Digitalis: growing, planting and care in the open field, properties, photos

Digitalis: growing, planting and care in the open field, properties, photos

Garden plants

Plant digitalis, or digitalis (lat.Digitalis) belongs to the genus of herbs of the Plantain family, although earlier it was referred to the Norichnikov family. The scientific name digitalis is derived from the Latin word that means "thimble". The genus includes about 35 species, growing mostly in the Mediterranean, but also found in other parts of Europe, as well as in Western Asia and North Africa. Two species of foxglove grow in Western Siberia and the European part of Russia, four species can be found in the Caucasus.
The foxglove flower chooses forest glades and edges, meadows and shrubs.

Planting and caring for digitalis

  • Landing: sowing seeds in the ground - in late April or early May, sowing seeds for seedlings - in early or mid-March, planting seedlings in the ground - in late May or early June.
  • Bloom: from June to the end of summer.
  • Lighting: bright sunlight.
  • The soil: loose, moisture-permeable, fertile, in an area where water will not stagnate.
  • Watering: moderate, but frequent and only during prolonged drought.
  • Top dressing: 1-2 times per season with a solution of complex mineral fertilizer.
  • Reproduction: seeds, including self-sowing, as well as vegetatively - by shoots.
  • Pests: several types of aphids.
  • Diseases: rot, blotchiness, powdery mildew and viral mosaic.
  • Properties: medicinal poisonous plant.

Read more about growing foxglove below.

Botanical description

Foxglove can be a herbaceous perennial or biennial, and in the Western Mediterranean it can be a subshrub and even a shrub. The foxglove stems are rigid, from 30 to 150 cm high, unbranched. Large light green leaves, entire, alternate, sharp, oblong and lanceolate, gradually turning into bracts. Large, irregularly shaped yellow, reddish or purple flowers are collected in unilateral or bilateral apical racemes.

Foxglove flowers, similar in shape to bells, are arranged in such a way that pollen necessarily falls on insects that take in them, and then bees, flies, wasps and bumblebees transfer pollen to other flowers, carrying out pollination. Foxglove bloom begins in June and ends by early autumn. The fruit of the plant is a box in which a large number of small brown seeds ripen, which remain viable for two to three years. One plant can carry up to 2,000,000 seeds.

All foxgloves are poisonous, so they are not grown in the flower beds of children's institutions. Some types of foxglove are decorative, and some are better known as medicinal plants. Foxglove leaves of many species contain glycosides used by folk and traditional medicine.

The foxglove herb is undemanding to the composition of the soil and to care, it is drought-resistant and frost-resistant. In this article we will tell you how to plant and care for foxglove, what types of plants are medicinal, how perennial foxglove is grown from seeds, and we will offer you a lot of other information about digitalis.

Growing digitalis from seeds

How to sow seeds

Foxglove seeds are sown for seedlings in early or mid-March, after soaking them for a week in water, which is changed every 6 hours. You do not need to close the seeds deeply, just sprinkle them lightly on top with sand, then cover the container with glass or film and place in a warm place with soft diffused light.

Foxglove can give its first shoots in two weeks.

Seedling care

The seedlings develop very slowly at first, but as soon as they have the first leaves, cut the seedlings into separate cups or into a deeper and more spacious box at a distance of 7-10 cm. Caring for digitalis seedlings is no different from caring for any other seedlings: watering as needed drying of the substrate, careful loosening of the soil, protection from direct sunlight and drafts.

A couple of weeks before planting in open ground, they begin to carry out hardening procedures, which should prepare the seedlings for the conditions of the garden. Seedlings are exposed daily to fresh air, gradually increasing the length of their stay in the garden or on the balcony. As soon as the seedlings can spend 24 hours outside, they can be planted in open ground.

Planting digitalis in open ground

When to plant

In the garden, foxglove seedlings are planted when the threat of recurrent spring frosts has passed, that is, at the end of May or beginning of June. By this time, usually the soil is already well warmed up, and 5-6 leaves have opened on the seedlings. Foxglove prefers open sunny areas, although it grows well in partial shade. However, it is undesirable to plant digitalis under deciduous trees, since moisture always lingers longer in the trunk circles, and the foxglove may get wet or not bloom under such conditions. And in the fall, falling leaves interfere with the plant.

How to plant

The foxglove soil needs loose, fertile and moisture-permeable soil, in which water will not stagnate. Dig up the soil in advance on the site to the depth of the shovel bayonet with the simultaneous introduction of 4-5 kg ​​of compost or humus for each m².

Planting digitalis is carried out at a distance of 15-20 cm between seedlings in a row with a row spacing of 25-30 cm. Make holes in the soil a little larger than the root system of the seedlings and transfer the seedlings from cups to holes along with an earthen lump. If the seedlings are in the box, take them out in the ground and carefully place them in the hole. After planting, the surface of the site is compacted and watered.

In the first year, the foxglove forms a rosette of leaves, and flowering will begin only next year.

Foxglove care

Growing conditions

The cultivation of digitalis involves the implementation of the usual procedures for flower growers - watering digitalis, loosening the soil around the plants, removing weeds from the site, feeding and treating pests or diseases, if necessary.

Watering foxgloves is carried out only in conditions of prolonged drought, but in a normal summer with rains, you will not have to water the plant. After watering or rain, the soil around the plants should be loosened shallowly and carefully - the digitalis root system is located horizontally in the ground, close to the surface, so it is easy to damage it.

Once or twice during the growing season, the foxglove is fed with a complex mineral fertilizer in liquid form - a solution of minerals is added to the water for irrigation.

During flowering, remove wilted flowers and inflorescences - this measure will prolong the flowering process, and the foxglove will not lose its attractiveness until the fall.


When transplanting a foxglove, no problems should arise - as already mentioned, the root system of the plant is superficial, so it is not difficult to dig out a bush. The plant is placed in a pre-prepared hole, which should be slightly larger than the root system of a bush with an earthen lump. After transplanting, the bush is watered.

Pests and diseases

Of the diseases, foxglove is most often affected by rot, spotting, powdery mildew and viral mosaic. In case of severe damage to powdery mildew and spots, it is better to remove the diseased specimen from the site, and treat the rest of the plants with a fungicide solution. Unfortunately, viral diseases, for example, mosaic, as well as root rot and rotting of the peduncle are incurable, so the affected plants must be removed and burned.

Of the pests, foxglove is affected by several types of aphids, against which digitalis is treated with Biotlin, Antitlin and Iskra. Aphids are a carrier of incurable viral diseases, therefore, it must be destroyed at the first signs of appearance.

As you can see, in general, planting a foxglove and leaving in the open field is not at all burdensome.

Foxglove reproduction

The foxglove reproduces by seed method - seedling and seedling, as well as by basal processes.

Seed propagation

We have already described the seedling method for multiplying digitalis, but it is easier to grow foxglove by sowing seeds directly into the ground. This can be done in the spring, in the last decade of April or at the beginning of May. Prepared, as for sowing seedlings, the seeds should be placed at a distance of 15-20 cm from each other and only lightly sprinkled with soil. In a cool spring, the crops are covered with lutrasil. Seedlings, if they are too thick, are thinned out to stimulate the development of large rosettes.

The foxglove reproduces well by self-seeding.

Reproduction by shoots

As for the vegetative reproduction method, then the basal processes are used for this. Leave the most lush inflorescences for seeds, and carefully cut off wilted brushes from other peduncles. Three weeks later, several basal rosettes form at the base of the cut peduncles, and as soon as 7-8 leaves are formed on each of them, they are carefully separated and planted in the ground. Until the beginning of autumn, the rosettes will take root and winter normally, and the next year they will already give flower stalks and flowers.

Perennial foxglove after flowering

The foxglove root system located close to the surface is sometimes exposed, and in order for it to survive the winter normally, the roots should be sprinkled with nutritious soil in the fall. Perennial foxglove is cold-hardy, but in a snowless winter, it can freeze. Cut off wilted and yellowed flower stalks and cover the outlet with dry leaves, sawdust or spruce branches. Young plants especially need shelter.

Types and varieties

In culture, the following types and varieties of foxglove are most often grown:

Purple digitalis (Digitalis purpurea)

Originally from Western, Southern and Central Europe. This perennial, often grown as a biennial plant, reaches a height of 150 cm. Its stems are erect, slightly branched and densely pubescent, with a rosette of basal leaves. Stem leaves on long winged petioles are arranged alternately, and the upper ones are sessile, rounded-elongated, crenate along the edge, velvety above and with tomentose pubescence on the lower side. White, carmine, pink, cream or purple with short hairs and a dark smear inside the corolla, flowers up to 5 cm long are collected in a racemose one-sided inflorescence up to 80 cm long.This species blooms from early to late summer. In culture for a very long time.

Several varieties of purple foxglove are known - large-flowered, spotted and gloxiniform. Of the hybrids of the gloxiniform foxglove, the Shirley variety is interesting - a plant up to one and a half meters high, blooming for a long time with open drooping, pink, purple or cream-colored flowers from the inside, collected in a one-sided inflorescence.

