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Herbaceous Perennial

Digitalis ferruginea
  • RHS AGM
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

rusty foxglove

D. ferruginea is a vigorous biennial or perennial forming a rosette of dark green lance-shaped leaves, with tall racemes of tubular bell-shaped yellow-brown flowers 3.5cm in length in summer

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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Brown Yellow Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full shade
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

North–facing or West–facing or South–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Plantaginaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Semi evergreen
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
Highly toxic by ingestion. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Digitalis can be biennials or usually short-lived perennials forming a rosette of simple leaves with bell-shaped flowers in slender, erect, usually one-sided racemes

Name status

Correct

Plant range
S Europe

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How to grow

Cultivation

Will grow in almost any soil or situation except very wet or very dry; ideal site is a humus-rich soil in partial shade. A perennial but often treated as a biennial.

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in pots in a cold frame in late spring or propagate by division in early spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Cut back main flower spike as it fades to encourage the growth of flowering side shoots

Pests

Can get aphids and leaf and bud eelworm

Diseases

May be affected by leaf spots and powdery mildews

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