Foxglove Isn't Blooming

Biennials and perennials are the workhorses of the summer garden and can be easily encouraged to offer more than one bloom cycle. Strategic use of fertilizers, proper watering techniques, and pruning all keep Foxgloves producing flower spikes from late spring to the middle of summer. Because most Foxglove varieties are biennial, knowing how to manipulate their prolific self-sowing habit is important to establishing future flowering plants. 


Common Reasons Why Foxglove Isn’t Blooming

The main reason that Foxgloves may not be blooming is their age. Biennial plants only bloom in their second year of growth. Even the perennial types of Foxglove need one year of growth before reliably forming flower spikes. Generally, most perennials bought in a nursery are over one year old and ready to flower after planting. Plants started from seed in your garden will not bloom until the following year after a period of winter dormancy. Foxgloves are great for growing in shadier positions in the garden and can add a vertical element or punch of color in woodland-type settings, although full shade will result in shorter or fewer flowers. Foxglove does not require heavy fertilizing, and a light application of slow-release fertilizer in the spring will result in good color and stem strength. 

Pruning Foxglove To Help It Bloom

Pruning is an easy way to encourage most flowering plants to produce blooms longer into the growing season. Deadheading flowers as they die back will help Foxglove to produce side shoots. These shoots will develop into flower spikes and extend the blooming period. Removing the spent flowers also reduces the amount of seed that Foxglove produces. While this is the best way to control self-seeding, the biennial D. purpurea will need to set seed to continue growing future generations in the garden. 

Fertilizing Foxglove To Help It Bloom

Foxgloves appreciate rich, loamy soil but are not “hungry” plants that need a regimented fertilizing schedule. Applying a slow-release fertilizer early in the spring is enough to support flowering through the growing season. Perennial types of Foxglove will benefit from an annual application of fertilizer, while biennials only require feeding the second year before flowering. 

Get Foxglove To Produce More Blooms

Foxglove blooms best when it is consistently watered while growing in well-draining soil to reduce the risk of overwatering. Letting Foxglove dry out too much or too often will reduce blooming and flower size. In the warmer gardening zones, Foxglove may not always flower well from year to year. This is often due to a warm winter and a lack of cold enough temperatures for the plant. Foxglove requires exposure to temperatures of 35 degrees F or lower to produce flower spikes the following spring. 

Why Foxglove Isn’t Blooming

  • Plant Foxglove in well-draining soil that stays consistently moist 
  • Fertilize once in the spring with a slow-release feed
  • Deadhead spent flowers regularly, especially on the perennial varieties
  • Both perennial and biennial plants only flower after they are mature
  • Vernalization (chilling) is required to set blooms
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Author Robbin Small - Published 6-28-2023