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A picture of a Purple Foxglove

Purple Foxglove

Digitalis purpurea

Also known as

Common Foxglove, Foxglove, Lady's Glove, Dead mens bells, Fairy thimbles, Witches gloves

Photo by Berengena (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








2 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Purple Foxglove

A photo of Purple Foxglove
A photo of Purple Foxglove
A photo of Purple Foxglove
A photo of Purple Foxglove
A photo of Purple Foxglove

Purple Foxglove Overview

Digitalis purpurea is a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial which produces tall spires of purple-pink bell-shaped flowers with purple spots inside the throat. It is a very attractive plant to insects, particularly bees. Commonly known as Foxgloves, Common Foxglove and Bloody Bells, amongst others, it provides incredible height and colour in most garden situations and also grows happily in wild woodland, thanks to its willingness to grow in shade or sun alike. In mild climates, the foliage is evergreen and will form large, lush clumps. This plant is often found in the wild in Northern Europe. These plants will self-seed up to two months before the frost; the blooms will follow in the spring and summer.

Common problems with Purple Foxglove

Can suffer from leaf & bud eelworms.

Purple Foxglove Companion Plants

Woodland plants such as Japanese maple, hydrangea, columbines and ferns make good companions.

How to harvest Purple Foxglove

Flower spikes can be cut just as the 1st flowers start to open. Soak the stem in cold water overnight, having cut diagonally across the stem. Harvest seeds from seed head after flowering (will also self-seed).

How to propagate Purple Foxglove


Allowing the plant to stand after flowering will provide many seeds to be sown straight after. Seeds can be sown in situ.

Special features of Purple Foxglove

Attracts useful insects

Bees absolutely love the foxgloves and will happily bumble up and down the stem visiting the flowers.

Attractive flowers

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Other uses of Purple Foxglove

Under shrubs, borders. Leaves are poisonous if eaten. This plant suits being included in planting schemes for exposed or sheltered locations with south, east or west-facing aspects.


To be used only by medical practitioners for treating heart diseases.


Perfect for adding architectural spikes of interest in your large flower beds or borders.

Looking Good In May - Top 10

Traditionally flowering in May, these flowers will be at their best this month.

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Deer Resistant Plants

Although never fully deer proof - they are less likely to eat these.

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