Digitalis grandiflora 'Ambigua'
Deer resistant: yes 🦌☠️
Moisture: not fussy
Bloom: Rows of creamy yellow tubular flowers in late June-early July
Size: 36” H x 18” W
Hardiness zone: 3
Digitalis grandiflora ‘Ambigua’ sports basal rosettes of finely-toothed spear-shaped leaves along a tall stem that sports rows of gorgeous creamy-yellow tubular flowers with attractive brownish patterns on the interior. Unlike other Digitalis, this is a short-lived perennial plant, so it will remain where you planted it for a few years. (The most common Digitalis, e.g. Digitalis purpurea, are biennials blooming in the second year and then expiring.) While we like Digitalis purpurea, these plants were constantly dying off where they were planted, and when they spread by seed they were subsequently growing in all the wrong places. That’s not to say the Digitalis grandiflora ‘Ambigua’ won’t self-seed: it does so with abandon! However, the original plants will remain in place for a few years, and you can relocate or give away the seedlings, which come true to type. We’ve abandoned the biennial Digitalis in favor of this fetching perennial version. It is best interplanted with other plants to hide the less attractive seed pods once past flowering. (Or, if you do not wish to have Digitalis babies, you can deadhead the seed pods. We don’t bother—too much work, and then we wouldn’t have any plants to give away or relocate next year.) Deer certainly won’t bother Digitalis: all parts of the plant are highly toxic—it is the source of the cardiac stimulant digitoxin.