Plant Guide: How to Care for Hostas in the Fall

Save for later!

Hosta Care in Fall

Growing hostas is so much fun to do, and these beautiful plants make a fabulous addition to your flower garden. Hostas are full of beautiful green leaves, and they come in a variety of colors and sizes. Today we are going to specifically look at hosta care in the fall. I hope this will help you know the best way to take care of these beautiful plants before the end of the growing season.

flowering hosta

Growing Hostas

Growing hostas is so much fun. Hosta plants typically come in different shades of green, and are plants with beautiful leaves in a variety of sizes. Some hostas are gorgeous and green leafy plants, others are more of a turquoise, some have a few different shades of green on their leaves, making them have a beautiful design, while still others are absolutely huge, leafed plants.

It’s so much fun to watch hostas send up new shoots in the early spring, which will grow into beautiful leaves. Partway through the summer, the hostas will flower, usually white flowers or purple flower depending on the variety, and you can enjoy the gorgeous leaves of the hosta plant until the first frost usually sometime during the early fall months. One of the great things about growing hostas is that they are perennial plants which means you will get to enjoy them year after year.

small hosta

Hosta Varieties

There are many different varieties of hostas. They are most commonly known for their green leaves, but these gorgeous green leaves can come in many different shades of green and sizes. The leaves of the hostas are iconic leaf shapes. They have a pointy tip, and the rest of the leaf smoothly goes out from the stem, then decreases to the point.

Some varieties of hostas have leaves that are about the size of an average person’s hand. Other types of hostas are known as miniature hostas because the plants themselves stay nice and small and have smaller-sized leaves. The smaller varieties are nice if you’re looking to fill a small space in your flower bed. Other species of hostas, come in much larger varieties. The larger varieties of hostas are known as giant hostas. The plants themselves can grow very large, and the leaves are also quite huge.

Sun vs. Shade

Most varieties of hostas are shade-loving plants. Because they are such shade lovers, they typically do really well when planted in flowerbeds or gardens in shady areas. 

These shade lovers are also okay when planted in partial shade to full shade. They prefer morning hours of sun if they are going to be receiving some direct sunlight. 

There are a few types of hostas that will also be okay in the full sun. You want to be sure to read the tags on your hostas before planting them in the sun because most varieties are shade-loving plants.

Hosta Foliage

Hostas are such a sought-after plant because of their attractive foliage. The leaves of the hosta plants are so beautiful and attractive in and of themselves, they don’t even have to flower in order to be beautiful. The lush foliage comes in different varieties. 

Some hosta leaves are all one color, but others are varying shades. Still, other types of hostas, have one shade of green or even white around the edge of the leaf, and a different shade of green in the center of the leaf. It’s so beautiful, and you can enjoy the beautiful hosta foliage all summer long.

bright green hosta

Hosta Care In the Fall

When growing hostas, spring is the best time of year to divide hostas, as well as trim them back or relocate them. Let’s first look at some things you may want to do to care for your hostas in the late summer months, then transition to how to care for your hostas in the fall.

Hosta Flowers

Depending on your location, hostas will flower at different times of the year. Typically, hostas will send up the flower stocks mid-summer, and will bloom into the late summer. 

After the hosta flowers begin to die off, it’s a good idea to go ahead and cut back the flower stocks, so that it’s just the hosta leaves remaining. This allows the plants to pour its energy into growing a beautiful thriving hosta plant with lovely leaves, rather than put its energy into the dying flowers.  


As the summer months draw to a close, you will want to refrain from fertilizing the hostas as it can promote too much growth with the cooling temperatures. It is best to fertilize the hostas in the spring and summer months. As fall comes, you can quit doing this for the year.

Dividing Hostas

Hostas can also be divided to create more plants from the one large plant. The best time to divide hostas is at the end of the season, or during the fall months. Although it is important to point out that you can divide hostas in the spring as well, but they will typically survive the best when divided in the fall. Let’s take a look at how to divide hostas.

The day before you divide the hostas it is a good idea to water the plants so that they are easy to dig up, and will be much easier to divide into smaller sections.  

To divide hostas, you will want to dig up and include an entire clump, being careful that you don’t damage the root systems. Keep some dirt around the root ball as you dig with a shovel. 

After you have dug up the roots of your hosta, you can gently pull sections of the plant apart, using your gloved hands. Be careful that each section keeps as much of the roots intact as possible. The new plants will need this to survive. 

You can then take the individual plants and relocate each divided section of your hostas to a new location. Each section will make new hosta plants, that will grow again next year into smaller plants. But as time goes on, the hostas will continue to grow and multiply, making your new plants, lovely-sized plants that you can enjoy.

white-edged hosta

Cut Hostas Back

It’s also a good idea in the fall, to cut back your hostas. Typically, this is done in the late fall, after the first frost. This way you don’t have to look at the frost damage to the hostas, once the first hard frost has hit them. You can trim the leaves back, so they can have a fresh start in the spring.

When cutting the dead leaves from the hostas, you can use a sharp knife, or garden shears for the best and easiest results. A good rule of thumb is to trim all of the leaves for the entire plant to ground level. 

This will give you the best results and allow you to have a fresh start in the spring, which will also help the plant to go into winter dormancy. The new growth in the spring won’t have to work too hard to grow through the dead leaves, and it looks much nicer. 

That way, you don’t have to worry about crown rot or other problems that might happen to the hosta if you leave the leaves during the winter. Plus, it helps to tidy up your garden and give you a fresh start next spring. Feel free to add the dead leaves from the hosta plants to your compost pile if desired.

Add New Mulch

Adding a new layer of mulch to your flower bed in the fall is another great idea. After your hostas have been cut back, you can clearly see where to spread the mulch, plus the added few inches of mulch will help to winter your hostas and keep them nicely tucked under their new blanket.

small green hosta

Other Tips and Tricks for Hosta Care

Deer Repellent for Hostas

Sometimes it can be so frustrating to compete with the deer when growing hostas. Often deer like to sneak up and eat all the leaves off of your plants. There are several types of deer repellent that you can get, to spray around your hostas and help protect them. Make sure to check with your local hardware store, to see what some of your best options are. 

In addition to spray, one solution that my grandma used to use, was to shave some Irish spring soap and sprinkle it over her hostas. It always seemed that the deer didn’t like the soap, it would stay away from her plants when it had the soap shavings on the plants.

Plant in Well-Drained Soil

Another tip when gardening with hostas, is to make sure that they are planted in well-drained soil but have consistent moisture exposure. Hostas like to be nice and wet, but you don’t want to flood them out, or cause their roots to rot.

bright green edged hosta

Hosta Gardeners

Growing hostas is one of the most popular perennials, because of their beautifully shaped leaves that you get to enjoy all summer long. When caring for your hostas, the best practice is to quit fertilizing in the fall, divide the plants in the fall if desired, trim back the leaves before it’s cold for the year, and if desired add a new layer of mulch to your flower bed in the fall.

I hope these tips and tricks for caring for your hostas in the fall have been very helpful. Now, as the cooler weather begins to set in for the year, you can begin preparing to take care of your hostas.

Happy Gardening!

Like this article? Be sure to follow us online for more like it! Find us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

PIN for Later!

how to care for Hostas in the fall Pinterest

Check out more Gardening Tips!

About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Leave a Comment