How do you protect hostas from slugs?

Mari11(z5a Toronto)May 27, 2009

I have couple hostas which look beautiful in spring, but later become all perforated and ugly. For this reason I don't plant more hostas even though I like them. Any suggestions how to protect them?


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I spread slug pellets around this time of the year.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 2:54PM
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I put stray around mine it seams to help. I also spray my HostaÂs with 1 part anemoina/10 parts water. Works for me..

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 4:49PM
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there's a couple things i like to do to help most of my plants....
egg shells or a bit of sand paper works...the slugs don't like anything with a sharp edge,so they won't go over it..
the other things is to cut the top of a plastic bottle and turn it around and put it back into the bottle..
put some water in the bottle and bury it so the lip is just about even with the ground ..sideways....when the slugs crawl in,they can;t get out and drown...or you can throw the bottle out and do it again...
i find with attracts to many slugs to the area...
good luck and happy gardening..

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 6:25PM
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I used to spread Safer's Slug pellets around. Then I put up a lot of bird houses. Now we have lots of birds and seldom do I see any slug damage. I no longer use the slug pellets. Marg

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 8:43AM
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I used slug pellets for about 10 years I spread it around every spring and a few times in between if I saw slug damage. Every year there were less and less slugs. After this length of time I simply don't have slugs any more and they were plentyful before. As a precaution, I still spread it lightly around where there are things like hostas and marigolds--hostas aren't the slugs first choice, marigolds are their favorites.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 2:57PM
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I've cut and pasted something to try from the wintersown forum.
"Carrie or Stage Rat (not sure which one), noted a while back that they had found that alfalfa pellets were great for attracting slugs after which you can dispose of them the way you want. Well, it's the BEST solution I've ever found. Just put a few on a plate, wet them down, then place in the garden. Go about your business for a while then come back. They will all be waiting for you on the plate to throw them on the road to be run over by any and every vehicle. What personal satisfaction you will get!!!

Tried amonia, pellets/bait, eggshells, UCGs, seaweed, sea shells (crushed), beer, grapefruit, yeast concoctions, etc. This is the BEST!!!

I know we've all had our share of rain lately and that will surely bring them out so I thought I'd re-enforce the ammunition... I know I need it!"

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:24PM
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slugs also love salvias. I was wondering what was eating my salvias last year and spotted quite a few of them munching away.. So this year, I'm spreading slub baits in the front yard too.

By the way, anyone know a good way to get rid of earwigs. I had such an infestation last year that I had to resort to spraying insecticides which I'm loathe to do. I'm trying the wet crumpled newspapers in a box this year but I'm open to any other ideas to get rid of these little devils.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Ianna, I've heard that if you get an old garden hose, cut it into one foot lengths, then place the pieces around your garden at dusk, the earwigs will crawl into them.

In the morning, take a bucket with soapy water, immerse the hose sections, and the earwigs will fall out and drown.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 6:48PM
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That's a great idea. Last year, I found a multitude of these creatures in the holes of my bamboos which I used as a trellis. So yes they will crawl into hoses and whats more hoses can be invisible under the foliage. Excellent. thanks for the idea.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 9:58AM
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Hi All:

Grow some Ligularia (Zone 4-9). We have many hostas and the slugs march right past all of them and strictly feast on the ligularias. The ligs grow so quickly they can take the abuse and still bloom beautifully later in the year.

The ammonia and water solution is also very effective, more so if you go out a few nights and spray directly on the slugs.


Here is a link that might be useful: Our website

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 5:06PM
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I haven't seen any slugs feed on my hostas knock on wood, but I did find lots on my allium stalks which are about a foot away from my hosta

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:48PM
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bestwitches(5a Peterborough, Ontario)

If you sprinkle salt, pepper or cayenne pepper around on the ground they don't like it. Also if using eggshells and you don't want the bright white showing (unless you are using brown) you can colour them with food colouring. I find a combination works well as salt and peppers have to be redone after rain or moisture. Works for cutworms too.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:32PM
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My friend, who lives next door, was given a bunch of plants by a friend of hers. The plants were ladden with slugs and the evil things spread to my yard. My first experience with these horrible beasties!! Yich!!

I tried hunting these gruesome, slimy critters with a flashlight at night. I tried eggshells. I tried coffee grounds. I tried the Internet for all sorts of inventive natural and organic methods. And, I finally resorted to... shhhh!! Slug Bait!!

Then my mother suggested tobacco. Yep! Tobacco! I sprinkled tobacco all around my plants, on the plants, everywhere! I soaked tobacco and sprayed my plants and the ground with the juice. In two days, no slugs.

I did it again, as a precaution, two weeks later. I have not seen another slug since the first spray and neither has my friend.

