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From Tiny Seed to Beautiful Towers of Flowers
The foxglove seeds are very tiny however with little effort you can easily grow foxglove from seed. This can be accomplished through a couple different methods.
The first method would be to let the foxglove already growing in your garden drop its own seeds. You’ll have to hope for the best with this method but foxglove is known to readily self-seed.
Alternatively, you can grow foxglove from seed by intentionally propagating them yourself. You can either purchasing foxglove seeds or collect them from the spent flowers of your own foxglove.
Grow Foxglove from Seed – Outdoors
If you choose to grow foxglove from seed by letting your existing plants self-seed there are couple things you could do to increase your chances of success.
First off, make sure you don’t have any weed cloth or a deep layer of mulch around the base of the plant. As I mentioned the seeds are very tiny and the seedlings start out very small taking quite a long time to get sizeable. If weed cloth or mulch is present the seeds may germinate but never get roots in the soil or not be able to get the light they need deep down in the mulch.
Allowing the foxglove to drop its seed usually works well but I’d personally recommend collecting the seeds from spent flowers and spreading them around where you want the foxglove to grow rather than just around the base of the existing plant.
Grow Foxglove from Seed – Indoors
I’ve found that the easiest way to grow foxglove from seed is to use a standard cell pack. I use the smaller six cell packs for starting most of my flower seedlings.
Before filling your chosen container moisten the soil, you don’t want it too wet. You should barely be able to squeeze water out of the soil.
Be sure and choose a good seed starting mix. I prefer to use the Burpee Organic Seed starting mix which consists of coconut coir and vermiculite. It’s very light and fluffy, holds water well, and works great for bottom watering as it wicks water well. Another great alternative is the Espoma Seed Starting Mix.
Sowing The Seeds
Foxglove seeds need light to germinate. Simply drop the seeds on the surface of the moist seed starting mix and lightly press them onto the surface.
To grow foxglove from seed moist you’ll need to keep them moist so a humidity dome of some sort will be needed. This can be as simple a some saran wrap stretched over the top of the container. However, if you plan on germinating a lot of seeds or several varieties of plants it would probably be best to invest in some tall, vented humidity domes. A seedling heat mat and temperature controller will also help ensure good germination. NEVER for safety you should never use a seedling heat mat without a temperature controller.
Caring For Foxglove Seedlings
In about 10-14 days the you should see the tiny foxglove seedlings emerging. Once the seeds have germinated the humidity dome can be removed. You’ll need to ensure that the soil of these fragile seedlings doesn’t dry out after the humidity dome is removed. The seedlings will also need light at this point. When germinating outdoors indirect light would be best for the first few weeks.
If you’re growing indoors a fluorescent light fixture works great for about 30-60 days when growing foxglove seedlings until they can be transplanted outdoors. Fluorescent fixtures are great because you can use standard fluorescent bulbs or LED retrofit bulbs. The best spectrum for starting seedlings is between 5000k-6500k. I’ve had great results with 5000k bulbs. The seedlings can be transplanted once they have their second set of true leaves whether into a larger container or outdoors into the garden.
Be sure and harden off the seedlings before exposing them to full sunlight. Hardening off means gradually exposing the seedlings to more and more light every day until they can tolerate the harsh rays of the sun.
Be sure and take a look through my post about how to grow and care for foxglove (Digitalis) for more information about light, soil, and water requirements your seedlings when transplanting to your garden.