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Foxgloves are a plant from the plantain family (although it is unrelated to the banana-like fruit of the same name). They are biennial which means they take two years to complete their life cycle, or perennial which means they live for more than two years although they tend not to last for longer than around five years.

Like most flowering plants, foxgloves are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. Foxgloves have 20-80 purple (sometimes pink, yellow or white) tubular flowers with four fused petals and sepals, that appear in late spring. They bloom for about three months.


Foxgloves grow in temperate climates, in the ground or in containers.

What does it need?

They like sun but can also grow well in shade in all types of soil, apart from extremely dry or waterlogged conditions. Each plant can produce 1-2 million seeds which will readily self-seed, so deadhead after flowering to avoid excess numbers of seedlings.

What needs it?

Bees, hoverflies and other insects all love foxgloves. They have evolved to be especially attractive to bees, particularly long-tongued bees due to their shape. The inside of the flowers are covered in spots which show up under ultra violet light (which is how bees see) and guide the bees right up inside to rub off pollen collected from other foxgloves.

They have been used for medicinal purposes (mostly heart conditions), but it's best to leave that to the professionals because the whole plant is also fatally toxic.

Fun fact!

Other chemicals found in foxgloves are used to detect DNA in lab samples.

See a video here, and learn more here!

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