Do foxglove have deep roots?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by sjs, Aug 11, 2021.

  1. sjs

    sjs Member

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    I was just wondering if anyone knows how deep the roots system of foxglove gets? Is it a taproot, or mostly near the surface?
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Check out the species information in E-Flora BC: E-Flora BC Atlas Page. It shows a shallow root system. Even if it did have a tap root, it wouldn't matter if you're trying to eliminate flowering specimens, since the roots will die at the end of the summer.
     
  3. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    From my experience, the roots are fairly easy to pull - definitely not tap rooted but they don't always die at the end of summer in my area anyway. The real challenge to eliminating foxgloves, beautiful though they may be, is the incredible number of seeds which will continue to germinate for years and years after they were produced. Unlike some other weeds however, it takes a while before they flower and produce yet more seeds so you do have a window of opportunity to pull them out before that happens.
     
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  4. sjs

    sjs Member

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    The reason I ask was not for elimination. I purchased a perennial variety at local nursery (Arctic Fox Rose) and the spot I chose to plant it is in a rock garden area. There feels like a flat stone about 8 - 9 inches underneath and the space has only around 6-7 inches around due to other stones. It may not have enough space to go deep but it might be ok laterally.

    If I deadhead before seeds fall, won't that prevent reseeding? I don't actually know if the one I have will reseed itself.
     
  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I agree with Margot - above

    We have similar experience

    They seed freely (the common wild ones here out west)

    But I don’t mind - the bees and hummingbirds seem to feed from them

    And they are easy to pull
    (Unlike morning glory (aka bindweed) or ivy or alstroemeria (a recent conversation here))
     
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  6. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Deadheading foxgloves isn't as easy as you might think because they bloom along lengthy stems over a long time. Even while the buds are still opening at the top of the stalk, they are already going to seed at the bottom. I think it would get very tedious to pick off the lower, spent flowers and you certainly wouldn't want to pull the entire plant prematurely.
    Whatever you choose to do, just know that all foxgloves seed abundantly although the hybrid ones won't look exactly like their parent plants. Also, the seeds are on nature's 'timed release' program, meaning that many seeds wait years to germinate. In my garden, I still have dozens of foxgloves coming up every season 5 years or more since I decided to eliminate them by pulling them all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
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  7. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I grew a perennial species of foxglove before and got no reseeding from that. Not sure about this lovely new Arctic Fox cultivar. Reseeding does not seem to be mentioned anywhere online. The typical Digitalis purpurea we see around here does definitely reseed, but I was always happy it did.
     
  8. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I read something earlier about hybrid foxgloves not coming true to type but do you think I can find it again? Come to think of it though, a hybrid type I planted years ago did not self seed. Then of course you need to buy Arctic Fox or other hybrids yearly or every second year - much more expensive that letting common types reseed. I knew someone who wanted only white foxgloves in his garden so religiously weeded out all but white ones so, over time, white predominated.

    I can't resist sharing this photo again of a foxglove I found among all the normal ones. Foxglove peloria: Pelorism - Wikipedia I wonder if you allowed seeds from such plants grow and no others, if you'd find a higher percentage of peloric flowers. Not sure I'd want that in any case - kind of weird.
     

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  9. Nik

    Nik Rising Contributor

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    I actually tried the opposite for several years, removed all white ones as soon as the first flower opened, but I gave up. Even with that effort, more than 95% of them were still white and the rest pale pink/purple. Ultimately, I decided white ones look good too.
    Here is a picture from last year of few growing on top of a pile of rocks. So I imagine they can do well in a rock garden area, as long as there is enough moisture.
    I agree with Margot, I do not see the appeal of a peloric flower. (And I have never seen one on the ones in our yard.)
     

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  10. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Ha! I really like seeing them, and thought that if I posted enough of them I'd remember the term, but it's not happening, so it's nice to see it here.
     
  11. sjs

    sjs Member

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    Hold on, the tag it came with says perennial. Doesn't that mean it will come up every year beyond two years?
     
  12. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes this one is described as perennial and should come back for years. It's kind of new though, so see how it does for you. They are quite pretty and supposed to be very hardy.
     
  13. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Well, what do you know!? It is said to be perennial and, if it doesn't spread by seed, something I'd consider growing in my garden too. Please let us know how it performs for you.
     

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