Is it OK to cut off early scapes?

hostaLes(5)June 5, 2012

With the early heat moving everything up this year, many of my hostas are developing scapes quite early.

1) Is it better to remove early scapes (perhaps to promote better development of leaves and roots)?

2) Would it hurt the hosta to remove the scapes?

3) Does it make any difference?

Myth or Fact:

I have read posts here that some say they don't particularly care for hosta flowers and always remove them. Is the premiss that removing scapes promotes faster development of younger hostas a myth? Or Fact?

Les

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thisismelissa

Anytime a plant has to put energy into flower and seed creation, it's taking energy from roots and leaves.
Cutting scapes early is just fine.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:54AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you have my permission to do whatever you want with your hosta ... including throwing blooming ones on the driveway ...

how about you do half one way.. and half the other.. and then you tell us what IF ANY result you can observe ...

ken

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:36AM
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hosta_freak(z6 NC)

Not only are mine having scapes, They are already blooming. Many people on here don't like flowers,so they cut off the scapes every year. I leave mine,and I have never noticed any loss of vigorousness in my plants. But,as Ken says,do what you want. They are your hosta. Phil

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:45AM
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peggy_hosta(z4 neSD)

I read an article somewhere (maybe Bob Solberg's newspaper)about this debate. He's of the belief that hostas producing scapes/flowers is part of the natural process of maturity and that cutting all of them off may tell the hosta to slow down a bit- quit growing so fast.
Personally, I used to cut all of them off because I din't like the look. Now I leave about 1/4 of the scapes intact.
Peggy

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:56AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Do you think it is beneficial to remove flower scapes from very small hosta? I am planning to prune them off the plants I planted last fall.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 11:14AM
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eclecticcottage(6b wny)

Huh. I wouldn't have considered this myself, since the hummingbirds in my area LOVE my hosta flowers. I usually dead head other flowering plants to get MORE flowers so I guess I wouldn't think to get less...

Although really, I can't see how removing them could hurt the plant, but I doubt very much it helps it. I'm no horticulturist, but when I dead head my other plants so the produce more flowers (butterfly bush for instance, since it's not self cleaning), it doesn't seem to slow them down one bit. Hostas might be different, I know, but I see no growth difference between my butterfly bushes and my neighbors who doesn't dead head very often (so she has less blooms). Maybe it's there but so slight I can't notice it visually without specific measurements. Especially considering hostas aren't a rebloomer, I can't imagine it would really speed it's development by very much if it isn't expending resources on the flowers and seeds.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 1:34PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Is it OK to cut off scapes? Sure. Just clean your tools between plants if you have any possiblility (however remote) that there is HVX in your garden.

-Babka

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:19PM
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hostahillbilly(4)

I'm strongly with Mr. Solberg and Babka.

Thankfully the Hosta world is beginning to appreciate the flowers, along with the hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, moths and the Hostas themselves . . .

As mentioned in an earlier post by me, I accidentally discovered that the best time to clip the old scapes is Spring, not Fall. Due to a fairly extensive foot and ankle injury last fall, all Fall cleanup went undone. Then all winter I watched the Juncos and Chickadees harvest. YaY!

hh

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:57PM
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