How To Deadhead Foxgloves

How To Deadhead Foxgloves

“The Revenge of Foxy, the Digitalis”

I recently bought a lovely Digitalis plant at the garden centre (Foxglove to you and me). It was already blooming and healthy looking with a gorgeous pink colour to it’s blossoms. In to the ground it went, along with care and compost, and it’s been watered every evening after the sun has gone down ever since. In return, my lovely little Foxy has flowered like mad, even growing three more spikes full of blossom, so it’s pretty safe to say that it’s been one happy little Digitalis.

Anyway, he had seemed to finally come to the end of his ability to show off for this year, so I thought to myself…hmm, better do some research about deadheading (which is a whole new concept in itself to me!) The first thing I read was that it’s best to remove the spikes once 3/4 of the blossoms have faded. Doing it at this time would stop the chance of reseeding and filling your entire flower bed with foxgloves the following year. Ooops.

How to DeadheadFoxgloves

My Foxglove was definitely past that point as all the flowers were now slowly rotting into the bed below and on inspection, little seed pods had formed on the spikes. Now what?? Well, according to the gospel of Google, the best thing to do is basically stick a bag over it’s head to capture the hundreds and thousands of tiny seeds as you cut off the spikes.

With this new information I grabbed a Top Shop bag and snuck up behind the Foxglove, feeling a bit like I was about to gag and blindfold a kidnap victim. Poor Foxy didn’t know what hit him as before he knew it, he was beheaded with all his tiny offspring rolling around in the carrier bag. Contraception for Digitalis at the highest level!

Anyway, before I could get too smug about stopping his genetic line, I decided to do a bit more research, and to my shock and horror I read that Foxgloves are generally biennial plants. Of course I’d read this on the card stuck in his pot when I bought him (yeah, right!), but confused biennial with biannual. I’d thought that my lovely plant would flower twice a year, but I had been duped. If he’d been biannual that would be the case, but as the little sod was in fact biennial it meant that he would die after his second season!

At least we would have another year together right?

Wrong! Apparently Foxgloves grow in the first year to establish themselves properly, and then only flower in the second year. Most of them then pop their clogs.

How To Deadhead Foxgloves

So Foxy got his revenge for being mugged with a Top Shop bag because he’s going to toddle off his mortal coil now anyway, and if I’d left those bloody seeds on him to fall around his basal root, instead of throwing them away in a carrier bag coffin, then I would have maybe had a new baby Foxy next year.

So today’s lesson …. Always read the instructions!

I did warn you that gardening wasn’t my strong point didn’t I?

For more gardening tomfoolery and other general twittish-ness check out the blog at

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2 thoughts on “How To Deadhead Foxgloves”

  1. You will never stop learning to be a gardener, it can be full of frustrations as well as immensely rewarding. In sub tropical Australia plants tend to grow like the proverbial beanstalk, well, in my garden they do. One thing I learnt early on is that many plants are cultivated in a climate different to the one they eventually grow up in. This can mean a huge difference in mature size and success. I dream of an English cottage garden but I have to be content with lush colourful foliage plants instead. The upside is they are less maintenance so more time for life !

    1. At the moment our English cottage garden looks a bit like an Aussie yard due to our never-ending heatwave!!!

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