We have an astonishing number of “volunteer” foxgloves this year. Since these foxgloves are biennials, I guess I’ll have to admit that somebody… and that somebody would be me… must have missed more than a few foxglove seed pods over the years. I really thought I was removing them all, but the evidence is against me. I still wonder, though, how foxglove seeds can travel such a long distance.
Taller than normal center stalk
Most of the volunteer foxglove clumps are growing at the other end of our property, where we have never grown foxgloves before. They’re growing in an area we intended to mow, but when we discovered all the foxgloves growing there this spring and realized that the plants were already old enough to blossom this year, we decided to leave the area unmowed and just let the foxgloves do their thing. That large mass of dozens and dozens (and dozens and dozens) of foxgloves flowering all at once has been really beautiful.
I think I’ve already lost the battle, but I haven’t decided yet… do I want to let all of these foxgloves reseed or try to gain back some control of that area? Obviously if I don’t start removing seed pods soon, there will be an absolute jungle of foxglove plants out there in the years ahead!
But that isn’t the reason for this post. A few days ago I noticed that one of the foxgloves has an unusual number of flower stalks… actually, there are more than sixteen stalks on just this one plant. The main flower stalk is taller than the others and obviously has been blossoming for some time, because it now has mostly green seed pods and only a few blossoms left at the very top of the stalk. The main flower stalk looks like the rest of the foxgloves out there… but in addition to its one main “normal” stalk, there are at least fifteen more flower stalks coming out of the base of the plant, around the center stalk.
Smaller stalks around center stalk
All of the additional stalks are very slender, they’re shorter than the main stalk (only about two feet tall), and they obviously are blooming later than the main stalk did because on these shorter stalks seed pods have not yet started to form.
I’ve been growing foxgloves for years, both intentionally and unintentionally, and I have never seen this happen before. None of my reference books mention it either, but maybe it isn’t that unusual. I thought it was interesting, though. I wonder if seeds from this plant would result in other foxgloves with multiple stalks?
I would guess I’ll find out…