What To Do With Foxgloves After Flowering?

The classic cottage garden plant, foxgloves are a staple in many UK gardens. But what should you do with them once the flowers are spent? Let’s have a look and find out.

What To Do With Foxgloves After Flowering
What To Do With Foxgloves After Flowering

What To Do With Foxgloves After Flowering?

With most foxgloves, deadheading them will help to promote a second, smaller, bloom. It can also deter them from self-seeding, something they do very effectively.

While there are perennial foxgloves the vast majority you see in UK gardens are biennial. This means that they live for two years and will only flower in the second year.

Once they are done flowering in the second year they will die off and not grow back again.

Self Seeding

Foxgloves are very efficient self-seeders, sometimes too good. For this reason, a lot of gardeners like to deadhead many of the flowers once they have finished.

This just reduces the number of seeds that will end up in your soil and therefore the number of foxgloves you will have trying to grow and compete with each other.

Removing The Plants

If you have a crowded border then it may be a good idea to completely remove your foxgloves once they have finished flowering.

Being biennials they are very unlikely to flower again so at this point they are just taking up valuable border space and can just be removed to give other plants space to thrive.

If you are growing your foxgloves staggered, with some plants one-year-old and ready to flower next year and some flowering this year, then make sure you only remove the second-year plants!

This sounds obvious but it is really easy to get caught up with removing the plants and accidentally remove some which were due to flower next year.

You are probably well aware but if not you need to know that foxgloves are poisonous. You should always wear gloves when touching them as the toxins can enter through any cuts on your skin or through your eyes, mouth etc. Foxgloves can be deadly!

What to do With Dead Plant Material

You will see many people online telling you not to put dead foxglove flower heads in your compost heap as the seeds will stay there and you will then spread them around your garden.

While this is technically true it only matters if you cold compost. If you use hot composting methods then the heat will be enough to kill the seeds, as it does with all weed seeds.

This is why hot composting is such a good idea, and it’s not hard to do. You just need to make a big heap, use a mix of brown and green materials and turn it regularly.

Save The Seed

You can also save the seed from your foxgloves when you remove the spent flowers. This is great if you plan on growing some fresh plants from seed to grow in a different area of your garden.

How to save foxglove seed
Saving foxglove seed is a great way of growing new plants for different areas of the garden.
Let The Flower Spikes Die Back
To start with you need to let the flower heads and therefore seeds mature before harvesting them. Let them turn to a brown colour before you start snipping them off.
These foxglove seeds are ready to harvestThese foxglove seeds are ready to harvest
Put A Bag Over The Spike
Now we want to put a bag over the spike, this is there to capture any seeds which might fall out. Cover all of the pods and then tie it tightly around the stem.
Cut The Spike Off
Now cut the spent spike off from the plant at the base using a pair of secateurs.
Leave in the bag for a few days
This will just make sure that the pods are fully dry and crack and release all of their seeds.
Shake well
Give the spike a final good shake into the bag and you are done. You should see tonnes of little seeds now all neatly collected in your bag.

Daniel

Daniel

Hey, I'm Daniel. Having worked as a professional gardener for years as well as keeping a private allotment I decided to create this website to help spread my knowledge. I love gardening and hope to show you just how rewarding it can be!

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