starting foxglove outdoors

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

I've had good luck starting foxglove, delphinium, lupine, etc., indoors. Delphinium did not like being transplanted, but I got a few plants, and the foxglove have done well.

I'm starting another bed this year and want more of the same, but I have acquired a feline princess whose job it is to destroy houseplants.(That's her in the photo, resting up from her latest adventures.)

Can I sow the seeds for foxglove, delphinium, lupine, outdoors? I am in zone 6, Michigan, with a very sheltered yard. Anyone had success with this?

This message was edited Apr 8, 2011 6:32 AM

This message was edited Apr 8, 2011 6:33 AM

Thumbnail by museumgirl
Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

aww she is soo pretty tho....Have you ever winter sowed,my1st time this year.I have 50 milk jugs out in the garden ,put them out in the snow.Looks like Ive got 1/2 of them germinating so far.All perrinials

Im sure you can still start some foxglove out side even now,get a milk jug ,cut it around an leave 3or4 inches as a hinge,fill it with 4 inches of seed starting mix add seed ,tape closed set outside where it will get sun..Oh drill holes on top and bottom of the jugs..Kinda of a mini greenhouse.

Thumbnail by huggergirl
Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Go over to winter sowing ,scroll down to whatcha sowing 2011,come join us,I dont know how to do a link...LOL

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

That's a great idea, I never heard of using the milk jug! That would save the trauma of transplanting! I have had them self-seed, at least, I think they do, they've been there a couple of years and I get blooms, so I guess they are doing something. Just need to get them started in the new bed. I'll give it a shot.
Yes, she is very pretty, but she has an evil streak! (we love her anyway!)

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Maybe a pot of catmint would help keep her away from your other plants?

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

museumgirl,did you find us over on whatcha sowing ???

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

Yes, huggergirl, I did. Although I ended up just sowing the foxglove in the garden and crossing my fingers. They have self-seeded with some success in years past.

as for catmint, I have a catnip plant in the garden, she doesn't care, she loves to eat house plants! Especially succulents, or anything in water that I am trying to root. Her brother chews my spider plants down to shreds!

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

museumgirl ,you and me do a plant swap??? I have foxglove...LOL

Royal Oak, MI(Zone 6a)

What do I have that you would want?

Silver Spring, MD

I have a little twist to the issue. I'm in the Washington, DC, area and as an experiment started a lot of foxglove seedlings indoors this summer in 1 1/2" expansion peat pots (the seedlings are now about 1" high with tertiary leaves forming). They are supposed to be true perennial varieties (Carillon, Polka Dot Polly, and Strawberry). I'll want to put them outside in early October to harden off before heavy frosts (they'll be approximately four months old at that point). Is there a way for seedlings this young to survive outside come winter?

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Since you started them indoors, they might be protected for their first winter. I put young plants in autumn/winter in my unheated greenhouse for the winter, just to safe them from really bad winds and very low temperatures. Here it freezes easily -20°C, but in my greenhouse the young plants are a bit more protected. If you have no greenhouse, place them in a protected spot in your garden.
May I suggest to winter sow your seeds in the future. The winter sowed seeds will be much stronger and will survive their first winter outside.


Silver Spring, MD

Thanks, Jonna. I wanted to get a jump on the 2012 growing season. Hopefully these particular foxgloves will be true perennials and I won't need to do this again. I do have an unheated, windowed porch, which sounds like it would be similar to your greenhouse, although I am in zone 7 and a little warmer. Wish me luck!

Galesburg, IL

Mintfresh, If you plant them outside about 6-8 weeks before your estimated killing frost, they should have plenty of time to establish a good root system and survive the winter. If you don't/won't have their final resting place ready by then, you can just plant the pots in the soil and they should have a good chance of survival. I have "planted" many different varieties of plants still in their pots directly in the soil with good overwintering results. The key to overwintering is the temperature and moisture content of the root mass. Planting the pots moderates the temp and also keeps the roots in a hydrated zone. Many failures of overwintering are due to moisture problems (too much or little) and not the actual temperature. Of course there are exceptions to this (plant outside their zone), Plants in exposed pots will often winterkill due not to temperature, but to root dessication.

Silver Spring, MD

Hello trc65. This information is very helpful. However, if I decide to put them in the ground instead of keeping them indoors, I would not put them in pots and then plant the pots in the ground. There are just too many plants to make that feasible. The foxgloves would have to go into the ground in their little peat pots. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Now I have to make a decision as to which way to go.

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