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Digitalis purpurea flowers Digitalis purpurea

This plant got the name "Folk's Glove" for the Folk who live in the woods, where it likes to grow.  A visionary plant that is one of the baneful herbs, this perennial woodland plant is of Saturn and associated with the Underworld, although some consider it a Venus herb. It has long been a staple of a witch's garden (but also graces cottage gardens) and was grown in medieval gardens as well.  White foxglove grown in my upstate NY gardenThe juice of this magick herb ritually collected and put in the center of a ritual circle in order to commune with Faeries (don't let the juice touch your skin, as it is quite poisonous - I wear latex gloves when working with this plant).  You can also plant it by your door to invite the Faery in or carry a sprig to attract Faery protection. All kinds of bees, from honey bees to bumble bees to mason bees, love this flower; the spots show them where the nectar is. The ruby-throated hummingbird likes this plant too. Although now this flower family is famous for providing heart medicine, in pre-modern times the leaves were made into a poultice for wounds and sores (however, even a poultice of the leaves can be fatal). This plant is so poisonous that ingesting only .5 gram dried or 2 grams of fresh leaf is enough to kill a person, but it is very bitter, so ingestion is very unlikely; almost all poisonings from digitalis are due to medical administration of the alkaloid in pill form. Still, be careful when handling and do not breathe the smoke. For the least amount of alkaloids, a) grow it in the shade, b) harvest in the fall, after the plant has made seeds, and c) take the lowest leaves on the plant. Digitalis purpurea that has white or light pink flowers is less poisonous than if it has dark pink or purple flowers. This classic cottage garden plant is also known as Witches' Gloves, Dead Men's Bells, Fairy's Glove, Gloves of Our Lady, Bloody Fingers, Virgin's Glove, Fairy Caps, Folk's Glove, and Fairy Thimbles. How to grow it.  Top

Digitalis purpurea
Purple foxglove
200 seeds $3.75

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Get some dried foxglove

Cottage Garden Plant

Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Attracting Fairies
Witch's Garden
Baneful Work
Saturn/Venus Herb

2004, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission

How to grow Foxglove

Foxglove seedpod Foxgloves germinate fairly quickly at room temperature. These are robust seeds. Surface sow and keep moist but not sopping wet (a mister helps). Transplant to full sun in the far North and in shade farther South.  This plant can't take hot weather.  Zone 8 is the hottest (unless indicated otherwise). Foxglove likes rich soil, so add plenty of compost.  It forms a rosette the first season and sends up flower spikes the second.  If your season is long enough, this plant will make seedpods and reseed itself.  Wait till the seedpods are completely brown (picture shows one still green) before you harvest the seeds.  If you live in an area with hard winters, cut off the flowers as soon as they are finished.  The plant won't make any seeds, but it will then start putting its energy into building a strong root to survive the winter.  Once it gets developed enough, you can make new plants by dividing the roots of the old ones and replanting. General growing info  Top.