How to Winterize Foxglove, Common White

Overview

Foxglove, known botanically as Digitalis, is a species of biennial flowering plant in the figwort family. It blooms in the spring and summer producing tall flower spikes on strong stems with multiple blooms in the dozens on every stem. Grown in beds, borders and containers, foxglove is also cultivated for use in pharmaceutical products for heart ailments. Foxglove is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8 and grown as an annual in climates beyond its natural zones.

Step 1

Harvest foxglove blooms for cut arrangements and deadhead flowers in the summer and fall after they have gone to seed. If you do not want your foxglove to self-sow and spread, deadhead and discard the flower stalks as soon as the blooms begin to fade. Use clean sharp secateurs to make your cuts down at the base of the stalk at the crown of the plant.

Step 2

Prune back your foxglove in the fall after the first frost when all of the flowers are gone and the foliage is beginning to die back or look scruffy. In climates where the top foliage does not overwinter, shear down all of the dying foliage down to an inch or two above the crown of the plant. In warmer climates where the foliage does overwinter, prune away just the damaged or diseased foliage and spent bloom stalks leaving the healthy foliage in place.

Step 3

Water your foxglove deeply in the fall several times before the first hard frost. Apply water at the base of the plant only and never overhead to reduce the risk of disease taking hold. This will fortify the soil and plant roots against dry winter conditions. Watering after pruning will also reduce stress on the plant.

Step 4

Mulch around the foxglove foliage or over the sheared crown of the plant with an organic material in the fall after the first frost. Use compost, leaf mold, cocoa bean hulls or shredded bark for best effect. Mulch will hold warmth and moisture in the soil and keep down competitive and nuisance weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Water
  • Mulch

References

  • Texas A&M University: Foxglove
  • Cornell University: Foxglove
  • USDA Plant Database Profile
Keywords: digitalis, foxglove, overwinter

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.