The Excelsior hybrid mix with peduncles up to 180 cm in height, on which very large flowers are arranged in a spiral, is also popular. Often a foxglove from the Peloric mix is ​​grown in the garden, the peduncles of which, dotted with large flowers, also grow up to 180 cm. The selected one-color variety of purple foxglove, up to 120 cm high, also attracts attention;

Large-flowered digitalis (Digitalis grandiflora = Digitalis ambigua)

It grows naturally in Ukraine, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, the European part of Russia and in South-Western Siberia. In height, plants of this species rarely exceed 120 cm. They have oblong-lanceolate leaves, pubescent along the veins and along the edges. Yellow flowers with brown veins inside the corolla, reaching a length of 6 cm, are collected in drooping racemes. Outside, there is slight pubescence on the flowers. This species has been cultivated since 1561;

Rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea)

One of the most attractive types of digitalis, reaching a height of 70 to 120 cm, although in some cases it can grow up to 2 m. The leaves of this species are oblong-lanceolate, glabrous or slightly pubescent. Flowers up to 4 cm long in their shape resemble an orchid with a pronounced lower lip. The color of the flowers is varied - from a pale yellow shade with a pink bloom to a grayish yellow, which turns into rusty or golden brown. The inside of the corolla is decorated with lilac or reddish-brown veins. Flowers are collected in large clusters, the flowering of which lasts from the second half of June to August. In culture, foxglove is rusty since 1597.

Woolly foxglove (Digitalis lanata)

Perhaps the most ordinary-looking type of digitalis that grows in nature in Moldova. This foxglove is medicinal, not decorative, and has its own merits and advantages. The plant has a single peduncle, on which small brownish-yellow flowers with purple veins open. The axis of the inflorescence is covered with dense pubescence, which is why the plant got its name. Flowering foxglove woolly begins in July and lasts about one and a half months;

Yellow foxglove (Digitalis lutea)

It grows in the south-west of Europe, reaching a height of 80 to 100 cm. This plant has no pubescence, either on the oblong-oval leaves or on the stems. Yellow flowers up to 2.5 cm long bloom in July. In culture, the species has been since 1597. The most famous variety is Gelb Janus with delicate yellow flowers.

In culture, foxgloves dark, or indistinct, Tapsi, Merton, Nevada, ciliate and some other species and hybrid forms are also grown.

Foxglove properties - harm and benefit

Healing properties

For a long time, with the help of foxglove, healers treated epilepsy, abdominal and thoracic dropsy, used it to relieve pain in skin diseases, as well as a remedy for constipation and to cleanse the body. However, with the wrong dosage, vomiting, diarrhea, and often death were observed. Therefore, for a whole century, humanity has forgotten about foxglove.

In traditional medicine, foxglove has been used since the eighteenth century. It was then that its unusual properties were discovered. The main medicinal raw material is the leaves of the plant, which are harvested in the first year. They contain 62 glycosides, including gitoxin and digitoxin, lanatosides A, B, C, D, E and others. These biologically active substances are very important in the fight against many cardiovascular diseases. Digitalis is used:

  • to strengthen the walls of blood vessels;
  • to improve the blood supply to muscles and tissues;
  • to normalize hemodynamics;
  • from cardiosclerosis;
  • from tachycardia, hypertension, myocardial dystrophy, mitral defects;
  • from atrial fibrillation.

Most often, foxglove is used as a medicinal plant. Organic acids, cardiotonic and steroidal glycosides are obtained from it. They also use digitalis purple, ciliated and rusty in medicine, which, albeit to a lesser extent, also contain biologically active substances.

Powder is made from foxglove leaves, which is included in candles and tablets. In folk medicine, foxglove infusion is also used.


Literally all types of foxglove are poisonous, so it is strongly discouraged to self-medicate. It is forbidden to use digitalis preparations for people with sick lungs, angina pectoris, pericarditis, myocarditis, myocardial infarction, gastric tachycardia, as well as children and pregnant women. Digitalis poisoning is manifested by nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, skin rashes, convulsions, respiratory failure, heart failure.

At the first sign of foxglove poisoning, you must immediately call an ambulance. With prolonged use of drugs from the plant, toxic substances accumulate in the body, which can lead to loss of appetite, anorexia and hallucinations.


