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Preparing Hostas for Winter – “Winterizing” Hosta

How to Prepare Hostas for Winter

Hosta are quite hardy plants and over-wintering is easy. Although this is not the general recommendation, some prefer to leave the dead foliage in place along with fallen tree leaves to provide additional insulation for the winter. Leaving the old flower stalks (or bloom scapes) in place helps mark the plant’s location to avoid trampling new growth the following spring.

What should I do to prepare my Hostas for the winter?

After the leaves become discolored, unattractive or killed by the frost they should be cut back to the surface. This will help prevent the possibility of diseases, insects or other creatures finding a winter home. You may want to cut the seed scapes about 10 cm (4 inches) above the ground to aid in locating the plants next season during spring cleanup. The plants need about eight weeks of temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). Freeze and thaw can harm the plants if you are in an area that experiences warm days and extremely cold nights. Pine straw or mulch will help keep the soil at a more even temperature during these times.

Suggestions for getting Hostas ready for winter
Hosta during fall

Here are some suggestions for getting Hostas ready for winter:

  1. After the first frost, cut the hostas back. Try to finish this before the hostas’ leaves become too soggy and begin to decay. Cut back the hostas using shears or scissors, and then take the leaves off.
  2. Throw away the old leaves. Hostas appear to draw slugs and snails for some reason. You may eliminate any protection or “house” for the slugs by clipping back the leaves and properly discarding them (don’t leave them laying in your yard). A tiny bowl of beer left out in the yard near your hostas, according to numerous enthusiastic gardeners, is a terrific deterrent for slugs and snails.
  3. Schedule the division of your hostas. Hostas should typically be divided every few years, according to experts. The optimal time to divide hostas is in the spring. You can find here more information about When is the Best Time to Divide and Transplant Hostas.

Final considerations on Winterizing Hostas

Keep providing hostas with about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water every week throughout the fall to start winterizing them. In the late summer, if you have been fertilizing the plants, cease doing so or they will keep making leaves. The entire plant, including the crown and roots, may be vulnerable to frost damage because of these delicate young leaves. Hosta leaf will start to dry out and fall over when the temperature drops at night. Before beginning any winter preparations, wait until the leaves have dropped. Why is this crucial? Next bloom, the leaves are required to create nourishment for the development of the following year.

Final considerations on Winterizing Hostas

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