Over the course of last winter, I started getting emails and messages on facebook, asking if I was going to have this new plant called Digiplexis. I hadn’t heard of it so I did a quick check online, saw that it wasn’t hardy and kind of dismissed it. I figured that nobody would want an annual that was going to cost more than some perennials. But the requests kept coming in so I decided to give it a shot when I noticed it on the availability from one of the growers I deal with. I ordered 24 pots of Illumination Flame (the first of a handful of varieties) and when they came in, decided to keep one for myself, to see what all the fuss was about. The remaining plants were sold out within two days, prompting me to get more. While checking into it, I found that it even has it’s own facebook page, www.facebook.com/DigiplexisIllumination. Times have definitely changed.
Digiplexis is an intergeneric cross (where they’ve managed to fertilize one plant with the pollen from a completely different plant) between common foxgloves and Isolepsis canariensis, Canary Island foxglove, with orange flowers. The result is absolutely stunning and it’s obvious why it was the hit of the Chelsea Flower Show in 2012, receiving the award for the best new plant. In 2013, it was awarded the Greenhouse Grower’s Award of Excellence.
At first glance, it looks more or less like a foxglove. That is, until it starts to bloom. The flowers are carried well above the foliage, on spikes of up to three feet tall. The outside of the tubular flowers are a bright medium to dark pink. The inside has pink at the outer edges, changing to apricot and orange. A veritable hummingbird and butterfly magnet. It is gorgeous.
Then, it starts to do something truly amazing for a foxglove. New flower shoots appear, all over the place. I was completely surprised at how many new shoots started to develop. Each spike will continue to grow and flower and may eventually start to bow over, but can be pinched back to allow the new shoots to really shine. And there’s apparently no end to the new shoots. It’s supposed to keep flowering until we get a hard frost.
The hardiness is listed as Zone 8, which pretty much means that we have no chance of it coming through the winter in our garden. However, I’ve got mine planted in a large pot and will be bringing it into my garage for the winter. I’m also planning on keeping a second one as a houseplant this winter, I’m so impressed with it. Check with me next year and I’ll let you know if I was successful. And if I’m not able to keep it for next year, I’ll just get another one next year. Maybe I’ll fill one of my large wooden boxes on the deck with six of them. Ooh, I really like that idea. So much for thinking that nobody would want to spend the money on an annual.