Do you deadhead a foxglove flower?

Updated March 23, 2017

With its unusual, down-turned, tubular blooms, foxglove inspires nicknames such as fairy's glove, witches' gloves, gloves of our lady, fairy caps, folk's glove and fairy thimbles. Foxglove is the common name for plants of the Digitalis genus. The varieties usually found in gardens are common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea L.) and Grecian foxglove (Digitalis lanata).

Biennial plant

Foxglove is a biennial plant, meaning its life cycle covers two growing seasons. The first season, it produces leaves in rosettes; the second season, foxglove flowers, produces seeds, then dies. Foxglove readily reseeds itself, allowing it to appear almost as a perennial plant. Spent foxglove flowers can be deadheaded to keep the plant looking attractive. Just leave some flowers behind if you want the plant to reseed before dying for the next season.


Deadhead foxglove by removing individual spent blooms when about three-fourths of its flower spike has faded. The plant's stem can also be cut back to the basal rosettes after flowering is done. Foxglove plants sometimes re-bloom after deadheading, but with smaller flowers. Remove unattractive foliage from the plant, while it is still flowering, such as leaves that are brown or dead.

No pinching

Pinching means removing new growth from a plant to make it grow more compactly and produce more flowers. As a plant having one terminal flower spike, foxglove should not be pinched.

Growing conditions

Foxglove performs best in cool climates in moist, acidic, sandy loam soil with abundant organic material and partial shade. Foxglove works well in shady borders and woodland gardens. Remember that all parts of the plant are highly poisonous.

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About the Author

Located in the mid-Atlantic United States, Elizabeth Layne has covered nonprofits and philanthropy since 1997, and has written articles on an array of topics for small businesses and career-seekers. An award-winning writer, her work has appeared in "The Chronicle of Philanthropy" newspaper and "Worth" magazine. Layne holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The George Washington University.