Foxglove Infestation - Knowledgebase Question

Woodbridge, NJ
Question by BioTeach57
June 7, 1999
My foxgloves are infested with tiny insects that produce web-like structures over the blossoms and at the base of the leaves. How do I go about treating this problem(organically if possible)? Can it be prevented and will it affect next year's growth?

Answer from NGA
June 7, 1999


Based on your description it sounds like your plants might have a spider mite infestation. These insects are especially active in hot and dry weather. You can try knocking them down with a sharp spray from the hose or use insecticidal soap according to the label instructions. In my experience these are not usually a problem on foxgloves, but every now and then they do crop up. These plants are biennials as a rule, so if they are blooming this year they will in all probability die out rather than come back next year. You may want to allow a few to set seed each year to replenish your foxglove patch for coming years. If you have the "perennial" foxglove Digitalis mertonensis, the infestation might weaken the plant but I wouldn't expect it to cause long term harm. Just be sure the plant receives plenty of water to help it recover, especially if the summer is hot and dry.

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