Frost-Damaged Hostas - Knowledgebase Question

Chesterfield, VA
Question by mg864
April 2, 2001
We had a late freeze this spring where the temperatures got down into the low 20s. My hosta were already starting to come up and the new growth got damaged. As the leaves open, I can see that they are transparent and wrinkled; some are somewhat mushy. Should I cut the plant back to the ground hoping for new growth, or will the plant heal itself with new growth anyway?

Answer from NGA
April 2, 2001


It's usually better to leave the plants alone for now and allow the plants to recover.The damaged foliage will serve to protect tender new growth. Later in the season you can remove the damaged foliage. With hostas, it is often a good idea to leave a loose covering of mulch over the very early growth tips to try to keep them from emerging too far and too early and becoming vulnerable to frost damage. Once they have emerged above the mulch layer, you can toss some fluffy leaves or straw or even a cardboard box over top of them on cold nights. Sometimes there is damage despite our best efforts. The more vigorous varieties will overcome the damage quickly. Younger or less dense plants may not grow enough this season to conceal the damage.

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