How To Protect Hostas From Snails & Slugs? The Ultimate Guide

You chose to plant hostas in your garden because of their lovely foliage, which you hoped would add a nice color scheme to your garden. However, what use is it if the leaves of your hostas have large, unsightly holes in them? Let’s talk about, how to prevent slugs on hostas.

how to prevent slugs on hostas

Photo Credit Slugs and snails are a hosta grower’s worst enemy because they love munching on juicy hosta leaves.

While there can be other pests and animals that might be eating your hostas, the biggest issue gardeners face trying to raise hostas is snails and slugs. Unfortunately, you might not realize that you have a slug problem until the damage has been done because these gastropods are usually active at night or on cloudy days. Slugs will therefore present a greater difficulty for you if you reside in an area with significant rainfall.

When it comes to controlling snails and slugs, you have a variety of options, such as manually eliminating them or spending money on specialist goods like beer-filled slug traps. However, the best course of action calls for a springtime start and a combination of many strategies, including manual removal methods, organic insecticides, and good lawn care practices. As a last resort, you can also use synthetic herbicides to get rid of snails and slugs from hostas.

All in all, slugs and snails are a major issue for growers of hostas. Read on to learn how to identify their presence in your garden and manage their infestations.

How To Get Rid Of Slugs On Hostas

How To Get Rid Of Slugs On Hostas

Photo Credit Hostas cultivated in containers are far more slug and snail resistant than those grown in open soil.

There are many approaches that one may take to kill, control, or act as slug and snail deterrents. This post will discuss anti-gastropod (snails and slugs) cures, starting with the most efficient ones. Also, beware of the myths. Some methods won’t work at all but are still suggested by many gardeners and gardening websites. You don’t want to fall for those! They will just waste your time, effort, and other resources. 

As already stated, the best approach to controlling snails and slugs involves a combination of different methods. So, tidy up your garden and the area around hostas to keep them safe from slugs. 

Creating a healthy ecosystem is the key. Try and create a natural habitat for the slug predators. Change the watering routine. It’s better if you water your garden and plants in the morning. Also, some people hand-pick the slugs off at night. 

To be on the safer side, you can install beer traps as well. In the end, if the problem remains, you can use chemicals like ammonia and Sluggo. Apply these methods in combination, and you won’t ever worry about slugs again! 

Related: What Is Eating Holes In My Hostas? Causes & Solutions

How To Avoid Slugs & Snails On Hosta Plants?

Tips to avoid slugs

Photo Credit Clean the area around hostas thoroughly with a rake to eliminate slug/snail hiding spaces.

Depending on where you reside, slugs and snails can just be a natural part of life in the region or growing zone. So it is best to be vigilant in order to avoid snails and slugs, and as the saying goes, care is better than cure. The following are some tried-and-true solutions that have been shown to be effective in preventing snails and slugs from attacking hostas.

  • Picking individual snails and slugs from the plants’ leaves at night can sometimes be sufficient to control a tiny slug infestation. To find them at night, use a flashlight. You should kill any that you find and be sure to check the area around the plants’ bases, which is where they will typically hide.
  • If there are too many hostas for the space in your yard, you might wish to trim them out or divide them into groups. On the other hand, if you would rather have a garden that is densely packed with plants rather than one that is neatly maintained, you can skip this step.
  • Slugs and snails prefer inhabiting damp soil. As a result, you should make it a practice to water your garden first thing in the morning every day. When you do this, the beds will dry out during the night and will not attract any slugs.
  • It is essential to thoroughly clean the garden in order to eliminate any potential hiding places for slugs. This consists of things like mulch, leaves, and other debris that may usually be found in a garden. Clean the area thoroughly with a rake, and then, if necessary, cover the bare spots with fresh mulch.

Myths & Ineffective Methods

As already stated, there are many myths floating around in the gardening communities and online gardening pages that claim to solve the snail and slug problem in gardens. You may have also read some of them on the internet, but our research and survey have shown that they don’t work and will not solve your slug problem. These ineffective methods include

  • Using cornmeal as a poison for snails and slugs.
  • Using crushed eggshells as a barrier around your plants. It has been seen that slugs and snails can easily cross this barrier.
  • Garlic sprays to deter snails and slugs from entering the hosta garden.
  • Copper rings or copper tape around the hosta pots.

