Few annuals and biennials are really happy growing under trees or in other shady places – Foxgloves are notable exceptions. The wild species D. purpurea is sometimes grown in gardens but it is more usual to choose a showy hybrid. Tall spikes bearing bell-like flowers appear above the basal rosette of large downy leaves. It is an easy plant to grow, but you must water copiously in dry weather.

VARIETIES: The best one to pick if you want a tall Foxglove is an ‘Excelsior’ hybrid. The blooms are borne almost horizontally all round the flowering spike so that you can clearly see the maroon mottling inside each bell. Flower colours are white, yellow, pink, purple and red. ‘Foxy’ is rather similar, but it only reaches 3 ft high and can be grown as a half hardy annual.

SITE AND SOIL: The soil should be reasonably rich in humus and the site partially shaded.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 3-5 ft.

Spacing: 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: June-August.

PROPAGATION: Follow the Biennial technique .

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