Digitalis lanata | Grecian Foxglove ‘Cafe Cream’
Digitalis lanata, known as Grecian Foxglove and Wooly Foxglove, is native to Greece and other hot parts of eastern Europe, so it needs no extra protection against blazing sun and drought. During the first year, this ‘Cafe Cream’ form grows a rosette of foliage. The following years it will shoot up 2-3 ft spikes of pearl-grey orchid-like blooms with an intricate pattern of burgundy/bronze netting, each with a downward curled, fuzzy, pure white protruding tongue. The stem itself is often tinted red adding to its dramatic appearance, making ‘Cafe Creme’ a very unusual and highly desirable Foxglove. This species does flower later in the year than the more common D. purpurea varieties. Although it’s a biennial/short-lived perennial, it can, at times, flower the first year if sown early enough. It will act like a perennial by self-seeding each year.
Foxgloves are drought tolerant and thrive in sandy, well-drained soil. Will tolerate full shade to full sun, however, they will rot and turn up their toes if their spot remains wet for too long, so ensure good drainage, even adding some some gravel to the planting hole if necessary. Digitalis lanata shrugs off dry heat as it is protected from heat and blazing sun by the woolly silver coat it wears.
Its best to direct sow seeds outdoors during late winter/early spring rains, however can easily be started indoor as well.
A variety of pollinators including honeybees, bumblebees, hummingbirds, butterflies and moths find it hard to resist the flowers. Deer and rabbits stay away.
Digitalis makes long-lasting cut blooms, perfect for tall and impressive arrangements. The trick to getting the longest vase life from a foxglove flower is to get to it before the bees find it. When the flowers are pollinated they drop from the stems, so harvest early when just a few blossoms are open.
Sun exposure: Full shade to full sun
Mature height: 2-3 ft
Mature width: 1 ft
Hardiness zones: 4-9