Asked on May 23, 2014

Holes in my hostas

Jayme Renee
by Jayme Renee
2 years ago I moved and split these hostas. They were on the side of my garage which only gets morning sun. I moved them to the front of my house that gets morning and afternoon sun. The first year they grew like this and now this year they look the same. Lots of holes and they never really got very big after transplant, compared to how HUGE they were when I split them. Is this b/c of the new area they are in? Too much sun? Do they need more water? Do i need more patience? haha .. Any suggestions?
Hosta one
This is a hosta next to the new ones. Doin great! But a little wrinkly looking.
  60 answers
  • Leslie Long Leslie Long on May 23, 2014
    There are a few varieties of Hosta that can survive in full sun (one is created just for FL sun)....but most do better in part shade. The variegated one you have is light colored with white veins and I would think it would require more shade than sun....perhaps a morning sun location would be better? The new ones look good now but may have a problem later on. Regarding the holes, they appear to be bugs snacking on them. My first choice is NEEM oil, which is a 3-in-1 Insecticide/Miticide/Fungicide and is organic and won't kill the beneficial insects like bees, ladybugs, etc. Good luck and happy gardening :)
  • Wolfe Art Wolfe Art on May 23, 2014
    Slugs could be the problem, too. Unfortunately, they love hostas.
    • See 3 previous
    • Janie Stewart Brewer Janie Stewart Brewer on Oct 05, 2017

      My hosta will get the same holes and you are right, it's slugs! I put old coffee grounds around the plant. The slugs will not cross plus it's great fertilizer.

  • Jayme Renee Jayme Renee on May 23, 2014
    Would they eat just the couple or would all of them have holes b/c of slugs/insects? So would your opinion for holes be based on feeding animals and not so much on the sun/shade or water issue? Thanks!!
    • See 1 previous
    • Leslie Long Leslie Long on May 23, 2014
      @Jayme Renee I agree....slugs probably and the fact that it is only one or two plants sort of confirms it. They don't travel fast or far so it doesn't surprise me that some plants are unaffected. I do still believe they are getting too much sun and need to be moved to a "part sun" or shade area. Now for the slugs: they sell traps that you bury at ground level and I have used them before with a mixture of beer and salt.......this does work. They also sell a slug and snail bait at Home Depot but I always worry that pets will eat it. Good luck and happy gardening!
  • Suzie Suzie on May 23, 2014
    Slugs for sure :(
  • Pam Knight-Brown Pam Knight-Brown on May 23, 2014
    Slugs and snails, that's why I potted mine and put them up on my balcony. Partial shade is best too.
  • The hostas are getting too much sun. It is funny but if they get too much sun they will not grow as fast and they may look very light in color. the variegated one could easily be divided and it can tolerate some afternoon sun but not more than a couple hours. the first hosta is definitely a shade loving hosta. As everyone has posted, slugs do cause a lot of damage to hostas and you could use many different tricks to keep them at bay-beer bait, copper, etc. I have hosta everywhere and many are in pots too. I would move the hosta back where they were and if your heart is set on hosta then look for sun loving varieties. Good luck and happy gardening
  • MikkiGirl MikkiGirl on May 23, 2014
    The holes in the leaves are caused by slugs, but they don't affect the growth, which is probably too much sun. I read last fall to put beer under the hostas to keep slugs away, which I'm planning to try this year. Most hostas require partial to full shade.
  • Carol Claremont Carol Claremont on May 23, 2014
    They are probably getting way too much sun. Slugs are probably causing the holes - you might be able to see them really early in the AM of early evening. They are my least favorite thing in the garden. There is something called Sluggo - at Home Depot and probably Lowe's - you sprinkle it around. I had some luck with the beer thing.
  • Judy Zofchak Judy Zofchak on May 23, 2014
    Put some beer in jar lids and place them in your garden near your Hostas at night. You will see dead slugs in the lids in the morning,
  • Colleen Colleen on May 23, 2014
    I too had problems with slugs. I ground some coffee beans and sprinkled the ground around the hostas, then no more slugs (I guess they can't hold their caffine).
