Here's When You Should Cut the Flowering Stems Off Your Hostas
Usually grown for their beautiful leaves that come in an array of shapes and sizes, hostas are some of the prettiest shade plants out there. But these perennials also bloom and several varieties have flowers that are just as eye-catching as the foliage. They are usually white or lavender, and some are quite fragrant. Plus, bumblebees and other pollinators love to visit them. However, if you'd prefer to just enjoy the leaves of your hostas, you can just snip the flower stems off when they start to appear. Or you can wait until the buds start to open before cutting so they can make an elegant addition to your vases. If you opt to leave the blooms on the plants, the stems should be removed once flowers fade. Use these tips for deciding when and how to cut hosta flowers in your garden.
When Hostas Bloom
Hostas bloom for about three weeks, usually somewhere between May and September, depending on the variety. Each plant sends up several long stalks, called scapes, with flower buds along its length. Each flower only lasts a day when it opens.
When to Cut Hosta Flowers
If you want to enjoy the hosta flowers in a bouquet, cut each scape when only two flowers on it are open; the rest will gradually emerge over two weeks inside your home. For the flowers you leave on the plants, you should still snip off the scapes once the blooms fade. The American Hosta Society recommends cutting off each scape after three-fourths of the flower buds have opened; this keeps the plants from diverting energy into setting seeds for the next year so instead they'll grow more roots and leaves.
Don't be tempted to just pull off the scapes with your hand because this can damage your hosta. Instead, use a pair of pruning shears to snip the scape near the point where it meets the leafy base of the plant.
The Most Fragrant Hosta Flowers
Several hosta varieties have scented flowers you can enjoy either in the garden or in a vase, but one kind that goes by the name of August lily (Hosta plantaginea) has an especially strong perfume. Its large, white flowers appear along 2-foot tall scapes in midsummer. They're a popular choice in Southern gardens, because they are able to tolerate the region's steamy summers better than most other hostas. With robust, solid green leaves, August lilies work well along a pathway or next to a patio or deck, where you can experience their gardenia-like fragrance up close.