Foxgloves are some of the most common plant flowers during summer. They produce three to five-foot-long stems with tubular-shaped flowers. The plants can either grow as a biennial or perennial plants. Biennial foxgloves are those that don’t flower immediately. They require at least two years before they start blooming. On the other hand, perennial foxgloves are those that bloom every year.
However, should foxgloves be cut back?
Yes, they should be cut back. There are various reasons for this, which will be detailed further in this article. One of them being that foxgloves are poisonous plant species that grow wildly. With this fact, it is easy to understand why the plants should be cut back.
Moreover, in the first year, biennial foxgloves set root and grow foliage. In the second year, the foliage will, in turn, grow beautiful blooms during the summer. Also, this is the time that the biennial foxglove sets seeds after blooming and later dies. From purple to white flowers, they reproduce massively. Keep reading and get to know more about foxgloves and why they should be cut back.
Also CHeck: DO Foxgloves Flower Every Year?
Should You Cut Back Foxgloves?
Yes, you should. There are various reasons why every gardener thinks that they should cut back their foxgloves. Despite their breathtaking view when they bloom, foxgloves can be such a handful, especially if they grow wildly. They reproduce by setting seeds at the end of their blooming seasons. Nonetheless, they can either be biennial or perennial. Biennial foxgloves take two years before they bloom, unlike perennial foxgloves that bloom every year.
In the first year, biennial foxgloves set roots and grow foliage. During the second year, they bloom, set seeds then die. Foxgloves are known to be short-lived blossoming plants. However, before they dry and set thousands of seeds, you may consider cutting them back. Moreover, cutting back the plants will control the regrowth rate, and you will be able to set the number of seeds you would like, unlike having thousands from different foxgloves. Hence cutting back foxgloves is significant.
When to Cut Back Foxgloves?
Foxgloves require minimum care; therefore, they might grow to an unexpected extent. They can grow and regrow for decades without the gardener’s intervention. However, they will be filling up your garden, and also, they will be disorganized, which is risky. You need to know when is the best time to cut back your foxgloves before it’s too late for the next season or before they set seed.
After the first flower has finished blooming, you should cut back the stems. The process should be done at group levels. The plant should be cut back close to the ground level, so that layer mulching can easily be achieved. Also, after flowering, if you don’t want seeds for the future, you should cut back your foxgloves completely to discourage any chance of regrowth. Moreover, perennial foxgloves should be cut back in autumn to be ready to bloom in the following year.
Important Tips When Cutting Back Foxgloves
- Ensure that after cutting back, you do not throw the stalks in a compost heap as they will have a chance of regrowth.
- Minimize watering your foxgloves because, at the end of the summer and early fall, they will die.
- Use clean shears to cut back. Then, sterilize them before storage. Sterilization will ensure that nobody or animal that comes across the shears will be at risk of poisoning. Also, the same process needs to be done on the clothes used when cutting back.
- Cut back flowers at an angle of forty-five degrees, a quarter-inch above the next set of flowers.
How to Cut Back Foxgloves
Remove the flower stalks after three-fourths of the flower wilt and die. Cut back the foxglove with a pair of shears or hand clippers at the basal foliage. The foxglove flowers can last up to four weeks; however, their reproduction is not limited as they bloom all season long. Nonetheless, for the plant to reproduce consistently, the stalks are cut before the plant sets a seed. Cutting back for better produce is widely practiced after the foxglove plant has finished flowering during the summer or spring seasons.
Cut the brown or weak parts of the plant that do not have a chance of recovery. Hence, you will stimulate the new growth of the plant. The rest of the stem is cut back at the end of reproduction in one-third to one-half of the entire plant’s height.
Foxgloves are poisonous plants that occasionally grow in the summer and early spring seasons. They bloom beautiful breathtaking flowers all season long. However, behind their extraordinary beauty lies a poisonous plant that can cause a major harm. The foxglove plant as a whole is a poisonous plant covered by toxins that can kill if ingested. From human beings to animals and pets, none of them is safe near a foxglove plant.
For human beings, minimum skin contact can be effective for their health. However, the crucial circumstances come when you ingest a part of the foxglove plant. Moreover, the seeds are more practical to internal organs once consumed and can kill in no time. Gobbling foxglove parts slows your pulse, and if no immediate action is taken, it leads to death. The same effect happens to animals upon consumption. Therefore, it is advisable to handle foxgloves with care by cleaning up after tending to your garden.
Also, you may opt to build a barricade that covers the ground where your foxgloves are growing. As a farmer, you should also watch your pets as they go out to play, not to get close to the foxglove garden. For these reasons, most farmers opt to cut back their foxgloves to avoid any incidents around the farm.
Nonetheless, on the positive side, the foxglove plant provides refuge for some bees and specific bird species by providing nectar. They can also be planted on large scales because their leaves are a vital ingredient in the reproduction of heart medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it essential to cut back foxgloves?
Yes, in one way or another, every gardener will find themselves in such a position. Foxglove plants grow wildly, and when they are in excess, the farmer may consider cutting them back before they spread to other parts of the garden. Also, in winter preparation, the gardener needs to cut back their foxgloves and apply mulch if they want them to bloom the following year. Moreover, foxgloves can be cut back after they flower in the summer to promote a new and more significant plant by averting stunted growth.
2. When you cut back foxgloves, will they grow back?
For foxgloves to grow back or not, it depends mainly on when they were cut back. When you cut back your foxgloves before they finish flowering, there is a better chance of them not growing back the following year. However, if you cut back your foxgloves at the end of summer or early spring, they would have already dried up and set seed. Therefore, in the following year, there is a high probability of regrowth.
3. How do you keep foxgloves blooming?
The best way to keep your foxgloves blooming is by cutting them back after they have finished flowering. Also, by cutting their stalks when there is still foliage, it will improve the foxglove growth hence, increasing reproduction once the plant starts blooming.
4. After cutting back, do foxgloves bloom well under the sun or shade?
Foxgloves bloom well under shade and not direct sunlight. Moreover, they require moist grounds to facilitate the germination of their seeds. After cutting back, you may apply a layer of mulch or organic fertilizer to maintain the moisture content under the surface. Also, the covering will reduce direct sun rays from reaching the plant.
5. Do foxgloves self-seed?
Yes, they do. Especially if you cut back your foxgloves after they dry up at the end of summer, they will have already set seed for the next generation of the plant. Biennial foxgloves take up to two years to bloom and set seed; however, perennial foxgloves set seed every year after they bloom. Biennial foxgloves are more common as compared to the growth of perennials.
Despite foxgloves being some of the deadliest plants around, they offer various benefits. They are grown under specific conditions; however, in one way or another, they have to be cut back during their lifetime. Nonetheless, the plants have a short life span of one to two years for perennial and biennial foxgloves, respectively. By cutting them back before flowering, the plants will have a better chance to bloom more when in season. On the other hand, if they are cut back after summer before they dry, the gardener may opt to get rid of them from the farm. However, when they are cut back after they dry, the farmer may consider getting rid of the old ones and setting the garden for the new ones before winter approaches. Foxglove plant cutting back is essential in different ways.