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Isoplexis canariensis - Canary Island Foxglove

The Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco are home to many little-known gems, like the rare Isoplexis canariensis - the Canary Island Foxglove.  This beautiful foxglove relative puts on a charming display of golden-apricot blooms from spring through autumn.  This is a cool-climate shrub that might not thrive in hot climates.  Unfortunately the plant has become endangered in the wild.  It is rarely seen in cultivation.

Isoplexis canariensis - Canary Island Foxglove

Isoplexis canariensis is an upright-growing, evergreen shrub with stems that become woody with age.  It usually grows 4 to 5 feet tall, occasionally to 6 feet.  The foliage on this plant is wonderful.  The glossy, deep-green leaves make a great backdrop for the orangey flowers.  This particular form comes from the island of Tenerife and has bold, reddish-orange anthers, which contrast well with the petals.  The flowers stay open for a very long time, and are pollinated by birds and bees.  Flowering can last from March until December, with the biggest show during the summer.

Isoplexis canariensis - Canary Island Foxglove

The climate on the Canary Islands is mild with cooler nights, so the plant is happiest in moderate temperatures.  It has handled temperatures in the mid-80s (30 degrees C), but it should be considered experimental in warmer conditions, especially if nights are warm.  If you can grow Fuchsias, you should be able to grow Isoplexis.  It is reportedly hardy to 25 degrees F (-4 C), but it does best when kept from freezing.  It grows well in a pot.  It enjoys a mix of sun and shade, with protection from hot afternoon sun.  Grow it in well-draining soil that's kept moist (but not soggy).  Moderate fertilization is best.  The plant's flowering vigor declines after several years, but you may propagate it by seeds or cuttings.

Isoplexis canariensis - Canary Island Foxglove

 

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