate in two to four weeks, depending on the temperature, moisture, and light conditions. Some seeds may germinate faster or slower than others, so don’t worry if you see some variation among your pots or trays.
  • How to monitor: To monitor the germination process of foxglove seeds, you will need to check the soil moisture regularly, remove any weeds or debris that may compete with or harm the seedlings, and thin out any overcrowded seedlings that may hinder their growth. You can use a pair of scissors or tweezers to carefully cut or pluck out any excess seedlings, leaving only one or two healthy ones per pot or tray.
  • How to maintain: To maintain the germination process of foxglove seeds, you will need to continue watering them gently with a fine spray or a mist bottle, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. You will also need to provide them with enough light, but not too much heat. You can move them to a brighter location, such as a sunny windowsill or a grow light, but make sure to avoid direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. You can also start fertilizing them with a diluted liquid fertilizer once a week, following the instructions on the label.

Here are some tips on how to avoid common problems during the germination process of foxglove seeds:

  • Damping off: This is a fungal disease that causes the seedlings to wilt and die. It is caused by poor drainage, excessive moisture, low air circulation, or contaminated soil. To prevent it, you can use sterile potting soil, vermiculite, plastic covers, and good ventilation. To treat it, you can use fungicides, cinnamon, or chamomile tea.
  • Fungal infections: These are diseases that cause spots, patches, or powdery coatings on the leaves or stems of the seedlings. They are caused by high humidity, poor air circulation, or infected plants. To prevent them, you can use clean pots and tools, good ventilation, and proper spacing. To treat them, you can use fungicides, baking soda, or neem oil.
  • Pests: These are insects or animals that feed on or damage the seedlings. They include slugs, snails, aphids, caterpillars, mice, birds, etc. They are attracted by moist soil, tender leaves, or sweet sap. To prevent them, you can use barriers, traps, repellents, or predators. To treat them, you can use pesticides, insecticidal soap, or manual removal.

How to Plant Foxglove Seedlings

how to grow foxglove from seed

The third step to grow foxglove from seed is planting. Planting is the process of transferring the seedlings from pots or trays to the garden where they will grow into mature plants. Here are some things you need to know about planting foxglove seedlings:

  • When to plant: The best time to plant foxglove seedlings is in spring or autumn (March to May or September to November), when the soil is moist and cool but not frozen. This will give the seedlings enough time to establish their roots and adapt to their new environment before the hot or cold season.
  • Where to plant: You can plant foxglove seedlings in any spot in your garden that has well-drained and rich soil, full sun or partial shade, and protection from strong winds or heavy rains. Foxglove plants can grow up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall and 60 cm (2 feet) wide, so make sure to leave enough space for them to spread and bloom.
  • How to plant: To plant foxglove seedlings, you will need to transplant them from pots or trays to the garden. Here are the steps to do it:
    • Dig holes twice as wide and deep as the root ball of each seedling, using a trowel or a shovel.
    • Fill the holes with a mixture of soil and compost, leaving some space for the seedlings.
    • Carefully remove the seedlings from their pots or trays, holding them by their stems and not by their roots.
    • Place one seedling in each hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
    • Fill the remaining space with soil and compost, gently pressing it around the seedlings.
    • Water the seedlings well, using a watering can or a hose.
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Here are some tips on how to choose the best location and companions for your foxglove plants:

  • Avoid planting foxglove plants in windy or wet areas, as they can cause the stems to snap or the roots to rot. You can also stake them with bamboo sticks or wire cages for extra support.
  • Plant foxglove plants near walls or fences, as they can provide shelter and backdrop for their tall and colorful flowers. You can also use them as border plants or focal points in your garden design.
  • Pair foxglove plants with other cottage garden plants that have similar growing conditions and contrasting colors or shapes, such as roses, delphiniums, lavender, hollyhocks, poppies, or daisies.

How to Care for Foxglove Plants

photo showing the watering of foxglove plants with a watering can

The fourth step to grow foxglove from seed is caring. Caring is the process of maintaining and improving the health and appearance of your plants throughout the growing season. Here are some things you need to know about caring for foxglove plants:

  • How to water: Foxglove plants need regular watering, especially during dry spells or hot weather. You should water them deeply but infrequently, about once a week or when the top few inches of soil feel dry. You should avoid watering them too often or too lightly, as this can cause shallow roots or fungal growth. You should also avoid watering them from above or splashing water on their leaves, as this can cause leaf spot or powdery mildew. You should water them at the base of their stems, using a watering can or a soaker hose.
  • How to fertilize: Foxglove plants need moderate fertilizing, especially during their flowering period. You should apply a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) once or twice a year, in spring and/or summer. You should follow the instructions on the label and use half the recommended dose, as too much fertilizer can cause weak stems or reduced flowering. You should also avoid fertilizing them in late summer or autumn, as this can encourage new growth that may not survive winter.
  • How to prune: Foxglove plants need occasional pruning, especially after their blooming season. You should cut back any faded or damaged stems or leaves, using a pair of scissors or pruners. This will help improve air circulation, prevent diseases, and encourage more flowering. You should also remove any spent flowers (deadhead) regularly, using your fingers or a pair of scissors. This will prevent self-seeding (unless you want more plants) and stimulate more blooming.
  • How to protect: Foxglove plants need some protection from harsh weather conditions, such as frost, heat, or wind. You should mulch them in winter with straw, leaves, or bark, to prevent frost damage and keep the soil moist and warm. You should provide shade in summer with an umbrella, a cloth, or a net, to prevent heat stress and fading of colors. You should stake them in windy areas with bamboo sticks or wire cages, to prevent snapping or bending of stems.

