How to Prune Hostas

Overview

Hostas are extremely easy-to-grow, low-maintenance herbaceous perennials that are shade tolerant. They are readily available, and there are over 2,500 cultivars. Cultivars vary in size, leaf color, variegation and shape. Hostas need very little pruning. However, you will need to prune for the following reasons: to remove damaged or diseased leaves, to remove the spent flower stalks and to cut away the foliage in the fall after it has died back.

Step 1

Cut away any damaged or diseased leaves. Cut the leaf and stem off at ground level. Dispose of damaged plant material in your compost bin. Do not place diseased plant material in your compost bin. After pruning diseased plant material, disinfect your pruning shears by dipping them in bleach or alcohol. This can be done at any time during the growing season.

Step 2

Prune away the spent flower stalks. This should be done once the flowers give way to green seed pods. The seed pods will only drain the plant's energy and their removal will also improve the appearance of the hosta plant. You can deposit the pruned plant material in your compost bin.

Step 3

Cut back the foliage to the ground in the fall after it has died back, usually after the first hard frost. Place a layer of mulch over the plant bed. You can use mulched leaves, straw, hay or evergreen boughs.

Tips and Warnings

  • The most common pests to the hosta plant are slugs and snails--they eat holes in the leaves. The black vine weevil is also a pest to be aware of. You will know that they are present when the foliage turns yellow and wilts.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch

References

  • Ohio State University
  • Yardener
  • American Hosta Society
Keywords: hostas hosta prune, damaged seed pods stalks, leaves size shape cut away

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.