Gardening Questions And Answers
Fertilization. If planted in organically rich soil, foxgloves need little to no fertilization during their lifetimes. A 1-inch layer of compost spread around the plant in early spring helps encourage good growth. Excess nitrogen, however, will encourage foliage growth to the detriment of the flowers.
A 1-inch layer of compost spread around the plant in early spring helps encourage good growth. Excess nitrogen, however, will encourage foliage growth to the detriment of the flowers. If you fertilize, do so in early spring with a small handful of granular, slow-release 5-10-5 fertilizer scattered around the plants.
Since foxgloves are biennial, the plants will root and produce foliage in their first year, then remaining dormant throughout winter before erupting into beautiful blooms the following year. These plants can be treated as annuals but will obviously be more expensive than buying seeds and growing them yourself.
Foxglove is used for congestive heart failure (CHF) and relieving associated fluid retention (edema); irregular heartbeat, including atrial fibrillation and “flutter;” asthma; epilepsy; tuberculosis; constipation; headache; and spasm. It is also used to cause vomiting and for healing wounds and burns.
Like other short-lived perennials, foxgloves benefit from pruning to keep them attractive and tidy, and to stimulate new growth. In some areas foxgloves are invasive. Remove flower stalks after three-fourths of the flowers fade. Cut the selected stems with a pair of pruning shears back to just above leaves.
Unprotected foxglove plants can dry out and die from the brutally cold winds of winter. Foxglove plants that have grown throughout the garden from natural self-sowing can be gently dug up and replanted as needed if they are not exactly where you want them. Again, always wear gloves when working with these plants.
Perennial foxgloves flower every year for the next three to five years. Species like Apricot Beauty, Regal Red and Snow Thimble are good choices. However, the majority of foxgloves are biennial, especially if grown from seed. This means they flower on the second year after being planted, then die back.
Foxgloves are an important source of pollen for bees. The species has evolved to be especially attractive to long-tongued bees such as the common carder bee. The brightly coloured flowers and dark spotted lip attracts the bee, while the lower lip of the flower allows the insect to land before climbing up the tube.