How to Winterize Hosta lilies

Hosta lily (Plantaginea) in bloom. image by Nova: Wiki Commons


Hosta lily, known botanically as hosta plantagenea, are fragrant flowering perennials also widely known as plantain lily. Hardy in USDA zones 4a through 11, hosta lilies can be cut down and mulched over in the winter in cool climates, and will unfurl new foliage in the spring. Hostas are long-lived perennials that can survive for thirty years or more in good ambient conditions. They are low maintenance plants that require little to no pruning or feeding.

Step 1

Inspect and prune your hosta throughout the growing season. Remove any dead, damaged or diseased foliage by cutting it back to the base of the plant. Place the cuts symmetrically to preserve the hosta's attractive natural shape.

Step 2

Cut back your hosta plant to ground level in the fall after the first hard frost in climates where the plant does not overwinter. This hard pruning can also be done in warmer growing climates to rejuvenate or restart the plant. Hard prune for aesthetic reasons in the early spring to reduce stress on the plant.

Step 3

Water your hosta well after pruning to ease the stress and threat of shock to the plant. Water will help to fortify the hosta against winter drought before mulching, and support new foliage growth.

Step 4

Mulch over your shorn hosta in the fall with a 4-inch layer of organic, insulating material such as shredded bark, cocoa hulls or compost. Each year, lay a 2-inch thick blanket of mulch around the base of hostas that do not die. The mulch will protect the plant, help to retain moisture and enrich the soil as it degrades.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Organic mulch


  • USDA Plant Database Profile
  • University of Minnesota
  • Peterborough Examiner Gardens
Keywords: hosta plantaginea, fragrant plaintain lily, funkia

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.

Photo by: Nova: Wiki Commons