Cutting Back Hosta Blooms
Although hostas are basically grown for those beautiful leaves, there are some hosta varieties that have quite beautiful flowers. Removing these are not necessary for the health of the plant, so whether you choose to cut the flower spikes off or allow them to grow and flower is a matter of personal choice.
Hosta flowers form on long scapes that usually tower above the hosta leaf mound. The bell or funnel-shaped flowers hang down from the scapes.
Guacamole in Bloom
Reasons to Remove Scapes and Flowers
If you're trying to grow the size of your hosta, cutting off the flower stalks when you see them will divert more energy to the hosta leaves and roots, giving them the added strength to grow larger.
Quality of the Flower Bloom
Because most hostas have been bred for their beautiful leaves, the quality of the bloom is many times an afterthought. Many hosta varieties have flowers of only 2” high, and some flowers are rather bland and unattractive. Some gardeners prefer to cut the stalks as soon as they appear simply for aesthetic purposes.
If you remove the flower stems on a hosta, it will usually not flower again that season.
How to Prune the Flower Stalks
Use sharp shears and remove the stalk at the base.
Disinfect your shears in between plants with a solution of 10% bleach to 90% water to avoid the spread of any disease.
Reasons to let the Hostas Flower!
Hostas of the Hosta Plantaginea variety grow larger, showy flowers, up to 6” long. The flowers don't usually bloom until later in the summer and the open up late in the afternoon. Hence the name August Lily.
There are fragrant hosta types in the Hosta Plantaginea varieties. The strongly scented white flowers have been likened to the scent of honeysuckle. This type of hosta is also known to perform well in the summer heat. You can plant these hostas near a walkway, porch, deck or patio for fresh summer fragrance.
Here at Sunset Hosta Farm we grow and sell a variety of fragrant hostas, including Blue Mouse Ears, Honeybells, The Shining, So Sweet and Guacamole.
Further Reading: Fragrant Hostas
Drawing in Hummingbirds
The bell or funnel-shaped delicate flowers of hostas are the perfect shape for the long, slender tongues and beaks of hummingbirds and are a great source of nectar for them.
Drawing in the Bees
Bees are also drawn to the hosta blooms. If you have a sunny vegetable garden, giving the bees a shadier place to feed on hosta blooms will help draw them in to pollinate your food plants.
Draw in the Birds
Large-leafed hosta varieties hold drops of water on their leaf surfaces or in the flower folds. They can serve as a hydration station for birds and other flying visitors. Birds also enjoy eating the hosta seed heads.
Hosta Flower Arranging
Since hostas leaves are long-lasting when in water and are available in a multitude of textures, colors, and shapes, they're a great plant to use as an addition to a flower arrangement display.
Harvesting Hosta Seeds
If you're adventurous and want to grow hostas from seed, you can let all or some of the hosta plants go to flower and seed. The best time to harvest the seeds is right after the first frost. The seed pod needs to mature before the seeds inside are viable.
Commercial hostas are propagated through root division, though, as their seed will not produce a plant that is identical to the mother plant. If you're not picky about the exact type of hosta you will get from the seed, you can expand your collection this way. You never know exactly what you'll get!
Further Reading: Growing Hostas from Seed
Whether you decide to remove the flower stalks and enjoy the beautiful foliage, let them go through the entire cycle and feed your garden ecosystem, you're sure to enjoy them just the same.
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