How to Grow Foxglove Flowers

Tips for growing and caring for Foxgloves

Foxgloves are popular cottage garden flowers that look great growing along borders or at the back of a garden bed with smaller flowers in front.

Growing foxgloves is fairly easy, even for beginner gardeners and with these simple tips you’ll be able to have gorgeous foxglove flowers growing in your garden.

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pink foxglove flowers

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is native to Europe, parts of Asia and North-western Africa. [1]

Foxgloves bloom in mid-summer and the flowers are clusters of tube shaped blooms in colors of pink, red, yellow, white and purple. 

Most varieties are biennials that only live for two years, but some varieties can survive as perennials.

Important note: Foxglove plants are poisonous so they’re not suitable if you have pets or small children in your yard.

It’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with Foxgloves as the foliage can irritate the skin and eyes.

Foxglove flowers



Foxgloves grow well in acidic, well-draining soil, but they can also survive in heavy clay soil with some good quality compost dug into the top layers of soil.


Foxgloves can grow in full sun in cooler areas but in warm climates they’ll need some shade from the hot afternoon sun.

How tall do Foxgloves grow?

Foxgloves can range in height from 2 – 6 feet (60 – 180 cm), depending on the variety.

RELATED: 10 Stunning Tall Perennials

How much space is needed between plants?

Each plant should have at least 1 feet (30 cm) space in all directions as they spread out a lot. Taller varieties may need staking to protect them in high winds.

Foxglove flowers

Growing Foxglove seeds

When planting foxglove seeds, lightly press the seeds into the soil but don’t cover them because they need light to germinate.

The seeds can be sown directly into the ground or started indoors and transferred to the garden later.

Foxglove seeds usually germinate in 20 – 30 days. [2]

Foxglove plants reseed easily, so if you want more foxglove flowers in the same spot just give the flower spike a shake to release the seeds.

If you’d like to grow foxgloves in another area of the garden, cut the flower spike off once it’s gone to seed and carefully carry it to the new spot and shake the seeds on top of the soil.

Foxgloves grown from seed will produce flowers in the second year.

Perennial foxgloves can be propagated by division or from the offshoots that grow from the base of the plant.

Here’s a step by step video about growing foxgloves from seed.

Foxglove varieties to try in your garden

  • Gloxiniaeflora mix
  • Excelsior mix
  • Giant mix


Applying a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season can produce more flowers.


Foxgloves are not very drought tolerant, so regular watering is essential during hot, dry weather, especially for new plants that aren’t established

A thick layer of mulch around the plants will help to conserve moisture.



Many foxgloves will bloom a second time if the flower stalks are removed after they bloom.

If you’d like the plants to self-sow for the next year, you can leave the plants as they are over the winter.

Pests and Diseases

Foxgloves can be affected by powdery mildew and leaf spot, so it’s essential to have enough space between the plants to allow the air to circulate.

To avoid fungal diseases, it’s best to water the base of the plants and avoid overhead watering whenever you can.

If you see spots or mildew on the leaves, cut them off so that the mildew doesn’t spread. Any diseased leaves should be thrown in the trash, not composted.

Foxgloves can also be affected by snails and aphids.

Companion Planting

Some popular companion plants for Foxgloves are Snapdragons, Phlox, Zinnia, Lobelia, Cornflower and Dianthus. [3]

Harvesting and Using Foxgloves

Foxglove plants are grown commercially to produce the heart medication Digitalis. 

Digitalis is used to treat congestive heart failure and heart rhythm problems. [4]

Growing foxgloves

Common questions

Are Foxgloves Frost Tolerant?

Perennial Foxgloves can be cut back to ground level before winter and covered with a thick layer of mulch to protect the plant through winter and retain moisture. 

Can Foxgloves Grow in the Shade?

Foxgloves will tolerate partial to full shade in hot climates.

Will Foxgloves Grow in Clay Soil?

