What To Do With Foxgloves After Flowering

Foxglove is a wild, native plant but also used in perennial displays in the landscape. The tall flower spikes bloom from the bottom up and produce prolific seeds. Should you remove the spent flowers from foxgloves? If you don’t want foxgloves to grow everywhere in your garden, you should remove the spent flowers. Deadheading foxglove plants can minimize their spread, but it has added benefits as well. Details on how to remove spent blooms follow.

Foxgloves are a classic garden flower that can put on a gorgeous display in early to mid summer. Their tall spikes of tubular flowers come in shades of purple, pink, white, yellow and red. Foxgloves self-seed freely around the garden and make a great addition to cottage garden schemes. But what should you do once those showy blooms have finished flowering? Read on for tips on caring for foxgloves after bloom time.

Deadheading Foxgloves

Once the flowers on a foxglove plant have died off the first thing to do is deadhead the spent blooms. This prevents the plant from setting seed and encourages more blooms. To deadhead foxgloves use secateurs or pruning shears to snip off the faded flower spikes back down to the topmost leaves on the plant. Make the cut at an angle to allow rainwater to run off.

Deadheading foxgloves tidies up the plant and stops it putting energy into forming seeds. The plant can instead focus on producing a second flush of flowers on new side shoots. Foxgloves are prolific self-seeders though, so you’ll still get new seedlings appearing around the garden even with deadheading.

Cutting Back Flower Spikes

In addition to deadheading individual spent blooms, you can also cut back the entire flower spike once all the blooms have finished. Use clean, sterilized secateurs to cut each spike back down to the base of the plant. Make the cut just above a leaf node.

This helps keep foxgloves looking neat and compact after flowering rather than leaving bare spikes standing up. It also removes the old flower stems that can harbor pests and diseases. As well as potentially encouraging a second bloom, cutting flower spikes back in this way can improve the plant’s overwintering.

Pruning Foxglove Foliage

The basal rosette of leaves at the base of foxglove plants remain evergreen over winter But the larger upper leaves on the flower spikes die back after bloom time Pruning off the damaged and faded upper foliage in late summer/early fall helps rejuvenate the plant.

Make cuts just above healthy leaves lower down on the stem using sterilized pruners. Take care not to damage the crown of the plant where new growth emerges. Removing tattered foliage also prevents issues with foliar diseases taking hold.

Allowing Foxgloves to Self-Seed

Many gardeners simply let foxgloves self-seed around the garden once flowering is over. The tall spires laden with seeds will gradually break apart and scatter seeds over the nearby soil. These seeds will lie dormant over winter before germinating the following spring.

If you have a designated foxglove area, allowing self-seeding is an easy way to ensure new plants for years to come. However foxglove seeds can spread and may pop up where you don’t want them. Be prepared to weed out seedlings around the garden.

Collecting and Saving Foxglove Seeds

You can collect seeds from spent foxglove spikes to save and sow yourself. Identify seed pods that are brown and crispy looking – this indicates ripe seeds. Carefully cut off the entire dried spike once the majority of pods look mature.

Place the cut spikes in paper bags and allow to further dry out somewhere shady, cool and dry. After a couple of weeks, give the bag a shake to separate the seeds. Store the collected seeds in envelopes or glass jars in a cool location ready for planting out in fall.

Leaving Foliage Over Winter

In regions where foxgloves are hardy and overwinter well, you can simply leave the plant intact after flowering is finished. Allow the foliage to die back naturally without cutting anything back. This provides shelter for beneficial insects who use the hollow stems for hibernation habitat.

The basal leaves remain to capture sunlight over winter. Come spring, prune away any damaged growth and apply an organic fertilizer or compost top dressing around the crown. New growth will soon emerge and blooms will follow in summer.

Dividing Overgrown Clumps

Mature foxglove clumps that have outgrown their space can be divided in fall after flowering. Dig up the whole clump and divide it into smaller sections using two forks back to back. Replant the divisions 18-24 inches apart.

Dividing overcrowded plants rejuvenates them and results in healthier, more prolific blooming plants. It also gives you more foxgloves from one original plant. Water the replanted divisions well until they establish.

Best Time to Cut Back Foxgloves

Foxgloves have a relatively short bloom period in early to midsummer. The timing of cutting them back depends on your climate and whether you want to encourage a second flush of flowers:

  • In warmer zones, cut back flower spikes as soon as blooms fade to encourage reblooming on side shoots.

  • In cooler climates, leave flowering stems intact until late summer then cut back.

  • Everywhere, cut back damaged foliage in late summer/fall to tidy plants before winter.

