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Foxglove Seed Collecting

Foxglove Seed Collecting

Foxglove Seed Collecting

Cut the flower stalks off after they finish blooming to encourage a second bloom, or cut them all the way down to basal growth to coax the plant to act as a perennial, according to Missouri Botanical Garden. Since it is a biennial, any seeds sown manually or by nature won't grow into flowers for two years. If you leave some flower stalks to go to seed on their own, the seeds sow themselves to create an abundance of foxgloves. With enough foxglove plants in the same area, they'll appear to be perennials thanks to years of natural reseeding.

Seed

Foxglove seeds are best collected on a day when the pods are completely dry. Once the seedpods are dry and cracking open, the seeds can be collected several ways. One way is to hold an open envelope beneath a pod and individually tap the pod with your fingers to release the seeds. Another way is to cut the stem near its base; then hold the stem upside-down over a clean bowl or storage container. Gently shake the stem up and down to release the seeds.Growing foxglove seeds is one of the easiest ways to get an abundance of these majestic cottage flowers in your garden. Many know that most Foxglove flowers are biennials. But many new hybrids can flower in the first year. If you sow the heirlooms you can get them to bloom next season if you plant the seeds during the Summer and Fall.

Foxglove's flowers bloom in succession from the bottom to the top of the tall stems. The pods turn dry and brown in similar fashion. They ripen first near the bottom of the stem. Watch the lower pods for cracks and holes. The "fox's gloves" change to resemble turtle's beaks, and split in the middle. The seeds mostly stay inside the upright pods. When a ripe pod is turned down, tiny brown or black seeds will spill out. They are small, like finely ground black pepper, as you see in the picture to the right. The seeds are easy to collect, share with fellow gardeners, or sow in other areas in your garden.Have you heard that foxgloves are poisonous? In trying to verify this, I found many sources all repeating verbatim warnings about "sucking the flowers or eating the seeds, stems, or leaves of the foxglove plant." And I found one testimony from an individual who claims to have suffered hives and eventually pneumonia after inhaling foxglove "spores and pollen." I also came across an article in the U.S. National Library of Medicine describing an accidental Digitalis poisoning. Nine people were sickened by tea made from foxglove leaves. (They had mistaken the foxglove for comfrey, Symphytum officinale.) All nine "recovered uneventfully." While I can't prove or disprove that handling the seeds is hazardous, wearing gloves while gathering them seems prudent. Aside from the potential for poisoning, the stems can easily harbor small spiders. (I found three, and three daddy long legs, while working six stalks.) (Source: davesgarden.com)

 

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