How to Prune Hosta Lilies

Hosta lily 'Plantaginea' in bloom. image by


Hosta lilies--also commonly known as plantain lilies--are fragrant blooming perennials that grow atop a fountain of large green leaves. Hardy in USDA 3a through 10, hosta lilies prefer partial shade to shade conditions with full sun exposures tolerated in cooler northern climates. They thrive, as most hostas do, in nutrient-rich soil that is consistently moist. Hosta lilies are low-maintenance plants and require infrequent pruning.

Step 1

Maintenance prune your hosta lily as needed throughout the growing season to deadhead spent bloom stalks and remove any damaged or dying foliage. Cut down any brown, cut or rotting leaves to the base of the plant at the soil line with your secateurs, pull from the plant canopy and discard.

Step 2

Cut back your hosta lily down to the ground in the in the late fall after the first frost in climates where it does not overwinter. Mulch over the plant crown with at least a 3-inch blanket of organic mulch such as shredded bark, cocoa hulls or compost. Alternatively allow the plant foliage to die back and self mulch over the plant until early spring when it can be cut back before any new growth comes up.

Step 3

Rejuvenate hosta lilies in warm climates where they never die back by shearing off the foliage in the early spring before new leaves begin to sprout. This elective hard pruning can be done to re-size, refresh or restore the natural shape of the hosta if it has been damaged. New growth should appear by late spring.

Step 4

Water your hosta lily after pruning to help reduce the stress on the plant and prevent shock. A good watering after winter preparation pruning but before mulching will help fortify the plant for winter drought conditions. Watering after spring hard pruning will support the roots to produce vigorous new foliage growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Long blade shears
  • Organic mulch material


  • Pererborough Gardens on Hostas
  • University of Minnesota
Keywords: hosta lily, shade flowering perennial, prune cut back shape

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.

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