When to cut back foxgloves – top tips for maintaining your garden

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Foxglove plants are striking plants which adorn many gardens across Britain. They can grow in almost any soil, but do not like extremely wet or dry conditions. Express.co.uk has compiled a list of top tips to help you grow and cut back these flowers.

Foxgloves are hugely popular cottage garden plants known for their bell-shaped and tubular flowers.

Most plants are biennial which means they put on root and foliage growth in year one.

They tend to flower and self-seed in year two before dying.

Foxglove is a flower which blooms during spring and summer, thriving in full sun or partial shade.

All parts of foxgloves are poisonous and can kill an adult human if any part of it is infested.

You should grow foxgloves in moist but well-drained soil.

Most foxgloves thrive in dappled shade and prefer native habitats in woodland clearings or at the foot of a native hedge.

Foxgloves are very nectar-rich and therefore are highly appealing to pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies.

How to grow foxgloves

These plants prefer lighter soils.

However, they will grow well in heavy clay soils with lots of added organic matter, such as compost.

You should sow foxglove seeds outdoors in late spring or early summer in well-prepared seedbeds and keep the soil moist until germination takes place.

Foxgloves can be planted at any time of the year, but you should avoid doing so when the soil is frozen solid, waterlogged or extremely dry.

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When to cut back foxgloves

Foxgloves require very little care and will flower and seed without any intervention from the gardener.

You should cut back the faded flower stems of foxgloves after the first flowers have finished.

When cutting back, you should try to cut the flower stems to group level and give them a good feed with liquid plant food to encourage a second flush of flowers.

After flowering, you should cut back the faded flower stems to ground level, unless you want to collect seed for future sowing or want the plants to self-seed.

If you do want seeds for the future, you should cut down the stems after the seed has been collected or shed.

Deadheading spent blooms after flowering will encourage a second flush.

Perennial foxgloves should be cut back in autumn, ready to bloom again the following year.

Tips for cutting back foxgloves plants

  • Always use clean and sterile pruning shears
  • Cut flowers off at a 45-degree angle – around a quarter of an inch above the next set of leaves.
  • Be careful not to throw the spikes into the compost as they can regrow there.
  • Reduce watering to every other week as your foxglove foliage dies in the late summer and early fall.

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