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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Digitalis Dalmatian Series: gorgeous colours, quick to flower

Posted by Graham Rice on 08 Nov 2012 at 01:32 PM

Dalmation foxgloves have attractive spotted flowers and are quick to bloom. Images ©Kieft Seed” align=Every few years a new series of foxgloves comes along, each said to be better than the last. The Dalmation Series really does look to be an improvement, with some lovely colours and the ability to flower just a few months after sowing. And, as the name indicates, all are beautifully spotted.

Dalmation Series foxgloves reach 31-43in/80-110cm in height, and can produce their well-filled spikes of flowers in just sixteen weeks from sowing. Start seed in February, in heat, and raise as a bedding plant for June flowering or sow later to flower later in the summer. Unlike traditional foxgloves, plants do not need a cold spell (vernalisation) to prompt flowering but late spring and summer sowings will not flower until the following year when the plants will then be larger and produce more flower spikes.

There are five colours in the series, although not all are available from all suppliers. ‘Dalmation Cream’, sometimes listed as ‘Dalmation Crème’, is a lovely soft creamy yellow with deep crimson spots; ‘Dalmation Peach’ is soft apricot-peach with pale, delicate spotting; ‘Dalmation Purple’ is foxglove purple with bold spots; ‘Dalmation Rose’ is purple-pink with fewer spots; ‘Dalmation White’ is bright white with small crimson spots.

One interesting feature of these plants is that as the flowers open they tend to hang down in the same way as a wild foxglove, then as they mature they move to a more horizontal position where their markings can be seen more easily.

Seeds of varieties in the Dalmation Series of foxgloves are available from Mr Fothergill, Nicky’s Nursery, and Thompson & Morgan.

Plants of varieties in the Dalmation Series of foxgloves are available from Crocus, and Woolmans.

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