Foxgloves

kay9July 2, 2014

I love foxgloves and have put several in the garden. They bloom, but they look awful. They grow several stalks on each plant and the stalks don't get more than 6 to 10" tall. Is this because they are in full sun? I've tried removing all but one stalk but it doesn't help.

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phlowerpower(5)

I'm in zone 5 and I grow them on the east side of trees so they get mostly morning sun then some dappled sun the rest of the day. They do best in soil enriched with compost and leaf mold, retaining a lot of water. If they get too dry they show signs if stress.

Not really sure why yours are growing the way you describe. Mine usually have a strong, tall center flower stalk with smaller off shoots. Sounds as if you are only getting the offshoot type of growth. What kind are you growing? Are you starting from seed or plants? Do you have any pictures?

Now is a good time to start them from seed, btw.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 3:55PM
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gardenweed_z6a

Despite the fact they're biennials, I did grow them from seed a few years ago. They weren't reliable (since I assumed they were perennials--in error).

A lesson in gardening: you're not in control. Mother Nature IS and you need to learn what works or doesn't in your own garden.

If you don't spread mulch over recycled corrugated cardboard to control weeds in your garden beds (like I do), you likely have a better chance of them self-seeding. According to my perennial guidebook, they typically prefer full sun to partial shade in "humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil."

They bloom, but they look awful.

It's only a guess but in your warmer USDA zone, they might grow better in less sun. Over the years I've learned to plant things where they thrive and when they don't, to reassess their growing conditions and move them, no matter what the plant tags say.

It's a garden, not a blueprint. No plant will perform exactly the same in every garden, in every zone, in every soil type. Find what works for you and do it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 8:51PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Our foxgloves ar doing well in sandy soil and partial shade.

Nancy.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 4:33PM
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kay9

Thanks! I think they need to be moved. My garden is a laboratory, after all.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 5:21PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Foxgloves need a period of cold - vernalisation - in order to bloom well. As a rule, biennials will grow leaves the first year, reaching 2-3 feet in the UK while the second year results in a tall flowering spike (mine are around 7feet tall in shady woods). Perhaps yours are behaving as small annuals - there are quite a few smaller first year flowering foxgloves such as the Dalmation and Foxy series, which flower with a much shorter spike. Alternatively, if the main stalk is damaged or finished, a plant will put forth much smaller side shoots (which have nothing of the dramatic elegance of the tall main spike).

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 5:35PM
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