  • Leave basal foliage intact over winter for insect habitat then trim in spring.

Caring for Foxgloves After Flowering

After the first flush of foxglove flowers is over, the plants can look rather untidy. Follow these tips for ongoing care:

  • Deadhead spent blooms regularly to encourage more flowers.

  • Cut back finished flower spikes to the base.

  • Remove any damaged upper foliage and cut back cleanly.

  • Water if dry spells occur to help recovery after bloom time.

  • Apply an organic plant food or compost mulch around the plant.

  • Stake tall types that become floppy after heavy flowering.

  • Leave basal foliage over winter for protection before pruning in spring.

Second Blooming

Many foxgloves will bloom again on secondary stalks after the initial flowering. To encourage a second showing:

  • Deadhead diligently to prevent seeding and stimulate new buds.

  • Cut back flower spikes to the base as soon as blooms fade.

  • Apply a balanced liquid plant food to support new growth.

  • Keep soil moist and water in dry periods.

  • Stake plants if needed to support developing flower stems.

Even without reblooming, foxgloves easily self-seed to provide a new generation of plants each year. So let those gorgeous bell-like blooms flower for as long as possible, then get your foxgloves ready for next year’s display.

Should You Deadhead Foxgloves?

Most of us are familiar with foxglove, or Digitalis. It has a sinister history as a poison but, today, Digitalis is used in heart medicines. These amazing plants are biennial and bloom in the second year. Creamy white or lavender, bell-shaped flowers tower over the basal rosette. So what about cutting off the spent flowers? Removing spent foxglove flowers may help the plant bloom again, giving you more time to enjoy it later in the season. You can also clean up the garden this way and still enjoy the big leaves and fancy growth form. Many types of plants benefit from deadheading, and foxglove is no exception. Deadheading foxglove plants may be done to remove unsightly finished flower spikes, deter self-seeding, and promote new growth. Occasionally, removing spent foxglove flowers will cause the plant to send up smaller, side flower spikes. Some people believe that if you cut off the flowers before the seeds form, the plant will bloom again the following year. The plants only bloom twice a year, so this is possible but not likely. They die back after the second season. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem because new rosettes have grown and will bloom next year.

How Do I Deadhead Foxglove?

You may be wondering, “How do I deadhead foxglove?” if you have decided to get rid of the dead flower spikes. The enchanting spikes should come off when 3/4 of the blooms have faded. If you don’t want to try to get the plant to bloom again, just cut them off at the base of the rosettes. Taking off the spikes now will also stop the plants from reseeding, but you can leave a few on if you want them to reproduce or save seeds. If you forget to cut them back and some seeds have already formed, put a bag over the flower spike and pick up the many tiny seeds as you cut.

Foxgloves / Saving & Sowing Seed NOW for next year’s blooms / Homegrown Garden


Should you cut back foxglove after it blooms?

You need to sow or plant young biennial foxgloves every year, to ensure you get blooms every year. Otherwise you’ll just see flower spikes in alternate years. Simply cut out the old stems at the base after flowering if you don’t want seeds (see Ongoing Care, above).

Will foxglove rebloom if deadheaded?

So what about deadheading the plant’s flowers? Removing spent foxglove flowers may encourage reblooming and further enjoyment of the plant late into the season. It is also a way to tidy up the garden and still enjoy the large leaves and statuesque growth form.

How do you keep foxgloves blooming all summer?

If you cut them back immediately after they’re done blooming, you can encourage a second round of blooms. Foxglove plants die when they finish blooming for the season. Make sure to leave a few spent blooms on the plant so they can produce seeds to grow more seedlings the following year.

What to do with Foxgloves after autumn?

After autumn, the flowers will bloom again. The second option on what to do with foxgloves when they’ve finished flowering is to let them self-seed. Self-seeding means that the foxglove seeds will disperse and grow without your aid. Simply leave the spent flower heads on the plant and wait for the seeds to mature.

Do foxgloves need full sun?

According to **BBC Gardeners World Magazine**, foxgloves can grow in **full sun to full shade** .However, **some species** of foxgloves such as **Digitalis parviflora** and **Digitalis obscura** require

Should foxgloves be removed after flowering?

Biennial foxgloves can be removed or pulled out after flowering. Usually, they flower once in their lifetime and die. Therefore, instead of waiting for them to dry up, you can opt to tidy up the garden by clearing them off. On the other hand, perennial plants flower every year, so pulling them out would be a bad idea.

How do you take care of a foxglove plant?

Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly. Some popular Foxgloves photos:

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