Digitalis laevigata is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It has has erect stems with lance-shaped leaves, while basal leaves are oblong to ovate. It produces spires of orange or yellow-brown bell-shaped flowers with a large whitish lower lip and purple veined, speckled interiors. It blooms from May to July.
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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, especially if it is rich in organic matter. It also succeeds in dry soils and, once established, is drought tolerant. It prefers semi-shade but succeeds in full sun if the soil is moist. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.
Seed – surface sow early spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 4 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
The leaves are cardiac, stimulant and tonic. They are much used in the treatment of certain heart complaints, but cause distress when used in large doses.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous.
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