  • Rhonda B Rhonda B on May 23, 2014
    It looks to me like they were damaged when they were emerging, possibly by either cold or getting stepped on. Another note: Hostas in colder zones can tolerate more sun than those in Southern areas if you provide them with plenty of water they should thrive. Some Hosta experts contend that Hostas are "shade tolerant not shade dependent".
  • Donna W Donna W on May 23, 2014
    hi, it looks like your issue is definitely slugs and I have a simple and safe way to get rid of them. Get a very shallow pan or jar lid and put in level with the ground near the hosta's... fill the pan with the cheapest beer you can find.... yep beer..... the slugs will get in their and the party is over. My friend didn't believe me until I proved it.... you will be shocked how many slugs will get in the pans. won't hurt anything and the slugs also love the bark .... unfortunately because its stays damp and cool. But the beer trick really does work! Good luck, hey, it's worth a try! It worked wonders for me, always has.
    • Lynn Lawson Lynn Lawson on May 24, 2014
      @Donna W And if by chance you don't kill the slugs, just drink the rest of the beer and you won't care if there are holes or not! :) J/K.. this beer trick works.
  • Jacie1948 Jacie1948 on May 23, 2014
    it is slugs alright. I went through this the last 3 years. I cut back all my hostas then planted most o them into planters covered them over the winter. I treated the soil for 2 years with lime and last year is the first year I planted back in that garden area. I still had some slug showing up so had to finally resort to a toxic chemical in the soil which I did not want to do. This year I have a couple hostas starting to peak up from the soil. (live close to canada) so growing time up here is very short.I have tried the beer, the eggs, the pinecones, lime, baking soda, wood chips and nothing has worked with the slugs. Gotta treat the lawn all around the hostas also to get rid of them I found out. Good luck.
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on May 23, 2014
  • Bonnie Powers Stopa Bonnie Powers Stopa on May 23, 2014
    Hostas are very hearty plants. More than likely you've got slugs eating them. You can use crushed egg shells or the safest product for slugs is diatomaceous earth, an abrasive powder that is too sharp for their tender bodies. Sprinkle it on the ground around your hostas and the damage will end immediately. Be careful not to inhale--or let your pets inhale--the diatomaceous earth. Good luck!
  • Terea H Terea H on May 23, 2014
  • Deborah Phillips Deborah Phillips on May 24, 2014
    If it is slugs, who love hostas, then surround them with crushed eggs shells like Bonnie suggested or surround them with these gumballs as I did! Whichever is more convenient. Gumballs seem to be everywhere . . . FOR FREE!!! Good luck!
  • Sheri Carter Sheri Carter on May 24, 2014
    I noticed that most people agree that slug damage is the cause of the holes in the foliage. It looks more to me like they could have been stepped on as they were emerging. They are very sensitive to damage at this stage. On one of the other pictures, some of the holes look like possible hail holes. We see this in a variety of plants as we have late spring hail storms in the Seattle area. As for the slightly stunted growth, any perennial will be a little slower the spring after division due to the reduction in roots (stored energy). If it really bothers you, cut off the most damaged leaves, feed your hostas a good organic or slow release plant food, and water well. Most of my hostas are in at least 8 hours of sun per day and with adequate water, they thrive. Hope this helps! :)
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on May 24, 2014
    I can't help with the problem, but thank you all for the hint about gum balls....we have plenty! HA!
  • Mary Blatnik-Smith Mary Blatnik-Smith on May 25, 2014
    If your getting slugs try some crushed eggshells around plants
  • Debbie Coleman Debbie Coleman on May 25, 2014
    I save my eggshells all winter and then crush and sprinkle them around my hostas in the spring. I never get a hole. The eggshells slice those little buggers up.
  • Peggy M Peggy M on May 25, 2014
    Way too much sun
  • Donna Brooks Donna Brooks on May 25, 2014
    place crushed oyster shells or crushed egg shells around the hostas to keep slugs away.
