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Ways to Protect Your Hostas from Slugs and Snails

How to stop Slugs & Snails eating my Hostas?

We are now getting to that time of year when we need to think ahead slightly and consider what we do about those much talked about molluscs.

Slugs & Snails
Target Slugs & Snails

The slugs & snails, have overwintered in all those places that you just didn’t have time to tidy up for winter, giving them a lovely sheltered spot, ready for warming up in the Spring.

So! What should we do about them, and when? What are the alternatives? Which one works best? Let’s have a look!

Firstly, you will always have the edge by having good strong Hosta plants, grown in the right position, without any stress. Keep them healthy and strong.

Consider natural predators such as the wonderful Hedgehog, or frogs & toads. Create a good living environment for predators to thrive and they will keep your slug population down. Give plenty of nesting sights for birds, such as Thrushes & Blackbirds. They just love eating slugs. If you have plenty of trees, these can offer nesting for birds, as well as valuable shade from the sun, for your Hostas. Maybe get some ducks!!

Natural predators will also include humans. See yourself in the garden, every night, with a torch on your head, picking off the slugs one by one? Commendable for those that do, but I have better things to do, such as my valuable sleep.

Hosta Pots on Gravel keep slugs at bay
Hosta Pots on Gravel

Slugs don’t like surfaces that are difficult to navigate. Try strategically using pine bark or gravel. They just don’t like these surfaces, and tend to look for something else to eat, that doesn’t mean crossing that gravel path.

Take away their natural hiding places. Clear up those bricks and broken slabs. Make it difficult for them. Keep all areas clean of other debris such as leaves and twigs, but be careful of disturbing any overwintering Hedgehogs.

These efforts may well help reduce the problem of slugs but may not entirely eliminate them. The great news is all of the above are FREE! This is a good start.

There are hundreds of ‘proprietary’ controls on the market. I will say now, that some of these will work for some people, but not all of them work for all the people all the time.

Let’s have a look anyway. Firstly, we will tackle what you can do with planted Hostas.....

Coffee grounds…. can often be free from a local coffee outlet. Coffee grounds contain a naturally occurring fertiliser, poisonous to slugs.

Wool Pellets …. Make it difficult for slugs to navigate. These are relatively effective but they’re not cheap. More likely to be used with containerised Hostas.

Slug traps.... will collect many slugs, but you will have to remove them from the trap each morning. Many use beer in the trap but try citrus peel. Any slug trail that you get on your hands, try vinegar, to clean them.

Plant ‘slug repellent plants’.... around your Hostas. These are generally aromatic or strong-smelling plants that confuse the slugs. Anything from the Allium family, strong mint, chives, Garlic, Fennel, or even Foxgloves & Geraniums.

How about this… slugs are lazy, if there is something easier to eat, they will. Try planting a ‘sacrifice’ crop somewhere near your Hostas. Sow some salad stuff for the slugs to eat, instead of the slugs eating your valuable Hosta leaves.

Pot grown Hostas
Hostas grown in pots

Hostas grown in pots and containers.... Use sharp horticultural grit on the surface of the pots. Maybe crushed eggshells instead (or as well).

Copper band.... placed around the pot. Does it work??? Maybe sometimes. Or get really silly and cover the pots with Vaseline, making it difficult for the slugs to ascend, or spray the pots with WD40. Works for a day or two.

So you can see that there is a small group of repellants, free or otherwise that might or might not work. There are a few thing you shouldn’t try…

Salt.. do not use salt. This will draw the water out of the slugs and kill it by dehydration. Not a pretty sight and shouldn’t be done. The salt will also damage the plants, maybe even kill them. Epsom salts is an alternative, but try not to use salt at all.

Vinegar.... doesn’t kill slugs at all. The only use for vinegar is to remove snail trail, or washing hands if you have been handling slugs.


slug pellets
Propriety Slug Pellets

Slug Pellets… as of Friday 1st April 2022 slug pellets containing metaldehyde can no longer be used, and are banned from being sold. There is now only one type of slug pellet approved for use in gardens, those based the active ingredient ferric phosphate. However, as you might expect these are less effective.


QR code
Scan QR code for Garlic Spray Recipe

All is not lost though. There is one completely natural way of controlling slugs on Hostas, and you can make it yourself.

Garlic Spray. Try spraying your Hostas with a home-made recipe of Garlic Spray.

Above is the QR Code for our own recipe. Really easy for you to make your own.                

Just a few guidance rules for applying Garlic Spray.

Don’t spray when it is, or it is going to rain. Common sense really, it’ll only wash off.

Equally do not spray in scorching hot weather, it will only help burn the leaves more.

When applying, do both the top and underside of the leaves.

You may need to do this, weekly, or monthly, depending on how effective it has been. This can be seen by the number of slugs and snails that are still apparent.

Slugs detest the smell of garlic, and will stay well away from it.

When you make this recipe, usually in a kitchen, open all the doors & windows. It will stink.


What I love about all of these solutions is that a lot of people will try more than one of them, and that’s ok! Find one that works for you, and carry on using it.

Dedicated section of website for slug resistant Hostas
Dedicated section of website for Slug Resistant Hostas

Hostas are beautiful plants, and the challenge of keeping slugs & snails from your Hostas, is really worth it.

They tend to be able to handle whatever nature seems to throw at them. Every year they come back up, and carry on regardless. I just love them!

You may be surprised at the are large number of Hosta varieties that are slug resistant. Varieties with thick ribbed leaves, blue leaves or those with a waxy layer are far more resistant to attack.

Take a look at the dedicated section of our website featuring the resistant varieties .

Just take a moment and think about this....

Slug  on BBC News
Slug makes BBC News

Our future blogs will include lots of information and advice on how to enjoy your Hostas.......


John Plant

Rewela Hostas

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2 comentários

17 de fev.

Hi!, Nematodes are another way of protecting your Hostas, and other plants, from vine weevil and slug grubs. It is a natural way of introducing predators. However, the reason for not mentioning Nematodes in the blog is that is is very expensive, needs several applications per year, and very often doesn't work. Given the right application, in the right way, at the right time, they can work well. In general, they are watered onto your plants/compost in conditions that are perfect. Not too wet, not too cold. The following weather also has a say in it. If the nematodes get dry, the simply die and are ineffective. Controlling with nematodes is quite complicated and hit & miss. Experiment with them,…


17 de fev.

Hi, how about nematodes? Do you not recommend them?

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