How, What and When to Cut Back Hostas: Tips for Health Care - Absolute Gardener

How, What and When to Cut Back Hostas: Tips for Health Care

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when to cut back hostas

Hostas are a popular type of perennial flower that can be found in many gardens. They come with various colors, shapes and sizes when it comes to leaves and flowers. They’re also relatively easy to grow for people who don’t have much experience when it comes to gardening. However, there are some things you need to know when caring for hosta plant, especially when the time comes around when you should cut back your hostas. Here is what you need to know about when to cut back hostas and how other problems might arise if they aren’t taken care of properly!

Why Should you Cut back Hostas?

There are many reasons why you should be cutting back hostas when they reach a certain height. Cutting back your plants when they hit the required height will encourage them to branch out and grow bushier, making more of an impact when in bloom. Also, by trimming off some of the stalk it allows sun to penetrate through to the center leaves which encourages growth as well as creating an attractive shape for your plant.

When To Cut back Hostas?

The when to cut back hostas is a question that many people are wondering about. When should you prune or trim your hosta plants? Knowing when the right time if and how much to cut back can keep you from doing more harm than good for your plant. The best way would be when it’s not flowering, but even then there are some signs you should look out for.

If the leaves turn yellow without any hint of green then your plant needs more water, remove all surrounding weeds as they suck up a lot of moisture too; – If the soil is very dry when you touch it with your finger or a stick but still feels slightly damp underneath, this means that your plants need watering again because not enough moisture has been absorbed by its root system.

And if the stems have brown spots and/or insects attack them (worms?), then bringing in earwigs from outside may be helpful. These carnivorous bugs eat other insect pests like aphids which can damage hosta flowers and leaves.

when to cut back hostas

Hostas Plant Care Guide

Hosta plants are very common when it comes to perfecting gardens. They have a wide range of colors and leaves that add interest when there is nothing flowering in your yard. Planting hostas is very easy, especially when it comes to beginner gardeners or someone who just wants something simple and not too much work. These plants require little care when properly taken care of. Here are some hostas plant care guides


A good place to start when it comes to caring for your hosta is the soil. Growing in a healthy, rich soil will help ensure that they grow and thrive no matter what type of environment you have in mind.

Some ideal locations would be near a pond, stream or seepage area because when it rains their leaves will get wet which they love! If you want the garden look, consider using them as part of your border plantings. They can also make an excellent addition to rock gardens and woodland areas when used with other shade-loving perennials such as ferns.


There are several options when it comes to lighting hostas plant. You can use natural sunlight, fluorescent lights or incandescent lights when growing hostas indoors. Each of these types come with their own benefits and drawbacks though so let’s take a look at them in more detail:

  • Natural Sunlight – the most effective but also potentially dangerous for your plants if you don’t have access to direct sunlight for half of the day. Leave on all day only when there is good airflow around your plants (windows open). Do not leave near windows that get full sun exposure as this will cause intense heat buildup which may harm / burn vegetation nearby. Can be left on 12 hours per day max when used during Spring / Summer when outside temperatures are already warm.
  • Fluorescent lights – use these when growing hostas indoors or in shaded areas where natural sunlight is limited. Be sure to place fluorescent lamps near the tops of plants and away from foliage/stems as light can cause burn damage when placed too close for extended periods of time (leave on 12 hours per day max).
  • Incandescent Lights – incandescent grow bulbs & CFL’s produce less intense, yellowish light that works great when growing hostas plant under artificial lighting conditions when outdoor alternatives simply aren’t available. They also work best when combined with florescent lights since they emit a full spectrum which provides more balanced results than just using one type alone (combine CFL’s with incandescent when growing hostas indoors).


Ensure when you water your hosta plants that they are getting enough water. If the plant’s soil is too dry, it can cause yellowing leaves or even death of the root system. The best method to determine if there needs to be more water in the soil is placing a finger into the ground and checking for moisture.

