Foxglove Species – An Overview

Foxglove Species - An Overview

There are around 25 species and tons of different varieties worldwide. Here is an overview of the most important species that are important for the gardener.

The best-known species: the husker red

Digitalis purpurea is biennial and can grow up to 1.30 m tall (4 feet). In their original state, their flowers are crimson to purple-pink. White-pink spots appear in the throat of the flowers. The cultivars ‘Apricot’ and ‘Alba’ are considered widespread.

The Large-Flowered Foxglove

Digitalis Grandiflora is characterized by large flowers compared to its conspecifics. This species also impresses with its long flowering period and longevity. Unlike the common foxglove, which is biennial, this species is a perennial.

The large-flowered foxglove reaches an average size of between 50 and 100 cm (20-40 inches) . Its flowers are pale yellow in color and marked with a dark vein. Gardeners like to use this specimen for planting larger groups.

The Yellow Foxglove

The third species native to this country is Digitalis lutea. It grows up to 70 cm high (27 inches). So it is considered delicate. The flowers are light yellow, small, and less persistent than those of the previous species.

Other foxglove species that seem interesting

Other species that may be of interest to gardeners include:

Life expectancy Average growth height flower color special feature
Digitalis ferruginea biennial 120 cm (4 feet) rust red to apricot rare flower color for thimbles
Digitalis lanata biennial 90 cm (3 feet) yellow hairy flowers
Digitalis obscura biennial 50 cm (1.5 feet) yellow-brown extremely long flowering period


Properties that all thimbles have in common

All foxglove species have the following features in common, among others:

  • belong to the plantain family
  • are native to Europe, North Africa, or Asia
  • are toxic to humans and animals
  • their leaves form rosettes
  • their inflorescences are terminal and candle-like
  • bloom in the second year
  • their flowers are hermaphrodite, five-fold and two-lipped


The large species like the red foxglove should be planted in the background and the petite species like the yellow foxglove in the front of the bed.

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