How to Cut Back Hosta Plants

Overview

Hosta grows well in shade and produces purple or white summer flowers with variegated leaves that provide visual interest. Some types have blueish-green foliage, while others have white, dark green or yellow patches. This plant thrives once established and needs little care. While gardeners should cut back hosta in the fall as part of a fall cleanup, it isn't absolutely necessary. The American Hosta Society recommends fall cutting as part of a garden pest prevention program.

Step 1

Remove the flower stalks, which sap engery from the plant, when they die, even if yours isn't a reblooming variety, recommends the American Hosta Society.

Step 2

Trim off dead, bruised or damaged leaves as soon as they are noticed. Prune off the leaves with a pair of garden shears. Treat your hosta plants for disease or pests if they show excessive leaf damage, which could be a sign of slugs, snails, rabbits or disease.

Step 3

Cut back the entire hosta plant if you want, leaving no more than 2 inches of stubble as a marker, to reduce the chance of slugs and other garden pests over-wintering in your hosta patch.

Step 4

Leave the hosta plant alone for the winter, if you don't mind looking at the browning foliage or don't have a problem with garden pests. The plant will send up new shoots in the spring whether or not you prune it back for the winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears

References

  • Larimer County Extension: Growing Hosta
  • Ohio State University: Growing Hosta
  • Americna Hosta Society: Seasonal Care of Hosta
Keywords: hosta plant, growing hosta, cut back hosta

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.