Foxglove is often planted as an ornamental for its delicate trumpet-like flowers and easy-growing attitude. However, foxglove is not without problems. Foxglove can fall prey to a number of persistent or fatal fungal diseases. Even healthy foxglove can be problematic, and foxglove's leaves are poisonous if ingested or touched. In some areas, foxglove grows aggressively and is classified as a noxious weed. Fortunately, foxglove is easy to get rid of by applying control methods for one or two seasons.
Raze the stand of foxglove. A lawnmower will take care of large dense stands. If at all possible, try to tackle the stand before it flowers. Continue to cut the stand back as soon as it reaches two to three inches in height. Do not let the plant flower.
Collect all cut all of the plant material, and then bag it and throw it away. Do not leave it in the field. Foxglove seed may still mature after it is cut from the plant.
Spray foxglove with a Picloram herbicide in the fall. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and amounts. Re-spray any regrowth at the interval dictated by the manufacturer throughout the rest of fall. Wait until next fall (if there is any regrowth) to spray again. Herbicide is only minimally effective on foxglove in other seasons.
Plant native, quick-growing ornamental plants or ground cover in the area once the foxglove is no longer present. The new plants will prevent the foxglove from establishing itself in the area again. Keep the soil fertile and moist to keep the new plants strong, which will make the soil too moist and fertile to be attractive to foxglove.
Do not uproot the foxglove plants or till the soil. This will push foxglove seed to the surface where it will germinate readily. Always wear long clothing and gloves when tackling the foxglove stand. The plant's toxins can be absorbed through the skin.
Tips and warnings
- Do not uproot the foxglove plants or till the soil. This will push foxglove seed to the surface where it will germinate readily.
- Always wear long clothing and gloves when tackling the foxglove stand. The plant's toxins can be absorbed through the skin.
- Michigan State University Extension: Digitalis Purpurea--Foxglove
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: Foxglove
- Interstate Pest Control Compact; Appendix F; Thomas Sim; April 1998
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture: Grecian Foxglove
- Minnesota Department of Transportation; Herbicide Trials on Grecian Foxglove (Digitalis lanata) Along State Highway 95 Right-of-Way in Minnesota; Paul Walvatne et al.; September 2001