Elissa L
Elissa L
  • Hometalker
  • Silver Spring, MD
Asked on Jul 27, 2013

Shrinking hostas

Elissa LCatherine SmithThe Garden Frog with C Renee
+6

Answered

I once had many large hostas around my property but most now have shrunk to a tiny size or disappeared altogether. Most were just dark green, but even some variegated varieties have met the same fate. Deer used to get to them but they would come back as strong as ever. No signs of slugs or holes in leaves -- just shrinkage and a disappearing act. Has anyone else encountered this problem? Any ideas about causes and solutions? I love hostas and am sad to see them go.
9 answers
  • Sounds as if voles have eaten them. I have a mole and vole problem and one day the hosta will be there and the next GONE! You need to check where the hosta was for a hole. voles run in mole runs. voles love roots of hostas and other plants. I have lost shrubs to these darn critters. Hosta can be saved if you have any part of the root stalk left. I have saved many hosta from the wrath of the vole.

  • Elissa L
    on Jul 28, 2013

    Thank you! I will check this out and see what I can save. I know that we do have voles around the property.

  • Catherine Smith
    on Jul 28, 2013

    You also probably have or did have moles. You might want to consider treating your area for grubs (mole food) to get rid of them. And you can soak your ground with castor oil for the voles. Evidently they are as fond of the taste as the rest of us. My DILs mother used this with great success to get rid of the voles eating her hostas.

  • Elissa L
    on Jul 28, 2013

    Thank you! Sounds like a good method to try.

  • Yes Catherine using castor oil is what is in the products sold at stores (Mole repellents). I would put one jar in a 5 gallon bucket of water. or better yet, if you have a hose sprayer for fertilizer put the castor oil in there. It works!

  • Catherine Smith
    on Jul 29, 2013

    Well, since I'm into garden on the cheap, I'd just buy a couple of bottles from the local drugstore, you can dilute with water or pour it on straight. LOL

  • Elissa L
    on Jul 29, 2013

    Thanks, all. Any idea whether castor oil (straight or diluted) will cause any unforseen problems for other animals or for plants? Just want to be sure I won't create new problems while tackling this challenge. I think I'll dilute it, though.

  • Catherine Smith
    on Jul 30, 2013

    No, it's non-toxic as far as harming other plants or animals. Other than the taste, which isn't toxic, but is vile enough to make you think it could be. LOL

  • Elissa L
    on Jul 30, 2013

    Great, thanks! :-)

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