Here are some tips on how to deal with common pests and diseases that affect foxglove plants:

  • Slugs and snails: These are mollusks that feed on the leaves and stems of foxglove plants, leaving holes or slime trails. They are active at night or during wet weather. To prevent them, you can use barriers, such as copper tape, eggshells, or gravel, around the base of your plants. To treat them, you can use traps, such as beer, salt, or coffee grounds, near your plants. You can also use pesticides, such as iron phosphate or diatomaceous earth, on the soil.
  • Aphids: These are small insects that suck the sap from the leaves and stems of foxglove plants, causing curling, yellowing, or wilting. They also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which attracts ants and fungi. They are active in spring and summer. To prevent them, you can use predators, such as ladybugs, lacewings, or hoverflies, in your garden. To treat them, you can use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or rubbing alcohol, on the affected parts.
  • Caterpillars: These are larvae of butterflies or moths that chew on the leaves and flowers of foxglove plants, leaving holes or frass (droppings). They are active in spring and summer. To prevent them, you can use repellents, such as garlic, hot pepper, or mint, around your plants. To treat them, you can use pesticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) or spinosad, on the affected parts. You can also use manual removal, such as picking them off by hand or using a vacuum cleaner.
  • Leaf spot: This is a fungal disease that causes brown or black spots on the leaves of foxglove plants. It is caused by poor drainage, excessive moisture, low air circulation, or infected plants. It is active in spring and autumn. To prevent it, you can use clean pots and tools, good drainage, proper spacing, and good ventilation. To treat it, you can use fungicides, such as copper sulfate or sulfur, on the affected parts. You can also remove and destroy any infected leaves.
  • Powdery mildew: This is a fungal disease that causes white or gray powdery coatings on the leaves or stems of foxglove plants. It is caused by high humidity, poor air circulation, or infected plants. It is active in summer and autumn. To prevent it, you can use clean pots and tools, good ventilation, and proper spacing. To treat it, you can use fungicides, such as potassium bicarbonate or sulfur, on the affected parts. You can also remove and destroy any infected leaves.
  • Rust: This is a fungal disease that causes orange or yellow pustules on the undersides of the leaves of foxglove plants. It is caused by wet weather, poor air circulation, or infected plants. It is active in spring and summer. To prevent it, you can use clean pots and tools, good drainage, proper spacing, and good ventilation. To treat it, you can use fungicides, such as copper sulfate or sulfur, on the affected parts. You can also remove and destroy any infected leaves.
  • Crown rot: This is a fungal disease that causes the base of the stems and roots of foxglove plants to rot and collapse. It is caused by poor drainage, excessive moisture, or infected plants. It is active in winter and spring. To prevent it, you can use well-drained and fertile soil, raised beds or containers, and good drainage. To treat it, you can use fungicides, such as copper sulfate or sulfur, on the affected parts. You can also remove and destroy any infected plants.
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How to Propagate Foxglove Plants

photo displaying foxgloves seed pods that have dried with mature seeds ready for collection

The fifth and final step to grow foxglove from seed is propagating. Propagating is the process of creating new plants from existing ones, either by seeds or by division. Here are some things you need to know about propagating foxglove plants:

  • How to collect and store seeds: You can collect foxglove seeds from mature plants that have finished flowering and produced seed pods. Here are the steps to do it:
    • Wait until the seed pods turn brown and dry, usually in late summer or autumn.
    • Shake them gently over a paper bag or envelope to release the seeds. You can also cut off the whole stem and place it upside down in a paper bag to collect the seeds.
    • Sift out any chaff or debris from the seeds using a fine sieve or a colander.
    • Label the bag or envelope with the date and variety of the seeds.
    • Store them in a cool and dry place until you are ready to sow them.
  • How to divide plants: You can divide foxglove plants from established clumps that have grown too large or crowded. Here are the steps to do it:
    • Dig up the clumps in spring or autumn, using a spade or a fork.
    • Split them into smaller sections with a sharp knife or a spade, making sure that each section has at least one stem and some roots.
    • Replant them in new locations, following the same steps as planting seedlings.
    • Water them well, using a watering can or a hose.

Here are some tips on how to ensure successful propagation of foxglove plants:

  • Choose healthy and vigorous plants to collect seeds or divide clumps from, as they will have better germination and growth rates.
  • Avoid cross-pollination with other varieties of foxglove, as this can result in hybrid seeds that may not have the same characteristics as the parent plants. You can isolate your plants with mesh bags or paper cones, or hand-pollinate them with a brush or a cotton swab.
  • Sow or divide fresh seeds or plants, as they will have higher viability and vitality. You can sow your seeds as soon as you collect them, or store them for up to a year in a cool and dry place. You can divide your plants as soon as you dig them up, or store them for a few days in a shady and moist place.

Conclusion

aerial landscape photo showing foxgloves planted in a garden among other plants

In this article, we have shown you how to grow foxglove from seed by following these steps: sowing, germinating, planting, caring, and propagating. We have also given you some tips on how to choose the best location and companions for your foxglove plants, how to avoid common problems during the growing process, and how to enjoy the beauty and benefits of your foxglove flowers.

Foxglove is a beautiful and beneficial flowering plant that attracts hummingbirds and bees, adds color and charm to any garden, and has medicinal and magical properties. You can grow your own magical foxglove garden from seeds with some patience and care, and create a stunning display of enchanting flowers that will delight you and your visitors.

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading and happy gardening! 

About The Author

Samantha
Samantha

I'm Samantha, a plant enthusiast who has been growing plants for years. I believe that plants can make our lives better, both physically and mentally. I started growit.wiki to share my knowledge about how to grow plants. I want to help others enjoy the beauty and benefits of plants.

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