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Why haven't my foxgloves come up yet this year?

By By Amelia O’Briam / horticulture columnist
June 8, 2003
Dear Gardener: Last year, my foxgloves were gorgeous. They had beautiful, tall flower spikes on them. They have not come up yet this year, though. Do you think the winter was too cold for them? I am unsure if I should try more this year or not?
Dear Reader: Foxgloves are biennials. That means that they produce leaves the first year and flowers the second year. Then, they die. Sometimes if started early enough, you can get them to bloom the first year. If you are lucky, they will re-seed in the garden. If you really love foxglove, I recommend planting a few each year. That way, each summer you should have some blooming.
Dear Gardener: My hanging baskets tend to dry out really quickly. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?
Dear Reader: The potting soil that most growers use contains a lot of peat moss. This causes the mixture to dry out very quickly. There is not really much that you can do in a situation like this. Just try to keep on top of the watering situation. Once you let the baskets get too dry (even a couple of times), they never look as good. If you plant your own hanging baskets or containers, I recommend using the water absorbing granules that are available commercially. Be sure to wet them completely before incorporating them into your potting soil. This way you know how much to use.
Dear Gardener: I have recently purchased my first home. I want to put some annuals in the very sunny, front flowerbed, but I am working on a pretty tight budget. What should I choose to give me the biggest bang for my buck?
Dear Reader: I suggest using lantana. There are many colors available that vary in height from 1 foot to 5 feet. They spread a good bit, so you will not need as many plants to achieve a full look as you would need with another annual. Another huge plus is that butterflies love lantana; and so will you and your neighbors.