Yellow foxglove – info, planting, care and tips

Yellow foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora)
Yellow foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora) - by Thomas Huntke

Yellow foxglove is an asset to every garden. This is how you plant and care for the wild shrub correctly.

Profile of yellow foxglove:

Scientific name: Digitalis grandiflora

Plant family: plantain family (Plantaginaceae)

Other names: big-flowered foxglove, large yellow foxglove

Sowing time: May to July

Planting time: spring to autumn

Flowering period: June to August

Location: sunny to partially shaded

Soil quality: gritty to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flowerbeds, stand alone, group planting, rose companion, borders, apothecary garden, cottage garden, flower garden, natural garden, rose garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Toxicity: highly toxic

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of yellow foxglove

Plant order, origin and occurrence of yellow foxglove

The yellow foxglove, is a native plant of Central Europe. The pale yellow blooming perennial comes from the hill country to the middle mountain ranges of the Alps, the Caucasus and the Altai Mountains in grassy herbaceous areas or on sunny forest edges and embankments. Forest clearings and clear cuts are also part of the habitat of the pretty foxglove species. However, Digitalis grandiflora is far less common there than the common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). In comparison, the yellow foxglove is much more durable. Both foxgloves began their gardening careers in cottage gardens. There the decorative and poisonous wild species were kept early as ornamental and medicinal plants. Botanically, all foxgloves belong to the plantain family (Plantaginaceae).

Characteristics of yellow foxglove


The yellow foxglove forms basic rosettes from which the upright flower stalk develops. Depending on the location, it can reach heights of 60 to 120 centimeters (24 to 48 in).


The leaves are hairy on the underside and are elongated lanceolate. They grow with the flower stem upwards. In addition, new dark green base rosettes are formed. These overwinter with pretty, evergreen leaves.


The pale yellow flowers have the typical thimble-shape and are very ornamental. They are lined up in a one-sided cluster that is oriented towards the sunny side. The tubular flowers are extremely popular with bumblebees and other insects. So-called sap-marks help to find the entrance to the nectar: If you take a look inside, you can see the brown net pattern. As the flowers gradually open from the bottom up, the flowering period extends from June to the end of August.


The yellow foxglove forms seed vessels.

Yellow foxglove – cultivation and care


Big-flowered foxglove prefers fresh locations, but can cope with a surprising amount of drought. It also loves it sunny, but also thrives in partial shade.


The yellow foxglove adapts to the garden as a wild perennial that grows on warm, permeable scree slopes, but also colonizes humus mull or mold soils on the edge of the forest.


You can plant potted perennials all season.


Yellow foxglove is very robust and easy to care for. In a near-natural garden, what has faded is usually only cut back after winter. If you want to promote the vitality of the laterally newly formed shoots, cut off the faded main shoot.


The easiest way to propagate the yellow foxglove is by seeds. At suitable locations, it provides for new plants by self-sowing. Targeted sowing is done in seed trays or directly into bed from May to July.

Diseases and pests

Diseases rarely occur. The yellow foxglove is also largely spared from pests. The poisonous plant has no fear even slug damage.


The wild perennial is hardy down to -20 °C / -5 °F.

Use in the garden

The yellow foxglove is wonderfully suitable for the apothecary or cottage garden. The agreeable yellow of the flowering plant and the pleasing candle shape are even suitable as an accompaniment to roses in the pastel-colored spectrum of flowers. It is ideal in any natural designed garden. Put it in small clusters of three to ten plants. Any open space with uncomplicated flowering perennials such as asters, cranesbills and dittany (Dictamnus albus) or a sunny wooded border is conceivable. Since Digitalis grandiflora willingly sowing itself, the perennial is very suitable to overgrow. For example, if you want to create a near-natural band of flowers for insects, combine the yellow wild shrub with Carthusian pink (Dianthus carthusianorum) and viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare). The big-flowered foxglove looks very pretty with more delicate prairie grasses such as prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) or feather grass (Stipa).

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