  1. Read the topic on Wikipedia
  2. Features and other plants of the family Plantain
  3. List of all species on The Plant List
  4. More information on World Flora Online
  5. Information about Garden Plants
  6. Information on Biennial Plants
  7. Information on Perennial Plants
  8. Information about Herbaceous plants
  9. Information about medicinal plants

Sections: Garden plants Biennials Perennials Herbaceous Flowering Medicinal Melliferous plants Plantain plants

Description of digitalis

As mentioned above, this plant has flowers in the form of thimbles. It is thanks to them that digitalis (this is the Latin name for the plant) was named in Russian as foxglove. The leaves of this plant are soft to the touch and very large. At the base, in the area of ​​the root system, they form a so-called rosette. On the stems themselves, the leaves are noticeably smaller. The stems of this flower are usually quite tall and can even reach two meters in height. Photos of the plant can be seen on our website.

The flowers of this plant vary in color depending on the variety of digitalis. And it blooms all summer and can even capture half of autumn, if the weather conditions are acceptable. This flower does not require special care, and gardeners love it for its unpretentiousness and beauty. There are also no problems with the reproduction of digitalis, because it gives a lot of seeds that can be shared with neighbors and friends.

This plant is poisonous, and under no circumstances should small children be allowed to approach it. If parts of the culture get into the child's body, it can even cause death. But, despite this feature, it is widely used in medicine and powerful drugs are made on its basis that save from many ailments.

The plant is perennial and annual. There are also biennial varieties of this plant. In gardening, both are used. Perennial foxglove is not as beautiful as an annual plant, but it is also often planted in their gardens by amateur flower growers and love it because you do not need to tinker with seedlings every year, but you can sow foxglove once and forget about the hassle of replanting it.

Types and varieties

Some species are grown as ornamental plants, but they are often wild. The most common species in temperate climates (Buddleja davidii) is native to China.

Russian name Latin name
Buddleya white-flowered Buddleja albiflora
B. alternate-leaved B. alternifolia
B. Asian B. asiatica
B. spherical B. globosa
B. Japanese B. japonica
B. snow B. nivea
B. sage B. salviifolia
B. narrow-headed B. stenostachya
B. Callville B. colvilei
B. Fallova B. fallowiana
B. Forrest B. forrestii
B. Lindley B. lindleyana

In a temperate climatic zone, 2 species and one interspecific hybrid are grown as ornamental and at the same time winter-hardy plants:

  1. view of Buddleja David (Buddleja davidii)
  2. Alternifolia species
  3. hybrid - B. × weyerana, whose parents are B. globosa and B. davidii.

Buddley of David

Buddleja davidii has many common names:

  • "Butterfly bush"
  • "Summer lilac"
  • "Orange ear".

The homeland of the plant is China (southwestern part), the species has become known in Europe since the 1890s. It spreads easily on its own in abandoned areas, such as quickly taking control of a section of London that was destroyed during World War II. In some parts of the United States, the cultivation of David's Buddha was prohibited.

Budleya David is a shrub that naturally reaches 5 m in height with a wide, loose crown. Leaves are dark green, shiny, solitary, transverse, narrow, ovate or elliptical, with dense teeth, pubescent below, 4-20 cm long. Inflorescences up to 30 cm long in nature. The color of the flower crown is from purple to dark purple, sometimes white with an orange-yellow throat. The fruit is in the form of a cylindrical bag. Seeds are elliptical, small, with wings at both ends. Blooms from May to October. Flowers give off nectar and a strong, pleasant smell, attracting pollinators - butterflies, bees, hummingbirds.

Due to the production of large quantities of seeds, the buddlea shrub is easily spread by wind and water, and its wide adaptability has made it a threat to the natural forest ecosystems of New Zealand and Australia, as well as parts of the United States and Great Britain.

Withstands a wide range of climatic conditions. Prefers a sunny or slightly shaded position, well-drained and fertile soil with a pH of 5.5-8.5. The shrub is drought tolerant but sensitive to low temperatures. Remains evergreen in warm climates. Blooms in the first year after planting.

The literature says that the frost resistance of David's buddley is up to -15 gr. C. Much depends on the local microclimate and shelter of the site. In any case, the further north the site, the more reliable the shelter should be and the later its subsequent removal.

Popular varieties

Budlea is very popular, so many color variations of this unique plant have appeared. Varieties differ in color and shades of flowers, they are dark purple, pink, purple, blue, white. Many varieties may have slight differences in the height of the bushes, the size of the inflorescences.

Many varieties have been bred, the overwhelming majority of them are non-resistant and of little use in our climate. Below are the varieties that somehow grow in the temperate zone.

