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17 messages
02/05/2012 at 09:50

Hi, sorry newbie gardener and not sure if this is a hosta or whether it is a weed as it seems to be overtaking the garden and I have quite a few of them spread around now. Any help qppreciated.

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/7238.jpg?width=452&height=350&mode=max

02/05/2012 at 09:54

Foxglove-will be in flower soon.

Was there a prize?

02/05/2012 at 10:21

Wow, ok thanks.  I won't dig them all up then!  The prize is the knowledge that you've kept the foxgloves alive!  Thanks again.

02/05/2012 at 17:25

Claire, just so as you know, these things self-seed like crazy, so once they've flowered cut most of them down!

02/05/2012 at 21:06

If it had been a hosta you would not have had time to take a photo because something would have eaten it whilst you were fetching your camera.

03/05/2012 at 07:59

Thanks Excitable Boy that explains why I thought they were weeds as they are EVERYWHERE!  Stupid question but how do I cut down?  Just cut down the flower stem or something more drastic?

03/05/2012 at 08:03
You can pull the whole plant out. They are biennial, and die after flowering, looking rather scruffy in the process.
03/05/2012 at 08:41

I wouldn't pull them all out or you won't get any more in two years' time  - choose the ones whose flowers you like best and leave them to set seed.  When the seed is ripe cut the stem and shake the seeds in the area of garden you'd like them to grow.  As they're perennials, the following year you'll get baby foxglove plants growing - to get good flowers then them out to about 18" apart, replanting the ones you take out in other parts of the garden and watering them well.  The following year you'll get lots more foxglove flowers.

03/05/2012 at 10:56

Yes, they look very tired by the time they have finished flowering. Generally I find the whole plant will pull out fairly easily, but then I am in the moist moist south west, lol.

I am sure you are already aware, but remember that all parts of the foxglove are poisonous if eaten. Smaller children love to pull the flowers and put them on their fingers as they look made for this. Discourage this as the poison (digitalis) is concentrated in the nectar and pollen.

03/05/2012 at 11:10
I think it's very likely that you already have young foxglove plants in the ground which will flower next year, but as Dovefromabove says, broadcasting seed will ensure an ongoing free supply, but the offspring may not come true to the parent plant due to cross pollination. Like Excitable Boy, I relocate some of mine- I'm in the south west too! Incidentally, you can predict with a great deal of certainty what colour the flowers will be by looking at the base of the leaves. If they have a pink flush (as seen in the main plant in your picture) the flowers will be the usual foxglove pink/purple. If white, the flowers will be as well. I have a variety that come up year after year, all self sown, in a variety of pinks, whites and apricot, as a result of cultivated varieties that I grew yolks ago.
04/05/2012 at 07:00

Thanks so much for all your help.  This is such a great forum.

04/05/2012 at 08:31

Icannot bear to pull out self seeded foxgloves. They pop up in the most hostile places that you have to admire their tenacity. Sometimes it can surprise you how good they look even if it wasn't in the original planting plan.

04/05/2012 at 09:29

hi looks like self seeded foxgloves to me. I love them as it's good fun to watch the bee's go in the flowers then fall as the flower falls.

04/05/2012 at 09:35

Good weed supressant! Does well in shady part of garden, likes it moist. Enjoy! Good

 luck with your gardening!

04/05/2012 at 10:37
sciencegirl wrote (see)

Icannot bear to pull out self seeded foxgloves. They pop up in the most hostile places that you have to admire their tenacity. Sometimes it can surprise you how good they look even if it wasn't in the original planting plan.

Neither can I! I love seeing them grow in walls or silly places. People walk past them all the time without realising what the plant is. I do tend to give seedling the benefit of doubt which means that I can end up with lots of weeds, but it is all part of the garden picture.

04/05/2012 at 11:06
blairs wrote (see)
sciencegirl wrote (see)

Icannot bear to pull out self seeded foxgloves. They pop up in the most hostile places that you have to admire their tenacity. Sometimes it can surprise you how good they look even if it wasn't in the original planting plan.

Neither can I! I love seeing them grow in walls or silly places. People walk past them all the time without realising what the plant is. I do tend to give seedling the benefit of doubt which means that I can end up with lots of weeds, but it is all part of the garden picture.

I know the feeling. We have lots of valerian growing in our garden walls and it is such an attractive plant we can't bear to pull it out.

04/05/2012 at 11:18
Beware valerian in walls - the roots get very large and can wreak havoc. I've got a walled garden and speak from experience. Having walls rebuilt can be very expensive. English Heritage won't have it anywhere on their sites.
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17 messages