How to Prune Foxgloves

A Digitalis Purpurea aka Foxglove stand in bloom. image by


Foxglove, known botanically as digitalis, is a biennial flowering plant grown from seed. Foxglove produces tall bloom spikes in spring and summer and thrives in full sun to partial shade exposures. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8 and likes a nutrient rich and moist growing soil. Required maintenance and pruning is minimal for foxglove and can be completed quickly and easily when needed.

Step 1

Harvest bloom stalks just when they begin to open for use in long-lived cut flower arrangements. Deadhead fading blooms on the plant to spur new flower production. Cut back the stems to the crown of the plant. Foxglove readily self sows, so do not cut down all blooms. Allow some to die back and release their seed to the ground and wind.

Step 2

Inspect your foxglove plants regularly when watering, and look for damaged or diseased foliage and stems. Cut back down to the base of the leaf or bloom in question, and discard any material suspected of harboring disease. Other off cuts can be tossed into the compost bin.

Step 3

Hard prune your foxglove foliage back in the late fall or early winter after the first hard frost when the seeds have been released to the soil. Shear off the dying or dead foliage with your secateurs down to the soil surface and compost them.

Tips and Warnings

  • While digitalis is used in commercial pharmacological preparations as an untreated plant; it is poisonous if consumed and can be deadly.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs


  • Purdue University
  • USDA Plant Database profile
Keywords: foxglove digitalis, flowering biennial plants, prune cut back

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: