12 Types Of Foxglove (With Special Varieties You Can’t Miss)

There are about 20 species of foxgloves found all over the world, and most of them are also grown in gardens. However, not all of them grow well in captivity, and some of them are simply too difficult to grow because of their very specific growing requirements.

To make sure you don’t make a mistake of growing something you can’t possibly grow, we assembled this guide with 12 types of foxgloves.

These foxglove varieties (some of which are rare, while others are more common), are waiting for you to plant them, and some of them are quite the collector’s item.

1. Woolly Foxglove

Because of how common this foxglove is in Greece, it’s also known as the Grecian foxglove. This type of foxglove can grow up to 26 inches and it’s easily recognized because of its flowers, which are very hairy.

In the United States, it can grow in zones 3-9, where it usually flowers in June. They achieve the best bloom when they get plenty of sun, although they can tolerate some shade.

This is a hardy species that prefers healthy soil, but it can grow in rocky and sandy soil as well. The wooly foxglove is very drought-tolerant, especially during its first season.

Just like all foxgloves, it’s highly toxic.

2. Dwarf Spanish Foxglove

While the name of this foxglove would imply that they’re much shorter than other varieties, the dwarf Spanish foxglove can actually grow up to 30 inches. However, some plants are as short as 4 inches, which is why they’re considered the dwarf foxglove variety.

They’re native to the Balearic Islands (eastern coast of Spain), where they’ve adapted to the rocky areas, growing in whatever soil they can find. In its natural environment, this foxglove variety blooms in May and June.

While most foxglove varieties prefer slightly acidic soil, this variety can grow in alkaline soils. Because of its specific growing requirements, this variety is rarely seen in gardens.

3. Digitalis mariana

Sometimes called the perennial Spanish foxglove (although there’s no official name), this foxglove is native to Spain and Portugal. It can be recognized by its pink flowers and short hairs, while there is also a white subspecies.

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This foxglove variety is especially adapted to rocky areas, especially granite and slate. While they can be grown in home gardens (zones 4-11), they’re seldom seen. Not only is their natural habitat difficult to mimic, but the plants themselves are difficult to find.

4. Rusty Foxglove

Growing almost to 4 feet in height, the rusty foxglove is one of the tallest foxglove varieties. They’re not difficult to recognize – they bloom in the summer and their flowers are almost entirely brown.

They appreciate well-draining soil and partial shade, while they can grow in acidic, alkaline, and pH neutral soil. They grow best in zones 4-9, which resemble their natural habitat of Hungary and Romania.

The natural resilience of the rusty foxglove deserves recognition, as they’re fairly impervious to pests and diseases.

5. Mullein Foxglove

Another foxglove native to the Iberian Peninsula, the mullein foxglove is a perennial capable of growing taller than 3 feet. Their flowers, which bloom in June and July, are a pale shade of pink.

This foxglove variety grows very well in shady areas, but it doesn’t have a problem with being fully exposed to sunlight. They require regular watering – the soil should be constantly moist.

There’s a cultivar of this foxglove called Spanish Peaks available in the USA, usually with a bit stronger shade of pink.

6. Digitalis davisiana

Native to Turkey, this foxglove was discovered relatively recently. It can grow up to 30 inches in height, while the flowers are about 1.5 inches long, usually colored a pale yellow, almost white shade. The leaves have very fine teeth.

While most foxgloves are hardy plants, Digitalis davisiana is susceptible to powdery mildew.

7. Yellow Foxglove

Also known as the large yellow foxglove or the big-flowered foxglove because of its large flowers (up to 2 inches long), this foxglove variety grows up to 47 inches.

Like most foxgloves, it blooms in late spring/early summer, depending on the temperatures. In some areas, it can bloom as early as May.

In the USA, it successfully grows in hardiness zones 3-8. It needs moisture retaining soil to grow, and it prefers being in a partly shaded area.

There is also a hybrid of this foxglove and the common foxglove, which is noticeably shorter, and with red flowers. The flowers are still characteristically large. It’s called the strawberry foxglove.

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8. Small Yellow Foxglove

Very similar to the yellow foxglove, but with an obvious difference in flower size, this foxglove variety is also known as the straw foxglove. While it’s native to southern Europe and northwestern Africa, it can grow very well in North America.

It often exceeds 3 feet in height, and when it blooms in late spring, it develops yellow flowers with plenty of brown spots inside. Some flowers can stay on the plant for a very long time, sometimes lasting long into fall.

9. Dusty Foxglove

Not to be confused with the rusty foxglove, this foxglove variety is also known as the willow-leaved foxglove, and it’s native to Spain and Morocco.

There, it grows close to 4 feet in height, with the 1.5-inch-long bell-shaped flowers appearing in late spring. The flowers are a dark-orange shade, sometimes even copper color.

Because of the dry conditions of its native environment, it grows best in dry areas. In the USA, it does well in zones 4-8, where it proves to be winter-hardy and drought tolerant. In fact, wet soil is one of its main reasons for dying in gardens.

While it is toxic, and thus resistant to rabbits and deer, it will still attract hummingbirds to your yard.

10. Hairy Foxglove

This foxglove variety was named after the fine hairs that cover the entire plant (except for the leaves). They can grow up to 2 feet, and in the wild, they’re usually found in open areas – fields, meadows, and pastures.

The flowers are yellow and they usually bloom in early summer – the best bloom is achieved when the plant gets plenty of sunlight. While they do tolerate dry soil to an extent, they will die if they’re dehydrated for too long a time.

While all foxglove varieties secrete the toxic compound digoxin, this specific variety is used to isolate the useful steroids found in the compounds. These steroids are then used to treat cardiac ailments.

11. Digitalis cariensis

This variety of foxglove is native to Turkey, where it can exceed 4 and almost reach 5 feet in height, making it possibly the world’s tallest foxglove variety!

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In the wild, they’re only found in the region of Anatolia, but they can be grown in gardens all over the world, where they usually bloom in early spring.

Their flowers are yellow or creamy, easily recognizable because of their brown veins. While you may find seeds online, they’re not that common in gardens.

12. Canary Islands Foxglove

The final entry to our list, Digitalis canariensis is another tall plant, capable of growing up to almost 5 feet. It is native to the Canary Islands, and it’s rarely grown in gardens.

The flowers are more than an inch long, characteristically orange, giving this foxglove a unique look. Because of the climate in the Canary Islands, the blooming period can last from March to December.

This foxglove variety is very rare, and while it’s not endangered, it’s largely unavailable because of its remote location.

To Sum Up

Some of these foxglove varieties are native to very specific habitats, which makes it difficult (but not impossible) to grow them in your own home. Why not give it a try?

The Canary Islands foxglove, for example, is a very difficult plant to grow and having it in your garden would strike any gardener with envy. Other foxglove varieties, such as the dusty, rusty, or the yellow foxglove are all beautiful in their way and are all easy growers if you know what you’re doing.

Lucy Young

Meet Lucy, a seasoned gardener with a green thumb and a wealth of experience cultivated over 10 years in her own backyard oasis. Now, she channels her passion into writing, sharing invaluable gardening knowledge on her website. From nurturing plants to expert pruning techniques, Lucy's articles are a treasure trove for both seasoned enthusiasts and budding gardeners. Join her on this leafy journey as she sprinkles insights, tips, and tricks to help you create your own flourishing paradise. Get ready to dig into her gardening wisdom and unlock the secrets of a thriving garden!

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