Will foxglove come back if they've already bloomed & have no seed

garden_for_life(5b/6)October 20, 2008

I bought some foxglove at a nursery sale and there wasn't any seeds left on them. I assume that they bloomed earlier in the season. Will the same plant come back if it has already bloomed? Or do they only come back from reseeding? Does the same hold true for hollyhocks?

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terrene(5b MA)

That depends on what kind of Foxglove you bought. What does your tag say? Digitalis purpurea is a biennial foxglove, that produces a rosette of basal leaves the first year, then sends flower spikes up the 2nd year. Then it usually dies back, but sometimes it will bloom a bit a 3rd year, especially if you deadhead the spent blooms and don't allow it to go to seed.

Digitalis grandiflora is a perennial foxglove and usually has light yellow flowers. Digitalis x mertonensis is a hybrid between the two and is a short-lived perennial, and may bloom for 2 or 3 years.

If you have the Digitalis purpurea, does it look like it already formed flower spikes? If so, then it has bloomed already and is unlikely to bloom again. It forms big clumps of leaves the first year that look like this picture, so if it looks like this then it is going to bloom next year (usually in June).

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 6:40PM
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My policy when it comes to foxgloves is to leave them be and wait until they return the following year. Sometimes they will develope new growth from the base which will root and so keep going for another year.

I have four Purpureas which are going strong after flowering this year. Three were not cut back and I have gathered seeds from them but there is so much basal growth that they will no doubt return next year.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:04PM
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I checked, terrene, and most are a purpurea called "Pam's Choice". They look just like your photo and did not have flower spikes unless the nursery took them off, which is unlikely/wouldn't make sense. Tiffy, good advice and I will not cut anything down, including the couple that DO have flower spikes. Thanks so much, I really appreciate your replies!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 10:51AM
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terrene(5b MA)

That is a pretty cultivar! You would be able to find the stubs of the flower stalks if the nursery had cut them off. It doesn't make sense to me for the nursery to sell Digitalis purpurea that had already bloomed, because the 1st year of blooms is always the showiest. But it may be a hard sell for the nurseries to sell a plant that looks like a clump of leaves! Although most of the Foxglove that I've bought was just that.

It sounds like you should have some nice blooms next year. I love Foxglove!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 7:56PM
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