Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

For information about listening to Vermont Public Radio, please go here.

Vermont Garden Journal: The Beautiful Foxglove

Foxgloves look best when planted in groups in a flower garden and can grow in full sun or partial shade.
Foxgloves look best when planted in groups in a flower garden and can grow in full sun or partial shade.

There's a story about a fox trying to steal chickens from a farmer. Every time the fox got close to the coop, the chickens heard him coming, started squawking, and the farmer came out to chase him away. One day, a woodland fairy came to the fox and suggested he take the open blooms from a nearby flower and place one on each foot and try again. He did and was successful, stealing a chicken for dinner. The plant he used was the foxglove. You may not believe the story but you can't deny foxgloves are beautiful flowers.

Foxgloves are biennial or short-lived perennials depending on the variety. Most are two- to four-feet tall and come in a wide range of colors. 'Camelot Mix' is one of the hardiest and tallest. Yellow foxglove and strawberry foxglove are short-lived perennials with colorful blossoms on a two-foot tall plant.

Foxgloves grow well as the backdrop in a flower garden and look best when planted in groups and allowed to self-sow. In fact, biennial plants must drop seeds each summer to form small plants in fall and flower the following year. Deadhead spent flower stalks after blooming, but allow some of the secondary flower stalks to set seed in late summer. In my experience, you don't have to leave many stalks to drop enough seed to have plenty of seedlings. Thin seedlings to one-foot apart in spring and mulch well.

Foxgloves can grow in full sun or partial shade. Plant them with borage, alliums and poppies for great color combinations and to attract bees. One word of caution, though. Foxgloves contain digitalis and are poisonous, so keep them away from curious kids and pets.

Now for this week's tip:  despite the recent spate of cold, icy weather, it's time to start tomato seeds indoors for transplanting into the garden in six weeks. Start seeds under grow lights using a heating pad to accelerate germination.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
Latest Stories