Foxgloves will grow in clay soil as long as it has some compost dug through the top layers of soil.

Can Foxgloves Grow Indoors?

Some varieties of Foxglove can grow up to six feet tall so they’re not well suited to growing indoors, but smaller varieties of Foxglove may be ok for indoors.

Can Foxgloves Grow in a Pot or Container?

Foxgloves can be grown in a container or pot as long as it’s deep enough to accommodate the plant’s roots.

The pot should have plenty of holes in the bottom to allow for good drainage.

Purple foxglove flowers

Foxgloves are beautiful tall flowers that look great in any garden.

Plant them once and you’ll have an abundance of flowers for years to come.


Have you tried growing Foxgloves in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to grow foxgloves

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Stephanie

    Such a beautiful flower! I’m starting a garden next spring and these would look so good in my backyard. Is there a certain part of the country they grow best? I live in the south.

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Stephanie, Foxgloves grow best in cooler climates.

  2. Scott J DeNicola

    I love foxgloves but I am really paranoid to have them with my dogs especially my Beagle. He finds and eats everything in his sight. When we first moved in I had a beautiful foxglove plant that we absolutely loved. Such pretty flowers and it grew well for us. I did not realize they would bloom again.

  3. Despite Pain

    I am lucky. I live in the countryside in Scotland, and foxgloves grow naturally here. Some years we see a carpet of purple and pink flowers all around us. Some people class them as weeds because they get out of control. I think they’re beautiful

    1. Kelly Martin

      That sounds so beautiful! I’d love to see Foxgloves growing wild. They’re such a pretty flower.

  4. I just love these flowers and they would look really good along one side of our fenceline. While we don’t have small children to worry about, we are looking to get a dog very soon so I am a bit concerned that this may not be appropriate for us, which is a real shame. Particularly as they appear to be so easy to plant and keep on an ongoing basis.

  5. Lindsay Brown

    Great article on Foxgloves! I absolutely love this flower and have always thought it was such a showy beautiful thing to have in the garden. Unfortunately for the past ten years I’ve had small children and as youve mentioned ot is poisonous so I was always worried to grow it. But now that my kids are older I might look into getting some for next spring. Thanks for the great growing tips!!

  6. Lyosha

    How cute is that! I like this flower a lot. Great idea to add to the flower garden.

  7. Lene

    I looove foxgloves! Such a unique and beautiful flower. I live in an apartment, but thankfully, many people in my neighbourhood plant foxgloves, so I get to enjoy them every summer.

  8. Sonia Seivwright

    Beautiful flowers. We have some Foxgloves growing in my neighbours garden during the summertime. They are beautiful.

  9. Julia

    Hi Kelly,

    Foxgloves are beautiful flowers. Though, I am a terrible gardener! I tried creating a nice flower garden, but failed miserably! When summer comes, I want to be away from home on a beach or in the woods. That leaves me no time to take care of my garden.

    I have a beautiful rocky hill behind my house. It’s shady in the summer because of the surrounding oak trees. It sounds like Foxgloves won’t like it there as there is not enough sun, and the soil is pretty shallow with the rocks below a thin layer. I have some tall perennials there such as lilies, peonies, tulips… Each year they grow shorter and shorter… 🙂

    You mentioned that Foxgloves can be grown in a container if it’s deep enough… What is an “enough” depth for the Foxgloves’ roots?

    Thank you for the post and beautiful pictures!
    Best wishes,
    ~ Julia

    1. Kelly Martin

      Thanks Julia 🙂 A container that is at least a foot (30 cm) deep should be adequate for growing Foxgloves in a pot.

  10. Foxgloves are beautiful, delicate flowers. Unfortunately, since I have children and pets they are not part of my garden. Your tips provided great insight into growing foxgloves. I did not realize that they were biannual flowers.

  11. Lyanna Soria

    Those foxgloves look absolutely gorgeous and would look great in my garden. Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips and making an informative post and a helpful guide.

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