Varieties of Buddley David are often grown:

  1. "Royal Red" (Budleja Dawid Royal Red) is a vigorous variety with interesting, intensely colored flowers. The small flowers have a characteristic scent that attracts butterflies. The variety has low frost resistance, when planted in the Moscow region, care includes a mandatory winter shelter.
  2. "Black Night" - a bush 1.5-2 m high. Dark purple-violet flowers are collected in thin panicles 30-40 cm long. Incomplete frost resistance.
  3. Border Beauty is a compact bush that grows up to 1.5 m in height per year. The flowers are fragrant, collected in panicles 30 cm long. Incomplete frost resistance.
  4. "Blue Empire" (Empire Blue) - shrub grows up to 1.5-2 m per year. Flowers are purple-blue with an orange eye, panicles 25-30 cm long. Incomplete frost resistance.
  5. "Harlequin" (Harlequin) - loose bush, 1.5-2 m high. Leaves with a light edge. Fragrant purple-red flowers, panicles 20-30 cm long. Average frost resistance.
  6. "Ile de France" (Ile de France) - a wide bush due to hanging shoots, 2-2.5 m high. Purple flowers with yellow eyes, very large inflorescences (length reaches 40-60 cm, diameter - 10 cm) ... Average frost resistance.
  7. "Nano blue" (Nanho Blue) - a compact bush, grows up to 1-1.5 m. Nice-smelling flowers are violet-blue, panicles 20 cm. Incomplete frost resistance.
  8. "Peace" is a wide bush, 2-2.5 m high. White flowers with an orange eye are collected in panicles (30 cm). Frost resistance is below average.
  9. "White Profusion" - a bush with a height of 1.5-1.8 m. White flowers are collected in panicles (25-30) cm, but less full and smaller in diameter than the previous variety. The main advantage is resistance to low temperatures.

Almost all varieties begin to bloom in July, with slight differences. White Profusia blooms about a week or 10 days earlier than Ile de France. At first, the bushes bloom at the tops of the shoots, the next inflorescences emerge from the upper axils of the leaves.

Brief rules for growing digitalis

The table shows brief rules for growing digitalis in the open field.

LandingSeeds for seedlings begin to be prepared for sowing in March. Direct sowing in open ground is carried out by the beginning of May.
Lighting levelFor growing foxgloves, choose an open and light or semi-shaded part of the garden.
Watering modeAdult bushes should be watered only during periods of long drought.
The soilThe soil for growing flowers must be water permeable and contain enough nutrients.
Top dressingA liquid complex mineral composition, which is applied along with irrigation, is suitable.
BloomThe digitalis bloom begins in June and lasts until the beginning of autumn.
ReproductionSeeds, shoots.
DiseasesPowdery mildew, spotting, mosaic, rot.

Breeding features

Many experienced flower growers consider the seedling growing of foxglove a waste of time and prefer to sow directly into the ground. This is done this way: after a week of soaking, the seeds are scattered over the surface of the beds at intervals of 15–20 cm and lightly sprinkled with soil. In cool spring, it is advisable to cover crops with non-woven material. If the sprouts sprout too densely, they must be planted more spaciously, otherwise the rosettes will turn out to be too small, the flower stalks are short, and the flowers are inexpressive.

In the presence of an adult plant, digitalis vegetative propagation is possible. To do this, in the summer, it is enough to cut off wilted brushes from several peduncles. After 20-25 days, young rosettes will begin to form at the base of each cut peduncle. In the phase of 7-8 leaves, they can be separated from the parent bush and planted in the ground. When planting, do not allow soil and irrigation water to get into the core of the bush. By the fall, the rosettes will acquire roots, and the next season they will give flower stalks.

Pests and diseases

Decorative purslane is practically not exposed to pests and diseases. Sometimes the plant becomes infected with the pathogen Albugo (Albugo Portulaceae). The affected leaves are covered with spots, creases and deformations appear on the shoots. The diseased parts of the plant are removed, the bushes are treated with modern fungicides.

If signs of a fungal disease Albugo Portulaceae are detected, terry dandur is sprayed with preparations containing copper

Aphids are sucking pests that can damage purslane rugs. In case of damage to bushes, spraying with Actellik can be applied.

To completely get rid of aphids, insecticide treatment is repeated after one week.

Why purslane does not bloom, what to do

Decorative terry purslane is a unique representative of the flora world, which feels as comfortable as possible only in Spartan conditions: where other plants die of thirst, burn in the sun and suffer from depleted soil.

For abundant, endless and longest flowering for purslane, the following rules must be met:

  • a lot of sunlight (does not bloom even with a little shade)
  • fairly stable warm weather without a sharp cold snap (closes the buds from a drop in air temperature)
  • minimum water (it is a dry-loving plant)
  • sandy, stony, not fertilized soil (when organic matter is introduced, the plant will direct the main forces to the growth and development of stems and foliage).

By placing the garden dandur in the very sun, on dry and lifeless soil, you can achieve amazing flowering of satin terry inflorescences

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