Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Cut Back Hostas

hosta image by andrew chambers from

Hostas are leafy, hardy perennials that thrive in moist, shaded areas. The foliage emerges in late spring and early summer. The lush leaves grow up to 3 feet tall. In the winter, the leaves and flowers die back. After the first frost has killed off the foliage, cut the hostas' dead material back to make room for the next season's growth. Hostas are cold-hardy plants. You won't see any growth all winter, as the plant will remain dormant underground waiting for the spring thaw.

Hold a pair of pruning shears horizontal to the ground next to one of the hosta stalks. Use sharp pruning shears or scissors to achieve a clean, even cut.

Place the pruning shears around the hosta stalks about 1 inch from the ground. Clip off the stalk and discard the plant material. Continue working on the plant until all the stalks are cut back to the ground.

Apply a light mulch over the hosta stalks to keep the roots warm over the winter. A 1-inch layer of leaves over the cut stalks makes a good ground mulch.

Cut Back Hostas

The answer to the problem of shade in the garden is often hostas (Hosta spp. ): hostas for cover, hostas for bloom, hostas for unusual foliage. In Mediterranean climates, heat may cause midseason dormancy, causing outer leaves to fade and wither. This temporary dormancy is merely a defense mechanism, and weekly irrigation will help the plant form new leaves to replace those lost during dormancy. Whenever your hostas bloom, remove their scapes – the arching branches that bear the lily-shaped blooms – as soon as the flowers have faded. If you live in a warm climate, purchase hostas from local growers to ensure they can withstand heat and dry conditions. Check with them on the best placement and watering schedule.

Garden Guides