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Weed fabric or just Mulch for Foxgloves?

Carmi, IL(Zone 6b)

Hello, this is my first time growing foxgloves. I planted them but wanted to know if I should just mulch them or use weed fabric to discourage weeds. I have read that they reseed themselves & didn't know if they could do that if I use weed fabric. Thanks for any info!

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

For Fox Gloves, I would NOT bother to use the fabric, reason being, Fox Gloves are a very short lived Per-annual, that means the type of plant that the seeds germinate one year and put on growth, (leaves etc) but not till the following year (2nd year) do they flower, then that autumn, they spread their seeds to germinate the following year and the cycle has started all over again.

IF you lay the fabric ground cover, you will be lifting it up to remove the dead Fox Gloves 2nd years later then presumably relay it for the next germinated seedlings.

With Per-Annuals Fox Gloves and others of that type, you need to start your seeds off one year toy enjoy the flowers the next, so for the firs few years, your starting seeds off EVERY year so you have a constant supply of those lovely flowers every year.

These plants are NOT too fussy about rich soil conditions, but they do like dappled shade, in the wild they are found at the outer edges of woodlands, enough light but not blazing sunshine, forgathering seeds from your own plants, just be aware that they are quite capable of giving out flowers looking a different colour from the one you took the seeds from, they don't mind what other Fox Glove has pollinated with each other, or as my own daughter would say, IF the plant was a human female, you would say she put's it out a bit with no shame LOL.

Have fun and just enjoy your new journey into gardening, any more worries or questions, get right back onto the site, for different types of questions, just start another thread or you will become confused with the many replies.
Best of luck and happy gardening.

Carmi, IL(Zone 6b)

Ty very much WeeNel. Is it ok to put mulch around them?

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Yes you can mulch BUT not while the plants are just a stage further on from germination, the mulch would / could smother them, soon as they are about 5-6 inch tall, mulch, try make sure the mulch don't sit on any of the foliage though or, it will rot.
Fox Gloves though tough, have fur looking backs on the underside of leaf and this is easy damaged with wet or heavy mulch.
You will find as the plants mature, the bottom few sets of leaves get a bit torn and raggey but this is normal, NOT any disease.

Have fun and enjoy those tall stately beautiful plants.
Kindest Regards.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Weed mat is not a good idea in any bed that you will be renovating annually, or even every few years.
I have only one bed with weed mat, and it is a drip irrigated fruit tree area. There, it really does make weeding easy: Weeds seem to grow just in the mulch on top, rarely sending many roots through the mat.

Much better to mulch with a fine enough material that when you are ready to rototill , or just to plant a few new plants the mulch is fine enough to mix in as a soil amendment.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

There are annuals, perennials, and biennials. Foxglove is a biennial.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

There are now Perennials bred to save doing all the seed sewing every other year and also, there is NO surprizes with colouring of the flowers,

The ones we all know as Biennials are actually short lived Perennial's, they are like Hollyhock's (Althaea) both of these plants don't always die off the second year when flowering is over, That's what Biennials do, but these, LIKE perennials, go onto for a few more years but get weaker and weaker with less flowers and maybe none at all after 2 years.
There is a really nice Perennial bright yellow with dark brown spots and the flowers can reach 2 inches long. these plants will last longer than 2 years but this depends on the right conditions.
All are beautiful and are worth growing in my estimation, it just depends on what height and colour you like or need.

Hope you enjoy your first time growing the Fox Gloves.
Kindest Regards.

Arroyo Grande, CA(Zone 9a)

I love foxgloves but they do need to be replaced every few years. I do a lot of seeds but I just buy foxgloves by the six pack, they don't volunteer seedlings in my garden and it's just easier that way.
I agree weed fabric is too hard to deal with in a bed you will be changing out the plants in. Mulch is a good way to go if you really have a weed problem and need a way to curtail it but decomposing wood chips uses nitrogen so you need to fertilize your plants to replace it. I tend to just leave bare dirt in my beds and weed out intruders.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Like was as Domehomedee said, I mostly leave bare soil in my flower beds and add layers of home made compost or well rotted horse manure IF / When I can get hold of the manure, here most horsey people are happy to get rid of the manure pile as it's on constant supply LOL, only use Manure when it's free from strong odours as to have it laid against some plants as a mulch can burn the stems or foliage, I fork it into the soil around the plants after it's sat on the surface a week or so, when dug into the soil it breaks up the texture of clay soil and adds texture, air, food /nutrients to light or sandy soil, home made compost does the same but depending on how large your supply is, I can usually get tones of horse manure and one compost bin full of home made.
I'm not saying you need to stick to my methods as we all adapt to suit what we can manage, but if your not going to use my methods, you will still have to add some form of feed to the soil as the plants remove most of the nutrients as they grow / flower and set seed.
If you decide to use shop bought feeds try use a milti purpose feed that has a mixture of different properties, or my next favourite Blood / Fish and Bone-meal, this is purchased already mixed in a packet / box, and always read the dosage required as too much feed can be as bad as none at all. the later is a slow release feed and if given in spring, should last right through to end of summer BUT always read the instructions given and stick to them, feeds that are added to watering cans etc, are needed to be used maybe every 4 weeks in growing season, but again, we need to read the directions for use, over feeding or stronger doses can kill the plants.

Hope this helps everyone to think about how to help the plants and the soil for growing nice flowers like Fox Gloves, they are quite stunning grown 5-7 spires close together and a bit of dappled shade.
Happy Gardening.
Kid Regards.

Carmi, IL(Zone 6b)

Thanks everyone for the info. How much mulch per flower bed do you recommend? I have a large flower bed Im working on now & wondered how many bags of mulch I should buy.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

It all depends on the type of material your using for the mulch, Compost or manures are normally over time forked into the soil to improve the soil condition, I normally lay 3'4 inches on the surface BUT if there are plants already growing, I DONT lay this or any other mulch right up against the plants / shrubs / or trees as it may cause the stems, branches or trunks to
to start a mould, fungal disease ect.

Wood chip as a mulch I would not go any more than maybe 2 inches deep, the wood chip can remove nutrients from the soil and this will weaken your plants.
If you have large FLOWER Borders, then I would recommend you use the humus type of mulch but you will have to learn to use a hoe as there will be weeds germination and these are easier to kill off by constant cutting there heads off with a hoe than any other method when weeds are growing in between plants, hand weeding I find easier as I've never mastered using a Hoe without cutting the heads of my lovely plants I want to keep LOL.

I enjoy weeding so long as the weeds are small, not got out of hand are still at the young tender stage, having your hands low down in among your plants is the best way I know how to look close at your plants and spot any dead, wilting or diseased plants, notice any bugs or aphids needing treated to remove or before they get worse or the diseases spread.
Hope this is a bit helpful to you and you have much success.
Best Regards.

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