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I am thinking of running up the white flag and digging up my Hostas.  In a good year they looked magnificent but this has been my worst year ever and it is heartbreaking to look at the ugly skeletal leaves.  When I moved into this house we had a bit of a slug problem but thankfully no snails.  Now I am overrun with both.  I am wondering if word got around the local area that I was generous with the slug pubs and slug food so all the little blighters in the neighbourhood moved in.  

Would moving the Hostas into pots work?  Should I wash off all soil to prevent transferring eggs?  Is there anything I can do to exterminate them?   How about building a pond and transferring frogspawn in the spring?  Can one buy hedgehogs anywhere?  I am at my wits end.  Any suggestions fellow sufferers?

Hi Esspee.  Sorry to hear about your poor hostas.  I purchased about 10 hostas for the first time this year and was warned about slugs and snails.  This is what I have done:-

In around February, I started sprinkling slug pellets around the garden.  I read somewhere that if you start early you stop many slugs and snails breeding.  When I planted the hostas I surrounded them with copper rings and also kept putting slug pellets around the rings on the soil.  There are definitely slugs and snails in our garden because I clear the corpses away but with the exception of my white feather hosta, my hostas have been hole free so far.  It is quite a lot of work but definitely worth it in my mind when you see the lovely hosta plants growing. 

I know others on the forum keep hostas in pots and I'm sure they'll be along shortly to help you with their experiences.

Don't give up on Hostas though, they're too beautiful!

 

Thank you for your advice.  Where can one buy copper rings?

I grow several hostas in the ground and in pots.  ,so far they all look good.  Can post pictures.

I do the late night trawl with torch sometimes....well, quite often 

For  pots I use copper tape.  Discreet, hardly noticeable on terracotta and effective.

Bear in mind slugs and snails can still be in compost or soil and actually live within any copper ring or tape.

I deny some hostas from flowering ESP when growing for their foliage and this helps too.  Flowers attract slugs etc and spent flowers even more so.  Spent flowers also disfigure hosta leaves.

Dont give up on hostas Espee.  I reckon this is the year of the slug...that mld wet winter was perfect for slugs and snails and their breeding and survival.

 

Thank you for your encouragement.   Is copper tape easily available at a reasonable cost?

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I have been researching and have come across advice to water the leaves with a garlic infusion.   Would wild garlic leaves work do you think?  I have made an infusion of comfrey before to act as a natural fertiliser so I am familiar with that idea.

Alternatively, if I cut back all the Hosta leaves now (they look so sad) that would expose the soil and perhaps give me a better chance of inflicting major casualties to the slug and snail population before the winter.

Comments most welcome.

Orchid Lady

Esspee, I've just seen copper tape on offer in Aldi or Home Bargains, can't remember which one because I went in both, but there was plenty in stock.  For some reason unknown to me the slugs have been nowhere near the 3 Hostas I bought this year, they have eaten a lot of others things but left them be.....maybe they aren't the tasty variety?? 

Do you have a note of what variety they are?

Mine in pots have copper tape round - buy from garden centres / on line. In ground I use slug pellets, keep leaves off ground by tying up to a small unseen cane and I put gravel round or crushed egg shells if not visible area - eg my allotment. I can't do the slug patrol on my allot so they are not as good as the ones I  keep at home in pots with copper.

 

Orchid Lady

No I don't esspee, they were just cheap bare root ones from Aldi or Lidl and didn't have the variety on, maybe our slugs have more expensive taste 

Tray14

Hi I have grown all my Hostas in pots -  slug pellets early in the year (end of Feb beginning March) - copper tape to stick round the pots (looks ok).

Out at night to remove any offenders!

Left mine to flower and all still looking good. All different varieties from Wilkinsons £1 Hosta through to Praying Hands, Queen Josephine and El Nino.

Keep heart - you will win!!!!

Esspee, hello

 I placed my potted hosta  by the pond this year as there are frogs about so didn't use pellets or copper but, and you can guess what I'm going to say, it is such a mess! Holes in leaves, chewed stems. I am so cross with myself for not being more vigilant. I think the eggs must have been in the soil otherwise the frogs would have had a feast.

 Decision time, looking at it,  I'm going to take off the worst of the leaves, wash the soil off and repotting early with slug pellets in  and around the soil.

By the way, I didn't know that  the flowers attracted slugs, Verdun.

 

Fairygirl

Mine are damaged before the flowers make an appearance anyway. I've had more trouble this year with them, for two main reasons - there was very little in this garden when I moved in 18 months ago, so there's now more for the little darlings to eat, and also - the mild wet winter. I've noticed that the hostas in pots of any kind have had very little damage - I use grit round them, nothing else  - but the ones I put in the ground were decimated, even the tougher ones which are usually pretty slug/snail resistant. From now on, I'll mainly keep mine in pots - at least till there's a better balance of nature here- can't do anything about the weather conditions!

Get a pond and some frogs and let nature do it's thing. My hostas look great most of the year as the frogs see off any slugs that get through.
Build a good ecosystem is all that's needed. Encourage birds and insects too.

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BizzieB

Slugs love flowers ESP when they get wet or start to go over.  None of my hostas look  worse for wear yet.  However, come September they are ready to die down.  

couple of my hostas.  this is fire and ice


 

hosta with imperata


 

red baron

part of my pot display...begonia firecracker alongside


 

 Beautiful, healthy hostas Verdun.   I take it they will be  as good again next year?

 

Esspee, I have revised my plan: to trimming off the worst leaves,  replaced top inch of soil, given a feed (gen fertiliser), gravel on top and sheltered from wind. Decided to let it die down naturally.