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.
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.
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.
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.
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.