There should feel like moist sand when doing this test; however, do not let the ground get soggy with extra moisture as it will also kill off your hostas’ rootsystems. Ensure that you have proper drainage when watering because standing puddles of excess liquid near any part of your garden may lead to development of fungus and other diseases which further destroy healthy growth.


The ideal temperature for hostas plant when growing is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temps drop below 60, it’s time to bring them inside when growing season finishes or you risk losing these plants completely.


Hostas like it moist, but too much moisture is not good for them at all. If you notice your hosta leaves turning yellow and dropping off then this would be a sign that there’s too much humidity in the area where they’re living or growing. Sometimes when there’s too much humidity in the area you might also notice that when you touch your hostas plant they feel slimy and sticky.


It is important to fertilise hostas when they are young, when you first plant them. They will need it for their early growth and development. It should only be a light feeding, less than half the strength of normal if used at all. Never use high nitrogen based fertilisers as these can cause damage when applied incorrectly or too heavily. Fertilisers high in phosphorus should be used when the plants are not growing and dormant.

For a balanced feed, use something like Growmore or Blood, Fish & Bone when planting out new hostas as this feeds them for their first season before needing to think about fertilising again. A general all-around food such as multi-purpose fertiliser is fine when the plants start growing again.

when to cut back hostas


The hosta is a poisonous plant when consumed. The poison in this case comes from the leaves and stems of the plants when they are ingested by humans or animals.

  • Symptoms: bloating, diarrhea, vomiting – Treatment: avoid consumption!


The first step when it comes to pruning hosta plants is knowing when you should do the job. If there are any dead flowers or leaves along with decaying stems, cut them back right away.

Also trim off some of the yellowing foliage in order to make sure your hosta plants are looking great. If you have a lot of dead leaves, it is best to cut back when the weather has cooled off and when fall begins to set in. Keep in mind that when pruning hostas plant, not all foliage should be removed – only about one third of the leaves near each stem’s end.

Another, when to cut back hostas tip, is when the flowers have died and turned brown. This tip can be used for both daylilies in addition to hosta plants – though it doesn’t work as well on some other perennials that flower later in the summer or when you want them too. However, cutting off those dead blooms when hostas plant produces a new set of leaves in the fall when it’s time for dormancy.

Once you’ve cut back some dead flowers and decaying stems, give your hosta plants about two inches or so on top to ensure they have enough room for air circulation. You may also want to try moving them further apart as well when you first plant them.

Propagation and Growth

Propagating hostas is when you take a clipping from an existing plant and put it into the ground to start another one. This can be done by splitting them in half or taking sections of leaves off with roots on them, sticking those somewhere moist (like your garden) and they will grow.

It’s best if you stick with plants that are the same genus when propagating, but it’s not mandatory. So no matter what type of hostas you have, if it has leaves and roots on some part of it then you can put those somewhere moist like your garden to get a brand new plant started!


When it comes time to repot your hosta you will want to choose a well-draining soil for optimal health.

There are different types of soil mixes when it comes to repotting your hosta. The most common soil mix is half potting soil and half perlite, which allows for some water retention while still allowing good drainage.

You want to plant the root ball in larger container, leaving only enough room at the top of the pot so that when you fill with soil there is only about an inch of soil above the root ball.

When you are ready to repot your hosta, choose a pot that has drainage holes because when you water it will need somewhere for the excess moisture to go as well. Potting soils tend be heavy when they get wet so make sure if possible that when you pick up the pot the soil doesn’t fall out when you turn it upside down.

Once your hostas plant is in its new container, make sure to water well and then give the root system a deep soak with fertilizer about once every other week when actively growing (spring and summer).

It can be very helpful when it comes time to re-pot your plant to use a tool like this when you are moving the root ball.

When it comes time for re-potting, remember that less is more when it comes to hosta plants!