Sometimes despite even doing all of the things mentioned above, snails and slugs might enter your hosta garden. In such situations, we suggest the following step-by-step method for keeping your garden slug-free. However, keep in mind and do not expect that there is some magic spell to keep slugs away from your garden and hostas forever. 

Instead, keeping a pest-free garden requires constant effort and the use of good lawn care practices. If you include these below-mentioned slug and snail cures in your gardening routine, then you won’t have to worry about slugs eating your hostas ever again.

Related: The Hosta With the Mosta: 9 Different Types Of Hostas

Natural Ways To Eliminate Snails & Slugs From Hostas

Natural ways to eliminate pests

Photo Credit A beer trap is a straightforward hack for controlling snails and slugs in your garden.

If you have a slug infestation in your garden, there are several organic treatment solutions that work just as well as non-organic insecticides. You should prefer these over insecticides as they do not harm other insects and animals and are safe to use in general.

Removing Slugs By Hand

If you have a small garden and just a tiny snail or slug infestation, you can just hand-pick the slugs off the hostas. You should do this activity at night or at least after sundown because that is when slugs and snails are the most active. 

It is also the time that you’ll find all the slugs and snails most actively destroying your plants. Slugs and snails are hidden and can not be seen in the daylight.

Beer trap

The next most effective method for eradicating snails and slugs is using beer traps. Beer is the most popular, all-natural slug trap. Take a small container and half-fill it with beer. Slugs are attracted to beer. They’ll climb and fall in the container. 

You will have to refill beer containers with fresh beer from time to time. Also, mix some sugar and water with beer. Fermentation will start, and this mixture will now attract even more pests.

Creating A Healthy, Anti-Slug/Snail Ecosystem

You can also control the slug population in your yard by creating an environment that attracts snail and slug predators. Mainly, you want to attract slug-eating birds, like blackbirds and thrushes. These aerial lifeforms love feeding on these gastropods. 

To attract them, you should have hedgerows, shrubs (particularly those with berries), and trees in your garden. Some other slug predators include hedgehogs, frogs and toads, and worms. So, try making your garden as inviting as possible and forget the slug problem.

Related: What Is Eating My Plants At Night? Learn About The Evil Creatures Involved!

Chemical Control Methods For Snails & Slugs

Chemical control - how to prevent slugs on hostas

Photo Credit Always use chemical insecticides as a last resort to control any bug infestation in your garden.

Once more, we will reiterate that we always insist on beginning with organic methods since these approaches are preferable from an environmental standpoint. Nevertheless, if you have previously done that and the slug problem still persists, you can pick one of the mentioned chemical control methods below.

Using Ammonia To Kill Slugs

Ammonia is a popular and highly effective slug-killing solution. Apply a solution of water and ammonia with a ratio of 10 to 1 using a sprayer directly onto the hosta leaves and slugs. 

If you also want to get rid of snail and slug eggs in the soil, sprinkle a 20% ammonia solution (1 part ammonia to 4 parts water) around the crowns of your hosta plants with a watering can. 

The ammonia solution kills the slugs while simultaneously feeding the plants because ammonia contains mainly nitrogen.

Sluggo For Slugs And Snails

If you have pets in your home, you can use Sluggo. It is a potent natural insecticide that prevents snails and slugs from nibbling on your hosta plants. 

So, when they stop eating, they immediately lose their capacity to move, and within three to six days, they start to die. This may sound brutal, but it is quite effective. 

Also, when snails and slugs stop eating, they hide. So, you won’t even have to see them!

Plant Slug/Snail Resistant Hosta Varieties

Some types of hostas are more attractive to slugs and snails than others. However, if the slugs are hungry enough, hostas are susceptible to attack just like any other plant. Plants with thicker leaves and textured foliage are thought to be less appealing to slugs than hostas with thin leaves and smooth foliage. Here are some snail and slug-resistant hosta varieties.

