What To Do With Foxgloves When They’ve Finished Flowering

What To Do With Foxgloves When They've Finished Flowering

You can remove the spent flowers and the dry foliage once foxgloves finish flowering. Also, if the foxglove plant is in the last days of its lifespan, wait until the seed and harvest the seeds. 

Foxgloves are such a beautiful addition to the garden in their early days, but what do you do when they finish blooming? 

The flowering season may be long, but once it’s fall, it’s time to start thinking about what you need to do with the foxgloves. When it’s fall season, the foxglove plants finish blooming. 

If you have foxgloves in your garden, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few things you can do with them! 

Keep reading to learn more!

What To Do With Foxgloves When They’ve Finished Flowering

Once your foxgloves have finished flowering, you can first deadhead the spent flowers in preparation for the fall. Secondly, let the seeds mature and self-sow, especially if your foxgloves are biennial.

But between the two options, which one is better? Which one should you explore? Well, the best option depends on your type of foxgloves. 

Let’s break down the two options.

After the bloom season is over, you can choose to deadhead your foxgloves. Deadheading is the removal of the spent flowers from the foxglove plant. It encourages the plant to produce more flowers as it attempts to re-seed itself. But how do you remove the spent flowers?

To deadhead, simply snip off the flower stem at the base of the plant. You should cut the flower stem back to just above where the next leaf grows. 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. Once they’re mature, let them self-disperse within the garden and naturally grow. 

However, I don’t recommend self-seeding because it results in a bushy garden. On the contrary, I recommend collecting the mature seeds and sowing them where you want new plants to grow.

But there is more to it. How do you tell whether to deadhead or let the foxgloves self-seed? 

You should consider deadheading perennial foxgloves and self-seed biennial flowers instead. Perennial foxgloves have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years and, therefore, will bloom annually before they die. However, biennial foxgloves flower once in their 2-year lifespan.

You can tell if a foxglove is perennial or biennial if it flowers in the first year. Biennial foxgloves do not flower in the first year. They bloom in the second year, set seeds, disperse them then die.

So, if you want your foxgloves to reseed themselves, only let the biennials do it. But if you plan to keep your foxgloves around for a while, deadhead the perennials.

When Should Foxgloves Be Cut Back?

You should cut back foxgloves after they have finished flowering. However, if you want to replace the dying foxgloves, cut them back after they set seed.

You need to consider a few realities before cutting your foxgloves back. 

One of the critical factors is the type of foxglove you have in your garden.  You should cut back perennial foxgloves but not biennial foxgloves. The second factor is the stage of your foxgloves’ lifespan.  Usually, if your foxgloves are dying, it’s wise to wait until they set seeds.

In most cases, most gardeners wait until the flowers have bloomed and begun to fade before cutting back their foxgloves. As a result, the plants have plenty of time to produce new blooms for the following year. 

However, the process only works if your foxgloves are perennial. And still, it is not always the case. Typically, perennial foxgloves have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. Therefore, when you cut them back in their early stages of growth, they will still flower the following year. 

But if the current foxgloves are dying, you need to have seeds to replace them, right? 

The second best time to cut back foxglove is immediately after the seeds are mature. But don’t you wait too long as the seeds may disperse, and you’ll have a hard time collecting them. 

Additionally, cutting back spikes after setting the seeds favors biennial foxgloves. These types only live for two years and produce flowers in their second year. So, if you want blooms in the coming years, you should wait to cut back until the seeds mature.

Generally, the best time to cut back perennial foxgloves is after they’ve finished flowering and for biennial foxgloves, after setting seeds. 

How Do You Prune Foxglove Flowers?

You can prune foxglove flowers by cutting off the yellow-brown leaves and deadheading the spent flowers. Additionally, cut the stalk of the foxglove flower to promote growth and deter self-seeding.

Let’s break down the process. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Remove The Yellow-Brown Flower Stalks

Once the flowering season is over, the spent flowers turn yellow or brown.  You should cut them away without harming the plant. 

Use a pair of pruning shears to cut them or simply snap them off by hand. Avoid hurting the rest of the stem, especially if it is still green.

2. Prune Away Any Dead Or Diseased Leaves

After removing the dead flowers, prune any dead or diseased leaves you notice on the foxglove plant. That way, you’ll keep the plant healthy and prevent the spread of diseases in the next season. 

Use a sharp pair of pruning shears to make clean cuts. Otherwise, blunt shears will tear the leaves instead and damage the plant.

3. Cut The Stalk Stem 

Also, you can cut the entire stalk down to about a half or a third of its height. Pruning the flower stalk encourages new growth and prevents the foxglove from becoming leggy. 

Unlike dry leaves and flowers, use shears and not hands when cutting the stem.


Will Foxgloves Come Back Every Year?

Yes, foxgloves will come back every year. Biennial foxgloves live for two years; in the first year, they grow leaves. In the second year, they produce flowers and then die at the end of the season. However, before dying, they have seeds that grow into new foxgloves.

On the other hand, perennial foxgloves flower for 3 to 5 years.  They produce seeds to encourage new growth at the end of their lifespan.

Do You Cut Foxgloves Back After Flowering?

Yes, you cut foxgloves back after flowering. Doing so will encourage more blooms and tidier growth in the next season. Additionally, cut the flower spikes back to prevent the foxglove from setting seeds. 

However, if the plant is dying, you may keep the seed heads to collect the seeds for replanting.

Do Foxgloves Self-Seed?

Yes, foxgloves self-seed easily around the garden once mature. However, you can harvest and sow the seeds if you have other plans, such as planting in pots. 

But what is self-seeding? Self-seeding is the process of the plant producing its seeds and dispersing them to the ground for germination. Usually, seeds germinate during the fall after staying dormant during the cold winter.

But what if you want to stop self-seeding? To prevent the cycle of self-seeding,  cut off the spent flowers using pruning shears. Additionally, you should remove all the spikes and seeds before they’re ripe.

Do Foxgloves Spread?

Yes, foxgloves spread as they self-seed. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising to find a foxglove germinating on the verge of the garden. But can you prevent a foxglove spread that ends up being bushy?

Your foxgloves will be more organized if you sow them in person. You, therefore, need to stop your foxgloves from self-seeding. Harvest the seeds early enough and plant them individually. Also, it is essential to prune some of the foxgloves and leave a manageable few for the seeding.

Should I Pull Out Foxgloves?

In a three-word answer, yes and no. Whether you should pull out foxgloves after flowering depends on the type of foxgloves you have in the garden. As aforementioned, there are two types of foxgloves; biennial and perennial.

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. Instead, you can deadhead them and wait for the next season. 


As the days grow shorter and the weather cooler, many gardeners face the dilemma of what to do with foxgloves when they’ve finished flowering? It’s easy enough to leave them be, especially if you want them to self-seed. But other options include cutting off the dry flowers. 

Now that you know what to do with your foxgloves when they’ve finished flowering, it’s time to put this information into action! Be sure to keep an eye on your plants and take advantage of the beautiful blooms.