How to Winterize Foxglove Plants + [And More Caring Tips]

how to winterize foxglove plants

It’s already Winter season, or the season is nearing and you want to know how to winterize foxglove plants. Here is a detailed guide.

Foxgloves are biennial plants; however, they are also known as short-term perennial plants. They bloom every year, especially in the summer. The foxglove plant produces flowers of different hues in its blooming season. Because foxgloves have a short life to bloom, they are planted in succession.

When winterizing foxgloves, the first-year biennials or perennials are cut back to the ground. The remaining plant is then covered with a 3 to 5-inch layer of mulch. The layer of mulch will protect the foxglove from the harsh winter conditions by helping retain the plant’s moisture which is valuable for the plant to germinate after winter. 

By planting foxgloves in the same sequence, you will be sure to have your flowers ready every season. However, if there is a delinquency from the gardener, the winter season will destroy all the foxglove remnants due to cold hence causing the plant to excessively wither. As a result, the plant might not survive thus dwindling the hopes of many who were dependent on it’s blooming come next summer. In this article, we will discuss how to winterize foxgloves and the reasons for practicing this technique.

Also check – Are Foxgloves poisonous to touch?

How to Winterize Foxglove Plants

The most common foxglove plant is the biennial species. However, it takes long before it blooms, which is a setback, but that does not downgrade its beautiful blossoms during the summer. Nevertheless, the biennial foxgloves are short-lived because they die after they set seed in the second year. When that happens the leaves of the foxglove are used in the production of heart medicine.

The foxglove plant is a very poisonous plant species. Nonetheless, it is planted by many gardeners due to its few benefits. The plant, once it sets seed, requires minimal attention from the gardener as it is a wild plant that only reproduces when conditions are favorable. In order to get the winter preparations spot on, plant your foxgloves in the fall or early winter seasons.

For the already growing foxgloves, cut back the plant stalks after flowering if you do not want them to set seeds. However, you can wait until the foxglove dries up for it to set its seed for the next generation of plants.

After cutting back the plant, apply three to five inches of organic fertilizers or layer mulch. The layer mulch will aid in preserving the moisture content in the plant for it to survive through winter. Lack of layering your foxgloves will lead them to dry up in winter due to the harsh weather conditions and excessive draught that kills the plant. Also, in preparation for winter, foxgloves that have grown on their own and are apart in the garden should be dug out and planted close to the other bunch of foxgloves.

Regrouping your garden will improve tracking of the plant’s progress and also control the viral spread of the plant throughout your garden. Proper care for foxgloves before the winter season will encourage the future blooming of the plant. Also, the gardener will have a better chance of managing consecutive foxglove blooms every year and harvest colorful flowers. Moreover, foxgloves should be handled with care due to their poisonous toxins that may cause death if ingested.

Caring For Foxglove Plants 

Foxgloves are grown for various reasons. Nonetheless, they are all dangerous when left lying around. These plants require special care if you do not want to have any cases of human or animal poisoning. The care is needed more because, if the plant is consumed, it causes infections to internal organs. The toxins affect the heart by slowing the heart rate and can easily cause ironic death.  Moreover, the same toxic substances are used in the production of heart medicine. 

So, how do you take care of one of the most dangerous plants? From long ago, the foxglove has evolved and grown in various locations. It can grow anywhere and requires minimal gardening techniques as it’s a wildflower plant. It is, however, mainly planted because of its beautiful blooms that vary in various colors, and also for scientific research in the medical profession. 

The plant itself can grow as low as two feet to six feet long in its prime. Planting foxgloves is pretty a walk in the park. The only things to consider are the climatic conditions since they cannot survive in extremely warm and humid climates. They require shaded sunlight for them to bloom. When planting, the foxglove seeds can be broadcast across the field without any specific routine to be followed. Moreover, there is no need to cover the ground or apply fertilizers. These plants germinate naturally as long as conditions are conducive. 

However, the soil should always be damp for maximum growth. Dampness will increase the moisture content around the germination of the seeds. Nonetheless, in soggy or dry grounds, foxgloves will grow but will not reproduce as expected. Also, when taking care of foxgloves, frequent pruning of dry or wilting leaves is essential for the plant’s regrowth and maximum reproduction. After pruning is done, the cut leaves or stalks should be enclosed in a polythene bag before disposing them in a compost pit. Why a pit? Because they will not have an easy time regrouping and growing again in it.

Benefits of Foxglove Winter Care 

Foxgloves can be so frustrating to grow and maintain. Despite them using little resources and growing wildly, they can be a harmful. The majority of farmers get frustrated by the plant taking almost forever to bloom, while on other occasions, it blooms then dies. Well, that’s the reality of foxglove planting. However, the plants are not frustrating to grow; if you understand their life cycle well. 

When your foxgloves do not bloom in the first year, they mainly consist of biennial species. Biennial foxgloves set root and foliage in the first year, and in the second year, they bloom beautifully, set seeds then die. However, if your foxgloves reproduce every year, they are perennial species of foxgloves. For perennial foxgloves they bloom, set seeds, and die at the end of summer. As you can note, both sets of foxgloves are short-lived. Therefore, there are more reasons to try and prepare the land before winter approaches. 

