Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Winterize Hosta Plants

Hosta image by REDGIE W. from

Hosta plants are generally cold tolerant and tend to grow larger and healthier in cooler climates. They do not require much care during winter if planted outside in the ground; their leaves will naturally die off in the fall and they go dormant. However, if you plant hostas in containers they can be placed anywhere you like, and moved any time during the growing seasons. Overwintering hostas in containers requires specific care.

Plant hostas in either plastic or clay growing pots in the fall. Larger hostas generally do best potted in soil-based growing medium, rather than one composed largely of peat as this will cause them to dry out too quickly.

Put a small broken piece of crockery or pot shard at the bottom of the growing containers, over the drainage hole. This will help assist in draining excess water, as it prevents the hole from becoming completely clogged with soil.

Stop watering the hostas once inside for winter. They should be watered every two to three days from the time their shoots begin to grow in spring to the time the leaves die down in the fall because hostas have a large leaf area and evaporate a considerable amount of water. However, when it is time to bring them inside, letting them grow dry helps them to go dormant as they should.

Store the hostas in an unheated room, such as a garage or greenhouse. Hostas do not like heat and prefer a cool, shady environment. Lining the containers on shelves mounted to the wall of your garage is a perfect setting.

Add fertilizer just below the surface of the soil in the pots in early spring just before you are ready to bring them outside again, after the last frost.


According to Diana Grenfell, author of “The Gardener’s Guide to Growing Hostas,” even with lavish watering and feeding, few hostas will continue to thrive in their original containers for more than four years. Plants will eventually need to be divided and replanted into fresh growing mix.

Garden Guides