Holes In Hosta Leaves-It Might Not Be Who You Think!


So, you walk by your prized Hosta one afternoon on a stroll and it looks like this:
Hosta "Guacamole" with damage
or this:
Hosta "Lakeside Shore Master" with damage
or this:
Hosta "Journey's End" with damage
Your first thought is probably to go and grab the beer, eggshells or the copper banding. To be honest, these things might not work. The damage in the pictures above is not from the infamous slug but from another enemy of the gardener-the cutworm. At this time of year (late Spring) cutworms are usually the culprits in my garden.
So, you ask, how do you tell the difference. Well, it seems that cutworms make larger "neater" holes. Here are some examples
cutworm damage
cutworm damage
cutworm damage
Slugs, on the other hand, are "messier" if that makes any sense. Since I apparently don't have any slug damage at this time I found this photo online of an example:
slug damage
If you still don't know which you have you can go out at night with a flashlight and look for the culprit(s). Both slugs and cutworms like to feed at night. You can also look for cutworms during the day. Here is how I do it:
Find a Hosta that is being attacked.
Hosta "Journey's End"
Gently pull back the mulch from around the Hosta
Look carefully around the Hosta, I found this cutworm at the base of the stems on this Hosta
cutworm
Can you spot the cutworm in the photo below?
Now all you need to do is squish it. No chemicals needed:-)) Seriously, finding them and squishing them has been the best and easiest way I have found to control them. If you catch them early enough you won't have significant damage to your Hosta.
Here is a cutworm I found near my Hosta "Guacamole"
Did you notice how far away from the Hosta this one was? You have to make sure to check the whole area surrounding the Hosta-they can be anywhere around it. I usually will only find one cutworm in an area, but I usually check the entire area just in case.
So, the next time you have holes in your Hosta don't blame the slug, you could have a different enemy:-))
Stop by my blog for tips and gardening ideas!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 13 questions
  • Twilla Cummings-King
    Twilla Cummings-King
    on Jun 26, 2017

    What can you do to stop deer from eating them??
    • Paula
      Paula
      on May 12, 2020

      Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent. Comes concentrated and lasts forever. All the other stuff I've tried didn't help at all. You do have do get used to the smell, which fades quickly. Love the stuff. Directions are to spray daily for a week if you have a lot of rain. Then once a week, which trains the animals to avoid the plants. I have a LOT of hosta.

  • Albertmay
    Albertmay
    on Jul 15, 2017

    I have newly planted petunias in the front of my hosta bed that are being destroyed by something. Safer's hasn't worked. Could this be cutworms?
  • Millie
    Millie
    on Mar 4, 2019

    Can u grow Hosts in the house and do they need a lot of sun or could they live in a basement apartment.

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