Hostas and slugs

Published: August 31, 2022

Hostas and Slugs -How to know when you're beaten!

Having loved hostas for as long as I can remember, I had built up quite a collection, but my garden has also built up quite a collection of slugs, and as my mum calls then -slugs with shells!

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Mini Hostas in Pots

There must be a sign near the garden saying, ‘Food this way'

What have I tried:-

  • Copper tape on the top of my pots -doesn't work!
  • Standing pots in a tray of water -living near the coast, I believe that local snails and slugs can swim! -doesn't work!
  • Grit, gravel, chicken grit, crushed egg shells -doesn't work!
  • Wool pellets, work brilliantly until they lose their wet sheep smell, then the slugs move in -doesn't work!
  • Mulching with bark, likewise as soon as the smell disappears the snails and slug re-appear -doesn't work!
  • Nemaslugs -still on my first year of using them, so I will wait before making a fair judgement. However, they only work on the small, baby slugs, so the larger ones still have to be disposed of manually. To do this, use a fork on the end of a pole (to prevent bending down). This makes brilliant slug kebabs and does work, especially if you look under their favourite plants. I have a Campanula garganica ‘Dicksons Gold'on my rockery, and they love to hide under it…….this works!
  • Spraying garlic water -lasts a few days then when the smell wears off back they come -so doesn't work!

So what now…..a few years ago I dug out all the hostas which were growing in the borders in my back garden (adjacent to fields), some went in the bin, the special ones were planted in the front garden or potted up.

Apart from the border which adjoins the front of our house (north facing), all have been stripped bare by the blighters. They have now been dug up and potted up.

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North Facing Border

The ones adjoining the house obviously are more slug resistant, they include Liberty, Pauls Glory, Patriot and a boring green ribbed one. Sadly, a particularly nice Hosta nigrescens, which was in the middle of this group, must be delicious to slugs and they hunt it out, strip it, then move on. It has now been potted up.

Liberty 67
Paul 16.jpg's%20Glory
Paul's Glory

They have next year to see if they survive, otherwise they are also out! and the slugs will no doubt move onto something else……

Some of my mini hostas are doing quite well, in individual pots, on the front door step, where I can keep an eye on them. As soon as you spot a ‘nibble'-move the pot and guess what……

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You've guessed it

Maggie Duguid

Text and photos by Maggie Duguid, who is a member of the HPS North East Group.