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Fall Care for Hosta Plants

Hostas are one of those plants that many gardeners love. They typically need little care to thrive and get bigger year to year without much effort. They excel in shady areas and rarely need to be watered unless there are drought-like conditions. Gardeners should perform maintenance in the fall, however, to help hosta plants thrive even more. This is especially important if they are transplanted plants or if you have had problems with slugs.

Cut off and throw away any diseased or damaged foliage in the fall, before the dormant season, which is winter. This will keep your plant healthy for next season. You can, in fact, cut down all the foliage, if desired, after it has turned brown.

Control slugs, if you haven't already and you have had problems in the past. (You have seen slugs and seen chewed holes in the hostas' leaves.) Choose from several remedies. Use commercial slug baits that use iron phosphate as its main ingredient. Place the traps in cool moist areas, such as under the hostas' foliage. The slugs will eat it and die. Or use a home remedy, such as a beer trap. Dig a hole about 5 inches deep to fit a small container. Place the container in the soil so the top is even with the top of the soil and fill it with beer. Leave an inch of space near the top so the slugs will lean in and fall. Repeat these slug control measures in the spring, when the leaves first appear.

Clear away any debris, especially leaves and rotted plants, from the top of your soil bed. Debris could also be a haven for slugs during the winter and will help rid your garden of slugs before next year's new growth.

Mulch in the fall. If applicable, wait to mulch until after the ground has frozen to the depth of about 3 inches. Although mulching is generally not necessary for winter protection, it is needed for plants that were recently transplanted. Use a fine mulch such as pine needles so slugs do not find haven in your hosta bed.


Water your hostas in the fall only when the foliage is still green and it hasn't rained for about two weeks.


Remove the mulch around hosta crowns in the spring to avoid crown rot.

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