Host Alex Summers

It is a huge plant that was initially derived from the Gold Regal variety. The yellow margin of the leaf contrasts with the blue and green hues that are seen in the middle of the leaf. 

The rate of growth is average.

Hosta American Halo

It is also a huge plant that is not afraid of snails. The leaves have a broad, corrugated appearance and are a blue-green color with a border that is cream-white in color. 

It grows slowly.

Hostas Afterglow

It features heart-shaped leaves that are yellow on the outside and green in the middle. The size is large, and the rate of expansion is rapid.

Hosta Abundant Love

This enormous hosta seems unfazed by the presence of slugs and other snails. The leaves have a green tint, and their shape is somewhat elongated and constricted.

Hosta Abiqua Drinking Gourd

The variant is slug resistant and belongs to the giant hosta family. Large, deeply corrugated leaves with a bluish cast characterize this slow-growing plant, which also has a relatively modest pace of growth.

Final Thoughts

If slugs have been continually damaging your plants, it is about time that you took some preventative measures. Slug infestations can be kept at bay and healthy by choosing a range of natural and chemical methods. 

Also, undamaged plants can be maintained in a garden by beginning the growing season with a robust slug management program and continuing it throughout the season.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stop slugs and snails from eating my hostas?

Posters are a favorite food of snails and slugs, which makes them an especially troublesome pest during the springtime. To keep slugs away from your hostas, clean up the area and build barriers around them. Some folks pluck the slugs off by hand at night. 

Creating an abrasive barrier around hostas, such as diatomaceous earth, can also protect them against snails and slugs.

Do snails and slugs like hostas?

A hosta grower’s worst enemy, slugs and snails, love to nibble their luscious leaves and leave their distinctive shredded holes as they munch away at night. 

No of the variety, slugs, and snails attack any hosta. However, some hostas with thicker leaf varieties are less vulnerable to harm. For example, look at the list above!

What keeps slugs from eating hostas?

There are numerous natural solutions that can stop slugs from munching on your hosta leaves. For example, you could draw a line of Vaseline around the pot’s rim and then rub salt into it. Vaseline keeps snails and slugs away from your hosta plants while holding the salt in place.

Can hostas recover from slug damage?

Your hostas have a strong chance of recovering and growing back if you have given them appropriate care and placed them in the right setting. 

However, if slugs keep eating them, hostas are unlikely to recover. Heavy and repeated infestations prevent hostas from recovering and healing.

Do coffee grounds keep slugs away from hostas?

Coffee grounds are occasionally used to repel slugs and keep them from consuming hosta leaves. However, you should avoid using freshly brewed coffee grounds in your hosta garden. Fresh coffee grounds can have phytotoxic effects on soil and should not be used in your hosta garden.

Why are my hostas being eaten?

Slugs and snails are frequent pests on the hosta and are most likely eating your plants. However, there might be other offenders. These include aphids, caterpillars, rodents, birds, and mammals. Examining the indications of damage is the best approach to identify the animal responsible for eating your hostas.

What to put on hostas to keep bugs from eating them?

Spraying hosta plants with horticultural oil is the most effective approach to keep bugs away. To manufacture DIY horticultural oil, simply combine insecticidal soap with vegetable oil in the correct quantities. 

The oil facilitates the pesticide’s ability to cling to the hosta’s foliage and stems for longer periods of time, so enhancing their capacity to eliminate any insects that may be present.

Sources for Further Reading

Snails and Slugs Management Guidelines–UC IPM. (2022). Retrieved 19 August 2022, from http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7427.html

Snails and Slugs – Gardening Solutions – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (2022). Retrieved 19 August 2022, from https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/pests-and-diseases/pests/snails-and-slugs.html

Snails & Slugs in the Home Garden. (2022). Retrieved 19 August 2022, from https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/snails-slugs-in-the-home-garden/

Slugs and Snails. Retrieved 19 August 2022, from https://extension.usu.edu/vegetableguide/leafy-greens/slugs-snails

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