Cleaning up the Hostas

We love hostas! Our shade gardens at the front of the house are packed full of hostas, with an occasional astilbe and coral bells to fill in here and there.

I wish I had a before picture of what this area looked like when we moved in 15 years ago… with its very unsightly patches of thinning grass. Imagine a bad toupee gone even more horribly wrong. All the stones that line the gardens are from our property… and after removing all the pitiful grass we dragged, rolled, wheel-barrowed, and dollied them into place. It took us a few weekends one very hot summer years ago to get this area done. Now that the hostas have pretty much filled in it looks way too messy and busy for me when they’re all in flower. We grow them for the foliage, not for the flowers.

So somewhere around mid-summer every year we let our pruners do the talking, and they say “hosta la vista baby” to each and every hosta flower… which quickly becomes a whole wheelbarrow full.

Here are some befores (with hosta flowers) and afters (without hosta flowers).

When we designed this area we wanted it to be a peaceful, calming place to sit and enjoy some shade. It faces north and can sometimes seem like a completely different temperature zone than the back deck, which faces due south and is sometimes unbearably hot. For me personally, these gardens look much better without all the hosta flowers. What do you think! Would you leave the flowers, or remove them like we do? Thanks so much for reading! I’ll be b-a-a-a-c-k!



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  1. Tuula I think your garden is beautiful with or without, it certainly looks tranquil. I haven't seen Hostas before but I'm a bit of a sucker for a flower I'd probably keep them but then again agapanthus grow like weeds and I chop them as often as possible.

  2. So beautiful either way! Love seeing your glass plate flowers in those pics! I lost all of my hostas when the ice storm took out their shade tree a few years back. I'll get more because they are so beautiful!

  3. Your garden does look very tranquil and beautiful! Saw a glimpse of your window flower box which looked awesome with its vibrant hues. I love window boxes! I keep my hostas flowers especially since they're lavender color but I don't have as many as you and I would imagine the flowers to be a distraction to the overall beauty of your garden. Mature hostas plants are so artistic looking with their variegated leaf formation.

  4. I used to cut mine too – because they can get a little overwhelming – but Tuula I could stare at your garden all day – with your beautiful garden art scattered throughout – no wonder you're inspired!
    Just GORGEOUS really!!!

  5. We also have about 8 different varieties of hosta but don't cut the flowers off until they become "stems". You have given me food for thought, thanks! (Love your gardens!)

  6. You're right! They do look better. I love hostas, too, and your garden is so beautiful.

  7. Hosta la vista…I love it! Your garden looks lovely. I adore the stepping stones. Your hard work all those summers ago paid off for sure! And, I love seeing all the beautiful garden adornments you added.

  8. Oh my goodness your hostas are GORGEOUS!!! Your gardens look amazing. I want to be you when I have a yard to put stuff in.


  9. Oh, I love my hosta flowers, and so do the bees. Since a shade garden doesn't get many flowers in the summer, I consider the flowers a bonus. But I do cut them off when they start to look tattered.

    1. I know just how you feel about the bees Mary Ann. Thankfully, we have plenty of flowers in our sunny gardens to keep them very happy, and the hummingbirds and butterflies too. Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Tuula 🙂

  10. When I had hostas, I kept the flowers until they were past perfect. My neighbors cut down their trees and my hostas fled from the sun never to return! Love how you have them arranged along the stone path.

  11. That garden is a lovely spot to avoid the afternoon heat! I'm terrible at deducting things or pruning because I always want to give everything a chance. I guess that means I'd leave the flowers.

  12. Hi Tuula, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  13. Those are so pretty. I tried planting a couple of hostas but I think I may have started them too late. They aren't anything close to yours! I agree, I like them better without the flowers. You would think the flowers would be a show piece, but they just distract from the plants themselves. Looks like a chore, but definitely worth the time!

  14. Your garden looks lovely! I love the gravel and stone walk, it looks so beachy!
    You obviously made the right decision. Beautiful job.

  15. I like hostas better with the flowers, but your garden is beautiful either way. How do you keep your looking so great. Do you have problems with animals eating them? (Stopping by from Freaking Awesome Friday. )

    1. I can't take too much credit Jenifer. We just let Mother Nature take care of them for the most part. We water well for the first few months after a new hosta is planted, but after that we don't water unless we're in drought conditions. We're lucky that animals don't come to dine on them because other gardeners in our area do have that problem. Hopefully we stay lucky.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Tuula 🙂

  16. Me too!!! We have hosta everywhere and I do the exact same thing! My husband thinks it's funny that I cut off the flowers, but I think they look way too messy! And I tend to like wispy flowers blowing in the breeze, but not hosta. I'm also not a fan of that light shade of purple. I end up with wheelbarrows full too! But don't you love all the cool varieties of foliage!

  17. The Hostas are beautiful! As much as I love flowers, I agree with you that this particular flower looks kind of messy. I would love to grow some Hostas, but our climate is just not too kind to this plant.

  18. I love the area with the stones and gravel. When we moved to our cottage, the yard had a stone patio filled in with gravel. I removed the gravel over the years and planted ground cover. Our new puppy is digging up the dirt and ground cover between. So, with that long narrative, here's my question. Do you have a dog? If so, does the dog eat the gravel? I am thinking that it might be easier now with gravel.

    Congratulations on an Etsy shop. You are the second person today I read about who had just started an Etsy. You may be sorry that I know that because I too am thinking about opening and Etsy and may seek your counsel.

  19. Tuula,
    Love all those Hostas, very peaceful and inviting indeed! I had several in our backyard, but over the last couple of years have lost a few of them due to the heat of the Summer time, if the sun hits them for too long during the day they end up dying. The only ones that I have left are in a shady spot in the corner of our backyard.

  20. Your hostas are beautiful! I think that you have so many different leaf varieties that you don't need the flowers. I would have difficulty cutting off the flowers though. Haha.

    1. lol. It's only hard at first Sheila. Once we get going it gets easier and easier.