By covering the grounds with a layer of mulch, you are sure to have your foxgloves blooming when the time is right. Moreover, you can opt to plant your foxgloves in the off-season so that you don’t have to wait the whole two years to harvest your beautiful foxglove flowers. Off-season planting will enable you to have a harvest every year. Nonetheless, on a large scale, foxglove farmers can benefit from off-season planting because of land size. As you prepare your land, it is advisable to use gloves and other protective gear to prevent skin contact. Foxgloves are all poisonous, whether small or mature plants.

Transplanting Foxglove For Winter Care 

Foxglove plants don’t like disturbance. They prove even harder to transplant as they can easily die if there is no proper care. Tending to foxgloves is easy; however, maintaining it to survive after transplanting is the hard part. Before winter, it is necessary to keep tabs on all your foxgloves hence the need for transplanting. When you plant your foxgloves at one particular side of your garden, you will be sure where to mulch for winter for the seeds to germinate afterward. 

If you dig a large root ball, the foxglove plant should fit easily, but the new hole should not be deeper. As soon as you are done digging, place the translated plant in the new location and cover. Foxgloves dwell in moist grounds for them to reproduce extensively. Thus, after transplanting, look forward to keeping your ground moist but not muddy. This way, you will facilitate the establishment of the plant in the new location.

Nonetheless, foxgloves should be transplanted after one year or during the spring in year two. Moreover, keep a close eye on the plants’ progress in the new grounds in case of wilting. Foxgloves can be transplanted if their current location’s soil is not fertile enough. Also, if the foxgloves are growing in isolation, they should be mixed with the other bunch for better progress tracking. Nevertheless, the foxgloves that are planted together, are easy to manage when preparing for the winter seasons. 

FAQs on Winterizing Foxglove Plants 

1. Do you cut back foxgloves during the winter? 

Yes, foxgloves are cut back before winter to enable easy preparation for seed preservation during winter. Cutting back of foxgloves is done after the summer season, either before or after they set seed. Moreover, biennial foxgloves can be uprooted once they set seed, and then the ground is prepared for winter. However, perennial foxgloves are only cut back for autumn to be ready to bloom the following year. 

2. What conditions do foxgloves like to grow in? 

Foxgloves bloom more when exposed to partial shade or full shade under a hot sun during the summer. The best sun temperature that helps them bloom better is the midday and afternoon one. Moreover, under sunny conditions, foxgloves bloom better as compared to cold seasons. 

Nonetheless, foxgloves can survive in as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. They should, however, be covered under a layer of mulch to aid in the preservation of moisture contents in the soil. In snow prompt areas, the snow cover at times helps to preserve foxgloves during the winter months. 

3. Do foxgloves come back every year? 

Yes, foxgloves bloom every year, especially the perennial foxgloves. Moreover, with adequate preparation of foxgloves before winter, you will be sure to get more foxglove plants once the seeds germinate. The foxglove flower can grow up to five feet tall with beautiful blooms all over. For biennial plants to bloom more, plant them for two years in a row, and you will be sure to harvest foxgloves every summer. 

4. Can foxgloves survive frost? 

Yes, they can. Under proper preservation techniques before winter, foxgloves can survive frost and re-germinate after. By applying a layer of mulch all over your foxglove garden, you will be able to maintain the conditions necessary for their germination. Hence, the foxglove seeds will be dormant and germinate when conditions are favorable. 

5. Do foxgloves kill? 

Yes, foxgloves can easily kill anyone when consumed. The whole foxglove plant is poisonous. Hence, the gardener should take the much-needed caution when handling and preparing it. Foxglove poisoning is harmful to internal organs and affects both human beings and animals. After ingesting, it causes severe stomach aches. Also, it targets the heart by lowering the pulse rate and thus, can cause death if the signs and symptoms are not handled on time.

Final Thoughts 

Foxglove plants have their various pros and cons. Nonetheless, farmers across the world have not stopped growing them for basic or commercial uses. Planting foxgloves is not a hard task compared to maintaining them in the garden. You have to ensure that the setting is right to facilitate having successive blooms in the summer. 

There’s a need to prepare foxglove plants before winter for them to have a shot at surviving. After the plant has set seed, you can opt to cut back or up-root completely. However, after cutting back, you are required to set a layer of mulch on the ground to aid in preserving the right conditions for the germination of the foxglove seeds. At the end of winter, make sure you remove the excess mulch as the plant will already be growing to new heights. 

Under partial sunlight during the summer, foxglove plants bloom remarkably. However, it would be best not to randomly interact with the flower due to its poisonous nature. Handle foxgloves with care by putting on gloves and other protective gear when gardening. Moreover, keep the foxglove garden enclosed from the reach of children and animals who depend on garden foods. Always maintain foxglove gardens before winter for successive summers full of beautiful eye-catching blooms.