Plant Disease

Sometimes when you have a hosta, it may get sick. In order to prevent the disease from spreading and having your other plants fall victim as well, here are some things that can help. The first thing is if your plant has yellow leaves or spots on them then usually this means that there’s a fungus attack going around in your garden. The next thing is if you notice your plant falling over, it may be that the roots have been attacked with something and they are not able to keep up their strength.

when to cut back hostas

Common Issues with Hostas

The most common issue with a hosta plant is when it does not get enough water. The leaves will turn brown and the plant itself may die if left dry for too long. This applies both when they are indoors and outdoors. When planting your hosta outside, be sure that you give them enough room to grow and when planting them, be sure not to smother the roots.

When they are indoors hostas require a lot of water as well in order for them to grow healthy. It is important that you make sure when your plant starts wilting you give it some fresh water because sometimes when we think our plants need water, what’s actually happening is that it needs a break from over watering.

Another common issue with hosta plant is when they are exposed to too much sun or when the roots start growing in circles and becoming distorted which prevents them from receiving nutrients properly. To prevent this, try moving your plants around into different areas and when you notice the problem, cut back hostas a little bit in order to fix any root problems. You can also add more plants with different needs like shade or sun into your garden as well which will help balance out the area so that everyone gets enough of what they need.

Tips for Keeping Hostas Happy

When caring for hostas, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to when and how much water they need. If you’re keeping the plant inside of your home during winter months, when sun light is not as strong, then provide at least five hours on bright windowsills when spring returns. It’s when the plant begins to flower when it needs more water.

Hostas can grow pretty big and if you find that they are getting too large for your home, then cutting them back is a great way of keeping them healthy. It’s best practice when removing hosta leaves to cut off no more than one third of its size when doing so. Cut off when they are reaching 15-20 inches from the ground and you should be good to go!

Cut Back Hostas Frequently Asked Questions

When should hostas be trimmed back?

When do you cut hostas back? Well it depends on what you want out of your plant! If you need a smaller size but don’t want to lose the color when cutting back hostas then you can cut your plant down when it reaches a desired height and width.

How do you trim hostas for winter?

Trimming hosta plant is essential when it comes to caring for the plants. Trimming will help prevent rot and fungal problems that can severely damage a healthy plant over time. The most important thing when trimming your hostas, is not cutting too much off at once. If you cut back more than half of the foliage in one go, it can cause the plant to suffer shock.

Also when trimming hostas for winter , you want to make sure that when cutting back your foliage, you leave around an inch of space between each stem and cut cleanly through at a 45 degree angle with sharp pruning shears so as not to damage either the plants or yourself when removing the cuttings.

Should I cut damaged hosta leaves?

Yes, when the leaves and stems are brown or yellowed. Cutting back hostas to form a healthy foliage. That is all you need as far as treatment for hosta blight or leaf spot disease on hostas plant .

Should you cut back hostas every year?

There is no need to cut back hostas every year, when you do depends on the type of hosta. In general, it is best to prune when new growth begins in spring or early summer and again after flowering in fall when possible. This will help keep your plants looking healthy and prevent common problems such as disease from spreading throughout a large area of foliage.

Do hostas like coffee grounds?

No. In fact, they hate them (as tested with a pH meter).

Instead of using coffee grounds when planting hostas, try other material like pine straw or even shredded newspaper. This will help keep your garden soil healthy and provide nutrients for the plants as well!

Should I cut back my hostas for winter?

When heavy snow or frost is expected, cut back all of the leaves to about four inches above ground level. This will protect your hostas plant from severe damage when freezing temperatures hit (don’t worry, they’ll pop up again when it warms). Just make sure you don’t leave the leaves on when there’s no snow cover, because they’ll rot when it rains.


These are great plants when it comes to adding color and interest in your yard. They add nice texture while not taking away from other plants when they’re growing together. Their leaves come in different shapes, colors, and sizes which helps when you want to have an interesting garden without having everything look the same. Hostas are great when you’re trying to make a focal point that will draw the eye in.

If hostas are properly cared for, then it’s possible that the plant will reach heights of up to four feet tall or taller when given ideal conditions. That being said, when caring for hosta plants, don’t forget when to cut back hostas when they’re reaching the desired size!

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