Hosta Winter Care

Hostas are a hardy perennial plant that grow well in zones 3-9. This plant will survive cold temperatures, but will need a few things done to prepare for the change in season. Hostas actually benefit from the colder temperatures while it is in the dormant phase. The cold weather helps to promote better health and growth. Before you prepare hostas for winter, the leaves need to dry out and wilt to the ground. While this is happening, the plant is in the process of producing food for next season’s growth. Do not cut it back before this process is complete. Hostas go dormant after a good hard freeze.


Once the foliage has wilted, cut the plant to the ground. A thin layer of mulch will help to protect the roots from the fluctuation of temperatures. A good chilling period is beneficial for hostas.

Cutting Back Hostas For Winter

Prior to going dormant, hostas are using its leaves to absorb nutrients and make food. If the foliage is still its original color, it is not time to cut hostas back yet. Wait until the leaves have dried out or wilted to the ground. This usually happens after a hard freeze.

Once the hostas has died back, use garden shears to cut through the plant to the soil line. Discard any cut plant parts. Cover the rest of the plant with a thin layer of mulch. Careful with the mulch, as too much can create a wet base which can invite slugs to live there over the winter. Remove the mulch in early spring months.

Hosta Winter Care in Pots

Hostas are becoming a popular perennial plant for containers. Winter care for potted hostas is important. When the temperature reaches 0 degrees F, the planter and the contents will freeze solid. Steer clear of natural pot materials such as untreated terra cotta. It absorbs water that expands when frozen, cracking the pot. Because of that, we recommend our resin plastic containers or other material that can handle being frozen.

Overwintering your container hostas is easy. There are a few different options.

  • If you have an unheated garage or shed, place the container in there for the winter. After the coldest part of the season is complete, put the pot back outside and water.

  • Bury the entire pot in the ground. Cover with soil to the rim and mulch.

  • Remove the plant from the pot and bury in the garden for the winter. Dig up in the spring and return it to its container. 

  • Wrap the pots with burlap, blankets or cover in a thick layer of leaves. Cover the area with a tarp.


Watering Hostas in Winter

Hostas go dormant during the winter and do not need watering. Prior to the cold weather, water the in-ground plant generously once a month during the fall. This will help prepare hostas for the winter dormant months. This does not need to be done if you are getting regular precipitation. A potted hostas will need to be watered a few times over the winter. 

Growing Hostas Indoors

With careful care, hostas can be grown indoors year round. If your hostas container has been outdoors all summer, it is not recommended that you bring it indoor for the winter. Hostas go dormant during the winter and need the cold season to thrive. Place the potted hostas in an unheated garage or shed for the cold months.


Steps To Care For Hostas in Winter

Hostas are a hardy plant that require little daily maintenance to thrive. Most preparation for the winter season actually occurs during the fall. Giving the plant a little attention in the fall will ensure its success during the spring blooming time. 

  1. Water deeply once a month in the fall

  2. After the first hard freeze, cut off dead leaves

  3. Cover the remaining plant with mulch

  4. Do not water during the winter

  5. Remove mulch during the spring months

  6. Potted plants need a cold dormant area such as a garage or shed 

  7. Potted plants need water monthly


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Author Chris Link - Published 01-04-2021