My Featured Flower for 2011: Chinese Foxglove

I tend to chose the same tried and true plants for my flower beds year after year. To be honest, although I love gardening, I’m just not very good at it. However, I do know what plants have given me success in the past, and I don’t stray too far from them.

But every once in a while something new catches my eye, and then exceeds my expectations, or should I say does well, in spite of my lack of gardening prowess. This year I discovered Chinese foxglove.

Chinese foxglove (Rehmannia elata), also known as Beverly bells, is similar to common foxglove, however it is showier and has a longer blooming season. See the comparison below with a volunteer of common foxglove from my flower bed. The Chinese foxglove is on the left.

The large flared tubular blooms are rosy magenta with a yellow throat speckled with maroon. The slightly furry foliage is lightly lobed, serrated and sometimes tinged with an outline of red.

The Chinese foxglove attracts hummingbirds, bees & butterflies, is deer and rabbit resistant, makes excellent cut flowers, and is drought tolerant once it is established.

A couple things to be aware of. All parts of the Chinese foxglove are poisonous if ingested. Also, although this plant naturalizes well, under the right conditions it can become a nuisance plant.

“My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.”          ̶ H. Fred Dale

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