Do You Cut Back Foxglove in the Fall?

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Cutting back foxglove plants in the fall can help them stay healthy. It also makes them look nice. But when is the best time to do it? And how should you cut them? This article will explain everything you need to know.

Do You Cut Back Foxglove in the Fall?

Here are the key things to learn:

  • When is the best time in fall to cut back foxgloves?
  • Should you cut back foxgloves that bloom just one year or ones that come back every year?
  • Why would you want to cut back foxgloves in fall?
  • How should you cut back foxglove plants?


Foxgloves are tall flowering plants that can bloom in different colors like purple, pink, white, or yellow. The flowers have a shape that looks like a tube or bell.

Foxgloves grow wild in some areas but they are also popular garden plants. People like to grow them for their pretty bell-shaped blooms.

But what should you do with the plants once they are done flowering in summer or fall? This article will go over everything you need to know about cutting back foxgloves in the fall.

You will learn when the best time is to cut them back. And whether you should cut back foxgloves that only bloom for one year or ones that come back every year.

You will also learn why you might want to cut them back. And how to properly cut back the plants without harming them.

Knowing these things will help you keep your foxglove plants healthy and looking their best!

When is the Best Time to Cut Back Foxgloves in Fall?

One important thing to know is when to cut back foxglove plants in the fall. Here are tips on the timing:

  • Many experts say late fall is the best time. That could be November or even early December in some areas.
  • Some people say to wait and cut back the plants in late winter. That is just before new growth starts in the spring.
  • Another option is to cut back foxgloves after they have set seed. This is often in early fall.

So in summary, later fall or late winter are good times. But you can also cut back foxgloves in early fall after the seeds have dropped.

Should You Cut Back Foxgloves That Bloom One Year or Every Year?

Next, should you cut back foxgloves that only live two years? Or ones that keep coming back every year?

Here is the difference between the two types:

  • Biennial foxgloves bloom flowers and set seed in their second year. Then the plants die.
  • Perennial foxgloves can bloom for many years. They are short lived but don’t die after blooming like biennials.

For biennial foxgloves it is fine to cut them back after they set seed. This is because the plants will die anyway at the end of two years.

For perennial plants, it is best to let them go to seed first. This way new foxglove plants can keep growing in the future. After seeds drop you can cut back perennial foxgloves.

Why Might You Want to Cut Back Foxgloves in the Fall?

What is the purpose of cutting back foxglove plants in autumn? Here are some reasons you might want to do it:

  • To prevent self-seeding. If you cut off the spent blooms before seeds drop, it stops them spreading.
  • To remove damaged growth. Getting rid of dead or unhealthy stems cleans up the plant for winter.
  • To control height. Cutting back can reduce tall, top-heavy growth so plants are less floppy.
  • To encourage more blooms. Sometimes cutting back in fall makes foxgloves bloom again next year.

So in summary, cutting back foxgloves can help manage self-seeding, improve appearance, and may boost future flowering.

How Should You Cut Back Foxglove Plants?

Do You Cut Back Foxglove in the Fall?

When you are ready to cut back foxglove plants, here are some tips on how to do it:

  • Use sharp, clean pruners or garden scissors to cut the stems. Dirty tools can spread disease.
  • Cut each stem down low to the ground level. Remove all the tall, dead flower stalks.
  • If you want to save seeds, then wait to cut back until after seeds drop. Or you can collect seeds by hand before cutting.
  • Put the cut debris in your compost pile or discard it. Don’t leave it around the garden.
  • Adding compost or fertilizer after cutting back can help feed the plants.

So in summary, use proper tools and cut back stems to the base. Discard debris and fertilize plants afterwards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about cutting back foxgloves:

How much should I cut back foxglove plants when I prune them?

You should cut all the way down to the ground level and remove all of the tall, dead flower stalks down to the lower leaves. This extensive cutting back helps improve the plant’s appearance.

I want to save foxglove seeds – when should I cut them back?

If you want to collect the seeds, wait to cut back foxgloves until after the seed pods have fully ripened and opened up. Then you can harvest the seeds before cutting down the stalks.

Is it okay to cut back foxgloves in the spring instead?

It’s better to cut back foxgloves in the fall. If you wait until spring, you may remove new growth that has started to emerge or damage the plant. Fall is a safer time.

Do I need to cut back foxgloves every single year?

You don’t have to prune foxgloves every year, but it is recommended to maintain their health. Try to cut them back at least every 2-3 years to remove old, woody growth.

Should I cut back foxgloves if they are still blooming late in the year?

Even if there are still some flowers, it’s fine to cut back foxgloves in fall. Removing the old blooms and stems will encourage fresh new growth and flowering next season.


Cutting back foxgloves in the fall has a number of benefits. It can prevent rampant self-seeding, get rid of dead growth, and encourage more blooms.

The best time to cut them back is typically late fall or late winter. Allow biennials to set seed first but cut perennials even if still blooming.

When cutting foxgloves, remove all the tall stalks down to the ground level. Use clean, sharp pruners and discard debris.

Now you know all about cutting back foxgloves in the fall. With this handy guide, you can properly prune your plants to keep them looking and growing their best

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