Dividing Digitalis purpurea Foxgloves

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by Ockbrook_85, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. Ockbrook_85

    Ockbrook_85 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hello all,

    I have a quick question regarding biennial foxgloves. I received small plug plants this time last year, and planted them in the garden around May time. Last summer, they grew rather large and leafy but without flowering as expected. However, over winter the leaves have become quite tatty.

    Could someone give me some advise about how to care for them this spring? They definitely need moving as they look rather cramped in their current positions.

    A family friend said to divide them, but is this correct for biennial foxgloves? If so, is this just a case of lifting them, and cutting through the centre?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Rachael
     
  2. Anthony Rogers

    Anthony Rogers Guest

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    Hi Rachael,

    The not flowering last year is perfectly normal. This type of Foxglove is sown one year to flower the next. What you would have received were seed grown plants. They will flower this year and then die.

    You could tidy the plants up by removing the tatty leaves but personally I would wait another few weeks yet as we are only into the first week of Spring.

    As to moving and dividing them, I personally wouldn't as you have to remember that their only objective now is to flower and set seed and then die, and all this will happen within the next three months.
     
  3. Ockbrook_85

    Ockbrook_85 Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi Anthony,

    Many thanks for your advice - I'll definitely avoid dividing then, and perhaps allow the plants to self-seed after flowing in the summer. Unfortunately, some may need moving still, as they're currently taking up valuable space in the vegetable patch! However, I'll be very careful not to disrupt the roots too much.

    Many thanks again,
    Rachael :-)
     
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    • longk

      longk Total Gardener

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      Save yourself the effort and just pull the unwanted ones out. If they're a year old they'll not move successfully.
       
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      • clueless1

        clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

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        I've never had a problem moving established foxgloves. I used to move them about all the time at my last garden. I haven't grown them for years now though due to the incompatibility between extreme neurotoxin and children I want to keep.
         
      • longk

        longk Total Gardener

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        As long as you don't break the taproot. Some of them have been 25cm long when I've finally gotten to the bottom of it!
         
      • clueless1

        clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

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        I didn't know about tap roots in those days. I just applied the rules that I take as much soil as possible with the plant. For well established foxglove, I'd push the spade down to one spit deep, inline with the edge of the leaves. Then I'd go to the opposite side and sink the spade again, lever the whole block out, and drop it in a similar sized ready prepared hole where I wanted it. The soil from the destination hole would fill the hole that the foxglove left. It worked every time.
         
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        • Ockbrook_85

          Ockbrook_85 Apprentice Gardener

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          Hi all,

          Thank you for your helpful comments - I'm going to try transplanting half of the plants to a new location, whilst leaving half in place. I'll let you know if they survive the trauma!

          Thanks again,
          Rachael
           
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