How do I propagate foxgloves?

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Foxgloves are short-lived perennials or biennials with funnel-shaped flowers that come in a variety of colours. The plant, which ultimately grows 90 cm to 1.5 metres (3 to 5 feet) tall, produces a rosette of leaves during its first year followed by flowers the next year. Foxgloves grow well in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil that has been fertilised with organic material. Foxgloves can be propagated very easily with seeds, or you can buy them as plants. It is also possible to start new foxglove plants by root division.

Grow from seeds

Foxgloves can be grown easily from seeds. Plant every year to guarantee vigorous blooms the following year. Sow the seeds in late summer or in autumn before the first frost. The seeds can be sowed indoors or outdoors in nursery beds, seedbeds or pots placed in a protected location. Once the seedlings emerge, transplant them to the desired spot in your garden. The germination of the seeds takes anywhere from 15 to 20 days at 15 to 21 degrees C (60F to 70F). Handle the plants very carefully when transplanting them, and keep the soil evenly moist until they are well established. For best effect, place foxgloves 30 to 45 cm (1 to 1 1/2 feet) apart or plant them in large drifts.

Self-sowing foxgloves

Foxgloves are able to self-sow. Let a couple of the flower spikes set seed, then crumble the resulting pods over the area where you want new plants. Once the seedlings have produced small leaf rosettes, you can move them to other locations. Plants that are grown from the self-sowing method are variables, so you won't have control over the colour of the flowers. In order to gain specific flower colours, buy the right seeds and propagate plants from them.

Root division

Foxgloves are easily propagated through root division. You can do this in early spring or autumn by digging up batches of the plant, separating them at the roots and then replanting them. Once foxgloves have been propagated and have started to grow, the plants require very little special care to thrive except for a deeper watering during very dry spells. The tall flower spikes stay straight without any support or stakes. For healthier blooms, replace the plants after two years.

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