Digitalis parviflora



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Digitalis parviflora

A striking aristocrat from Spain.
An unusual, perennial Foxglove with slender, elegant spires, densely packed with small chocolate funnels.
Then each funnel has a silvery beard and yellowish throat to set off the chocolate colouring, on handsome Digitalis parviflora Chocolate Foxglove.

A perennial Foxglove that does not desert you

Bliss to have a permanent perennial Foxglove, that does not desert you after flowering.
So the rosettes of downy leaves are evergreen perennials, neatly decorative year round, and rising to flower again each year.
Plus they have a long and prolific blooming, with multiple spires coming over the warmer months.
And each slender spire is closely packed with those delightful “fox’s gloves”, almost resembling a chocolate “Red Hot Poker”.
Then seedlings may also appear, especially in areas with colder winters, so you have a steady supply of Digitalis parviflora Chocolate Foxglove to share.
(Skip down to “Growing” section below for plant details, how / where to grow).

Unusual but excellent cut flowers

The chocolatey spires make eye catching floral arrangements, and they last very well in the vase.

Hardy & tough perennial Foxglove 

Digitalis parviflora is no shrinking violet that needs to hide in the cool.
Because as a native of Spain, it is no stranger to periods of heat.
And it is officially top notch, having received the prestigious “Award of Garden Merit” from the Royal Horticultural Society. Only plants with outstanding all round garden qualities, as well as beauty, get that gong. 

Growing: Digitalis parviflora

Height with flowers: Chocolate spires rise to 60cm approx., on clean stems above the foliage rosette.
Width: Evergreen neat rosette of foliage to a diameter of 30cm approx.
Position: Digitalis parviflora is actually quite tolerant of a range of positions, from the Partial Shade and Dappled Light of Woodlands, to Full Sun.
Because as a native of Spain, it is no stranger to periods of heat.
But if planted in Full Sun, then it appreciates more retentive soil and mulch. 

Water-wise and heat hardy – no shrinking violet

Soil: Digitalis parviflora is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, from sandy to clay, as well as average garden loam. It is not choosy. And it will also tolerate a wide range of soil pH, from acid woodland soils to alkaline, limestone soils. However well drained soil is preferred, and it also appreciates a treat of mulch.  
Water-wise: Digitalis parviflora can also leave most Foxgloves for dead when it comes to drought resistance, and tolerance of heat or dry. 
So normal, average garden watering is more than ample, and it is considered a water-wise plant recommended for water conscious gardeners. 
Frost: Extremely frost hardy, and able to tolerate hard frosts to well below -20C.

Other benefits

Growth: Evergreen perennial clump, so a Foxglove that is always there for you.
Beneficial for wildlife: Attracts and feeds nectar seeking small birds, butterflies and bees.
Beware: All parts of any foxglove are toxic to humans and other mammals. Though grazing animals will not eat it.
Care: Deadhead central flower spikes after flowering, to encourage more flowers from side shoots.
Deer & Rabbit resistant: Toxic; deer and rabbits are far too smart to have a nibble. 
Origin: Native to Northern Spain, where it grows in a wide range of habitats, including dry grassland, scrub, open meadows, woodland, and waste land, roadsides eyc. All testifying to its hardiness and adaptability.

Plant of the Elves

Common names: All Foxgloves rejoice in a wealth of common names – from “Witches’ Gloves”, “Dead Men’s Bells”, “Fairy’s Glove”, “Gloves of Our Lady”, “Bloody Fingers”,  “Virgin’s Gloves”,  “Fairy Caps”, “Folk’s Glove”, “Fairy Thimbles”, to of course the most popular of all – “Fox’s Gloves”, shortened over the years to Foxglove.
The spots down the throats of Foxglove were said to be the marks from the elves, fairies and wee-folk fingers. Perhaps the legend told children that these plants were special, and to leave them alone.

Heart stopping history

Long medicinal use: The humble Foxglove has been popular in western herbal medicine from perhaps the 1300’s. But it was often used for ailments as widely varying as scabby head to falls from a great height. However none of the old medieval herbal treatments actually made use of its most remarkable property – the ability to moderate the heart muscle.
But in 1785, Dr. W. Withering, published his groundbreaking scientific treatise “Account of the Foxglove”. In here he gave details of over 200 patients with symptoms of congestive heart failure, whom he had treated with success by the use of extracts from Foxglove plants. 
Mind you – the dosage was critical . Too much and the heart stopped.
Today our modern heart medication Digoxin is still based on chemical compounds originally found in Foxgloves, and the have the dose just right. 


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