To cut back or not to cut back Hostas in late Autumn: that is the question? The answer really depends on whether or not you can stand to look at a border like this through Winter…
Most Hostas leaves turn yellow, die back and go dormant over the Winter. After the first frost of the season, the leaves tend to go a bit mushy too. There is no harm to the plant whatsoever in leaving the dead leaves on the plant, they will naturally drop off anyway.
Leaving the dead foliage surrounding the plants though can make it a pest friendly environment in which to over-Winter so I always gather up all the dead foliage to keep my arch enemy the slug, from finding a cosy Winter home. You don’t even need to cut off Hosta leaves as they will naturally fall off or be soft enough to pull off if you leave them to completely die back. Healthy Hosta leaves can be added to your compost heap but diseased foliage should be disposed of.
If this is the first time you have grown Hostas, you may think that you have killed off the plant but although there will be nothing much left to see at ground level, under the ground the Hosta is preparing for another spectacular show next Spring and Summer. It is a good idea to mark the spot where the Hosta has died back so you don’t dig or over-plant in that spot.
Then you can just sit back and wait for the striking Hosta leaves to rise again majestically from the soil!