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I griow around 65 different hostas in pots, and have done for around 15 years. I nearly gave up around 6 years ago, the slug and snail problems being virtually overwhelming. I tried it all, hair, egg shells, garlic, porrige oats etc. et. ad nauseaum. Then I discovered copper tape, now each pot has its own collar of copper, and that has done the trick. I have a three tiered display, like a very large auricular theratre, and the edges of that are also trimmed with copper tape. There will always be the odd clever slug that walks up the wall and drops into the pots, but on the whole the collectiion is doing very well. I also bury odd bits of copper tubing (from a friendly plumber) around the stems of plants that are devoured by slugs, e.g delphiniums, and that has helped enormously tool. Apparently they get a small static shock from the copper and will not cross it. It was quite expensive to do at first because I had to do the whole lot at once, but now just as any new pot arrives. Do try it, it really does work.
Ferrous pellets work somewhat, but are very dangerous for children, as an overdose of iron can be lethal. They do not harm birds and other mammals as far as I know. Use them very sparingly and where they cannot be seen by small people. The other kind should be abolished at once I agree. We have no children coming to our garden so I can, and occasionally do, use these here.
i use copper tape around pots too and put copper pipe around a friends old fashioned violet and all effective.
what are your favourite hostas?
and growing? plenty of moisture? feed? shade or sun? i recently decided to top dress with a mixture of dried manaure and compost at this time of the year...good practice?
i also find they grow well equally in the sun with the exception of a variety called fire and Ice which likes shade
Hi Verdun, the hostas tend to get both sun and shade as the theatre is near the house wall - so far they all thrive on it. You are right that the ones with pale variegations such as Fire and Ice and Patriot like a bit more shade than say Devon Green, which has to be one of my favourites. I think, as the dear late wonderful Christopher Lloyd said when asked what his favourite flower was 'fthe one I am looking at at the moment!'. I love all my hostas, both the huge such as Blue Angel and the tiny such as Mouse Ears - I dare not buy any more or we might have to move!! I no longer definitely know the names of all of mine as the labels have, with the help of blackbirds - disappeared over the years. What is it with blackbirds and labels?
Mine only get fed once a year when the whole garden gets a dose of pelleted organic chicken manure. They rely for the most part on rainfall for watering, though there has been the odd accasion when I have had to help that out - tho' not recently. All are top dressed with gravel, mostly because it looks nice and makes it easier to get the weeds out. Otherwise they are left alone, repotted when their pots break, either through frost or sheer root pressure. I just admire them often and leave them to get on with it - and they do.
I recently checked out a few blue hostas but its difficult to judge. I considered mouse ears. is halcyon still the best blue or can you suggest a better variety?
and the variety....is it white wonder? which has almost entirely white leaves. do you know of it...any thoughts?
Hi Verdun, I saw a White Wonder the other day and it was definitel weird! Quite eye-catching though.
Mouse ears is so sweet - was considering that one maybe for next year as I have way too much stuff this year
Halcyon is a lovely blue hosta - real steely blue, if you know what I mean, but I also love this one:
which is very blue as well.
I have Sum and Substance, mainly because snails leave well alone and it's in the ground, as well as a large blue Halcyon (not as resistant) and 2 smaller bluish ones whose names I forget...
i have just got my plants for a shady bit of my garden one plant was a hosta
'Fire and Ice' and is really lovely cant wate for it to get bigger.P.S slug pellets are gone of plant lol
I wish I were rich enough to use slug pellets with such abandon. You are only supposed to sprinkle them sparingly. With inches between each one.
If you use pellets thickly they actually encourage more slugs - more come for the free goodies, but none get enough to actually kill them, so you end up in a worse state than before. As welshonion says, use sparingly, and use the iron based ones, called growing success, they are as good as the others at killling slugs, but harm no other wild life. Better yet, put a collar of copper arpund you lovely Fire and Ice hosta, they hate that. I have that hosta, it does not get enormous but does thicken up - it is lovely now.
Hi Katy - after battling the slug for ages, I decided to only get hostas which are mollusc resistant (yes, they do exist!) when I buy new hostas. Such as Sum and Substance - any hosta with very thick, corrugated, almost rubbery leaves are usually tougher than fine leaved, tender varieties which moluscs love to munch on.
Agree with the slug pellet debate - I hate the stuff and this year have cut out all pesticides from my garden as I want to help the bees as much as I can.
This means finding organic alternatives - copper tape I've never tried, as my hostas are mainly in the ground. What worked very well was watering the ground with slug nematodes (microscopic worms) which parasitise the slugs and destroy the, I haven't a slug in sight now since beginning of April. The downside is that to be rally effective it has to be done ideally Spring and then again in Autumn, as once the slugs have been killed off, the nematodes run out of food and die off themselves. Best to do a dose before the Winter too so they don't get a foothold then either. Soil has to be a certain night time temperature for nematodes though and be aware that they have a short shelf life of only a fortnight or so in which they have to be used - I but mine (called Nemaslug) online from Amazon as it's the cheapest I've found.
Slugs bury in the ground and come up at night, which is why the nematodes work so well on them.
Snails are another matter! I use the smallest amount of ferrous pellets I can get away with to control them. Any really tender hosta goes in a pot and generally raised off the ground as much as possible.
Hope this helps.
Which types do you have?
Agree with keeping tender hostas in pots, in fact all of mine are in pots. Each pot has a collar of copper tape around it. Sometimes slugs will climb up the wall and drop into pots, or the leaves drape over the sides so they get up those, but on the whole it has reduced the problems to manageable size. The copper gives out a tiny electrical charge which they will not cross - I have the idea it works for snails too as they are soft bodied underneath so I assume they would get shocked too.
The very big disgusting slugs are in fact our friends, they live on small slugs, the little ones that hide under ground, and which devastate our plants. So although they may look awful, they are not the ones you need to get rid of to protect your hostas.
Bought some copper tape recently and managed to do four pots (of varying sizes) and it really does work. I've now run out, so need to buy more to protect echinacea and achillea in the ground from the slugs and snails. At the moment I've got them cloched, my idea is cut up yoghurt pots, pop copper tape around and then put it around the plants. I'll let you know how it works. Just wish it wasn't so expensive!
Yes it is pricey, but rremember what you have paid for your plants, and it does last for ages. If you know a friendly plumber, ask if he/she will give you some of the little scraps of copper pipe they cut off fittings - it's mostly plastic these days I know, but some copper is still used. I put these on the ground around delicate plants, and this seems to help. I am toying with a way of fitting the copper better around the ground plants, maybe on short bit of bamboo or so - must be possible.
Briiliant ideas Bookertoo and Daisy - had wondered how to use copper for plants in the ground!
It really annoys me though that anything eco or organic or non toxic (eg nematodes, copper tape etc) always has to cost a whole fortune more than pesticides - doesn't exactly help nor encourage gardeners in this direction
hi all update on my hosta now in flower
My hostas are a few years old now and I have managed to divide some for sharing.This year (2013) got about 4 different hostas and they flowered properly for the first time.
Does anyone take seed from thier hostas?, if so would you be interested in helping with my seed swap thread?.
One clove of garlic in onelitre water, simmer,half an hour. Strain into a plactic bottle LABEL and keep in fridge. Dilute one Tbls into one litre of water and spray the hostas fortnightly. Works on most of mine but a couple of varieties seem to be nibbled a bit. I also sprinkle a little ring of cinders/ashes around the plants, it helps.