Who knew? It worked for me. How? I don't know. I don't know if the spray from the juice poisoned them or if the grotties ate the tobacco I sprinkled and "that" poisoned them, I don't know. I just know my mother's suggestion worked for me.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 10:49PM
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Hi, wondering about the tobacco that just regular tobacco that you roll into cigarette tubes? And did you put it down as well as soak it and spray the plants? Thanks, my poor hostas are taking a beating from the dang-blat slugs.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 11:48PM
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Yes, I bought a whole big can of it!! Are they called cans or tubs or tins? I'm not even sure, but it was a big white, plastic container and cost me a lot! But it was well worth it!!

I sprinkled some on the ground around the plants and I soaked some in a five gallon pail overnight. I strained the tobacco out of the water, split the strained water between two five gallon pails and topped up the two pails. The juice was pretty strong! After all, I soaked one third of the white container of tobacco overnight!! And, I started with boiling water! I then used a hand held pump sprayer and sprayed every plant thoroughly.

My friend did the same thing with her garden. Even though we didn't see any slugs, we repeated the procedure two weeks later and we haven't seen a slug since. However, we are also vigilant about where we get plants and we NEVER bring other garden soil in without checking it thoroughly!! I don't want a repeat go round with those things!!

As I said, I have no idea why it worked. My mother suggested it and I tried it. Maybe an expert could tell us.

All I know is I was at my wits end and I was willing to try anything! I was even thinking of salting my entire garden, using alkaline salts from sloughs near the city. Now, that desperation!! But then, I am told I am a rather "crazy" gardener!!

I grow roses in raised boxes. I have some of the biggest Japanese Butter Burr you will ever see in SK and instead of grass, I have rug! Yep! My garden is a sight to see! I don't call it sank_chew_airy for nothing!!


    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 12:17AM
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Be careful about tobacco and never put it near The following plants. You can cause more trouble than the cure for slugs.

I'm talking about Tobacco mosaic virus. Tomatoes are particularly affected by it. It can rot a plant in no time. Frankly I'd think of something else to use for slugs. I like the idea of alfalfa pellets and the inverted bottle.

Plants particularily suseptible to Tobacco mosaic virus

tomato, pepper, petunia, snapdragon, delphinium, and marigold to a lesser extent in muskmelon, cucumber, squash, spinach, celosia, impatiens, ground cherry, phlox, zinnia, certain types of ivy, plantain, night shade, and jimson weed

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 7:46AM
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I have moved my hostas to a semi-shady area. We have put up all kinds of birdhouses since we bought the farm. I also spread snail and slug bait. Since they are in a shady area, there are also lots of birds in there already. I plan to put a bird bath in there to. Marg

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:12AM
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Holy Mackerel! I researched the Tobacco mosaic virus and oilpainter is dead on!!

Dear Gardeners donÂt do what I did!! I got rid of the slugs and I got lucky! I still grow tomatoes, have Morning Glory, Marigolds, Delphiniums, Phlox and Ivy, but I am probably just plain lucky!

Drop the suggestion of the tobacco for slugs!! It is definitely NOT worth the risk!!


    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 5:21AM
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I have all my new hosta and Myrle's latest purchases( she doesn't trust her husband to look after them while she has gone to her sister's in Oregon to get more) Under my makeshift greenhouse on the covered deck (which I remove the plastic and return and cover every evening in case we have frost. Also a heater and light bulb so they won't get scared at night)
Now back to the worry of slugs.I had very few last season but was told there is something you can get with crushed glass that controls them. They also said if you use beer, etc it may attract them so now I am confused. I need all the pointers I can get as this is new and I am a born worrier anyway

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Beer does work but I found that a few other critters were drawn to the beer. I don't ususally have many slugs around here but last year was very wet and they were lovin it! I dampened a light weight flower pot and dusted it with powdered sugar. Turned it upside down in my hostas and the slugs crawled inside. Then I just dumped them out on a tray for the birds. My maggiepies love them! Ginny

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:22PM
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I have quite a few (150+?) hosta planted, and I protect them with ammonia and water- usually in early spring, when the leaves first emerge, later again in mid summer, and at the end of the season.
However, I do plant slug resistant hosta. Breeders have done a really good job developing hosta with thicker leaves and more slug resistance.
In the gardens, it is quite obvious which hosta are slug tolerant and those which are not. I get rid of the hosta which do not perform well for me. Any hosta that requires constant spraying is heaved from the gardens. I wait a few years before making my final verdict, because the leaves of some hosta will develope a thicker texture as the plant matures.
There are so many good hosta out there - why waste time with the poor performers?
I plant hosta because they look good with minimal care. A hosta which is a slug magnet just defeats that purpose.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Here is a suggestion.
Blend one cup of chillies and one cup of wormwood with one cup of water. Then, add five cups of water and bring to the boil. Allow this to stand for one hour. Strain and bottle.
This can be sprayed on plants and garden beds to repel possums, rabbits, snails and slugs. It also kills aphids, bean fly and white fly.
Note: Do not allow to come into contact with eyes or skin.
Hosta and wormwood look nice planted together.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:00AM
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