Once in a while an exciting new plant appears, something different, dramatic and totally unexpected, that has gardeners buzzing with delight! This was the reaction when Digitalis ‘Illumination’ was introduced – this outstanding plant captured everyone's imagination and gained a prestigious Plant of the Year award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012.
It is the result of the genius of Thompson & Morgan’s plant breeding expert, Charles Valin. He brought together two parent plants everyone thought it impossible to breed; our native, purple, ‘Foxglove’ and rich orange Digitalis canariensis, its exotic relative from the Canary Islands, to produced these extraordinary, must have beauties for every garden.
The plants, about 60cm – 90cm (2 feet – 3 feet) tall, produce masses of spikes of gorgeous coloured pink and orange flowers over a long period, often from May to November. Best of all, it is perennial, returning year after year, for your gardening pleasure!
All it needs is sunshine or part or dappled shade. Pot up your plants when they arrive and grow them on in frost-free conditions. Once they are well-grown and there is no danger of frost, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions for 7 to 10 days, putting them outdoors in the day and bringing them indoors at night, before planting them in their final position in borders, pots or containers.
Although they prefer a fertile, moist soil, they tolerate almost any soil, providing it is not very dry or waterlogged. Water foxglove plants regularly until they are fully established, then sit back and enjoy those fabulous blooms! In autumn, cut back faded foxglove flower stems to encourage plenty of new side shoots and you’ll have an even better display in future years. (You'll receive all the growing instructions with your plants). I have some waiting to be planted out in my garden and am just desperate for them to flower!