Digitalis purpurea, Foxglove, Fairy Gloves
Tubular purple or white flowers, with purple spots in the throat, in the second year. Large textured, lance shaped green leaves. Famous medicinal herb traditionally used to regulate the heart.
• Hardiness: H6 (-15 to -20C)
• Type: Biennial
• Height: up to 1.8m
• Spread: 60cm
• Soil type: Loam, Free Draining
• pH: Universal pH
• Habit: Upright
• Flowering colour: Purple, White
• Flowering time: Spring in second year
• Uses: Medicinal (Read Jekka's Guide to Medicinal Herbs for more information)
• Attracts pollinators: Yes (Read Jekka's Guide to Pollinators for more information)
• Container suitability: No
• UK native: Yes
• Caution: The whole plant is poisonous, seeds, leaves and roots.
• Indoor Sowing: In spring or early autumn, into prepared plug trays or pots. Do NOT cover the seeds.
• Outdoor Sowing: In spring, into a prepared site, do NOT cover the seeds. Thin seedlings to 30cm apart. WARNING: SEEDS AND PLANT ARE TOXIC.
• Propagation: N/A
• Maintenance: (Read Jekka's Blogs on Early Spring, Late Spring and Autumn maintenance)
• Harvest: N/A
Famously described as a treatment for dropsy by Dr William Withering in 1785, foxglove contains a group of powerful medicinal compounds acting on the heart called cardiac glycosides. A refined derivative of these, digoxin, is now used in present day medicine to treat some forms of irregular heart beat and heart failure.
The cardiac glycosides found in foxglove have a serious potential for toxicity and can rapidly build up within the body. For this reason foxglove is now regarded as too dangerous to use medicinally and has no place in current herbal practice. It should not be used medicinally under any circumstances.
This plant is considered to be very poisonous and should not be used medicinally under any circumstances. If accidentally ingested seek urgent medical assistance without delay. Care is needed as it is often confused with other herbs in the spring before the distinctive flowers have appeared.
Please note: The information provided here is for educational interest only and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat significant health problems. Any serious or long-term health concerns should always be discussed with a healthcare professional.
See our blog for more information about the National Institute of Medicinal Herbalists
Jekka's "How to Grow Herbs" videos, includes Jekka's video on how to sow seeds for an informative step-by-step guide to seed sowing.
Growing indoors? Check out Jekka's blog on indoor herb gardening for some advice.
At Jekka’s we sell herbs in 1 Ltr and 2 Ltr pots. These are established and hardy herb plants that are grown following organic principals and to survive the UK climate. Please read Jekka's blog that contains her top steps to growing on your herbs.
Our herbs are designed to be grown in containers or planted in the garden. Although some herbs will be quite happy indoors, most prefer being outside. Please see our indoor growing blog for more information.
If you think your herbs need a little more attention we always recommend an environmentally friendly solution, and these are Jekka's top three:
- Maxicrop liquid seaweed: 'Feed on Fridays' as Jekka always says for all round good plant health.
- SB Invigorator: a safe and effective insecticide and fungicide to help control a wide range of pest species
- Epsom salts: the horticultural equivalent of what you put in your bath to top up magnesium and stop orange leaves.
One of our three core roots is that we are Environmentally Conscious and for the past 30 years all the herbs grown at Jekka’s have been raised following sustainable, environmentally friendly and organic approaches resulting in a remarkable biodiversity at the herb farm.
Our herb seeds are also untreated and can be used to grow organic herb plants.