Many of our best-loved garden plants, including foxgloves, are biennials. They fill borders (and vases) with colour in spring and early summer, before many annuals and perennials come into their own.
Biennials have a two-year life cycle – in the first year they make roots and foliage, and in the second year they flower, set seed and die. You can buy biennials as ready-grown plants, but they are easy and cheap to grow from seed.
For flowers next year, sow foxglove seeds direct outside in summer, in rows so that it’s easy to distinguish the emerging seedlings from weeds. Here’s how.
You Will Need
- Garden spade
- Hand fork
- Bamboo cane
- Watering can with rose attachment
- Foxglove seeds
Remove any weeds, then dig and rake over the soil to make it level. Make a shallow drill for sowing in a row by pressing a bamboo cane gently into the prepared ground.
Remove the cane and water the drill before you sow your seeds. This will give the seeds the moisture they need to germinate, and is more effective than watering the area afterwards.
Sow the seeds in the drill according to the spacing and depths recommended on the seed packet. You may need to thin the seedlings at a later stage to achieve the ideal growing space.
Gently rake some dry soil over the seeds to cover them. You don’t need to water again for a few days – the soil mulch will retain moisture where the seeds need it.
It’s easy to collect your own foxglove seeds to sow – find out how to collect your own seeds.
Sowing in a cold frame
If you’re short on space, sow foxglove seeds in modules in a cold frame and transplant to their final positions in the garden in early autumn.