  • Tracy Gilmore Tracy Gilmore on May 25, 2014
    slugs love hostas and hostas love shade, the more the better, i gave up growing hostas as soon as they emerged the slugs got them, beer, eggs, copper tape and even putting green veg out didnt work here
  • Hostas love shade- they don't do as well in the sun.
  • Karin Graham Karin Graham on May 25, 2014
  • Karin Graham Karin Graham on May 25, 2014
    when I get holes in mine I can see Slugs they love Hostas and shade and damp places Eggshells are good or a saucer of beer too
  • I am having the same issue and spotted a large slug the other day. When I was a little girl I was fascinated (and disgusted!) by my grandmother's method at capturing and ridding the garden of slugs. It was beer. She would put out a disposable aluminum pie pan and pour in about an inch of beer. The next morning the pan would be full of slugs. The biggest slugs I've ever seen! I'm thinking I'll give this a try. Keeping the eggshell remedy in mind too. If the beer doesn't work, at least I've taken a (slimy!) walk down memory lane :)
    • See 1 previous
    • Meem Kaplan Meem Kaplan on May 25, 2014
      Also, slugs love to hide in bark, under plant pots, under rocks, and inbetween all of the above and more.... Oh, and I use cat food tins for my beer in the garden.
  • Mila S Mila S on May 25, 2014
    Thx for the advice about the egg shells & beer.
  • Zkkeohs Zkkeohs on May 25, 2014
    not all hostas need shade or sun. each species has its own requirement. go to a nursery with one of your leaves to identify your species if you are uncertain. then you will know for certain if yours is sun, shade or semi-shade. after transplanting, hostas take time to start growing again. it puts them into shock which can take a year or two. your holes are definitely slugs.
  • Bernice H Bernice H on May 25, 2014
    I am so sad to hear of your problem. I am a hosta addict. Thankfully I have a small yard..or I would have the thousands of varieties available!! I keep a close eye on mine for slugs...I have had very few problems, but I keep a close watch. Beer and egg shells on hand! these plants are so faithful, so loyal, and when divided, mine seem to say, ohh thank you, now I can stretch out and spread for you. I divide mine any time they need it,not concerned about time of year, I do it in the cooler part of day, plop in a bucket of water, and replant or give away. I also learned recently of an easier way to divide without digging up the whole plant! It really worked..just find a dividing point, put your spade there to cut down, then go to the front and dig up that portion. I was amazed, I didn't even get dirty. Sorry @Barb Rosen ..I know dirt is holy for some people! haha But one or 2 bend overs are all I can handle! ooohhh and it gets very hot here, we are NOT seattle weather.But shade and water, they thrive.
  • Mary M Mary M on May 25, 2014
    Thanks Ladies for answering the question regarding the holes in hostas because I also have this problem and now I know what to do. I will be saving my egg shells.
  • Sharon Harding Sharon Harding on May 25, 2014
    I also have holes in the sweet potato vine leaves that I recently planted in a concrete planter high off the front door stoop. I have not seen any slugs here in my area of northern Illinois. How do I stop the holes?
    • Rhonda B Rhonda B on May 25, 2014
      @Sharon Harding You might have Golden Tortoise Beetles attacking your Sweet Potato vine.
  • Sharon Harding Sharon Harding on May 25, 2014
    How do I stop the holes in the leaves on my sweet potato vines in my flower baskets of petunias hanging on a shepherd's hook?
  • Anne Anne on May 25, 2014
    Slugs are eating your plants. I always plant mine where they get both dun and shade and they are huge. I get many compliments on them. Good in empty yogurt or pudding cups, dig a small hole, put it in under the leaves and it will be filled with slugs the following morning...
  • Carol Harris Carol Harris on May 25, 2014
    mine get the morning sun until around 11am, they love the shade. I put pinecones around my Hostas to keep the slugs away, they want get on anything that is sharp
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on May 25, 2014
    pinecones? never heard that before but worth a try. This year I put egg shells and coffee grounds around the hostas. they look wonderful this year. One problem here, my Cairn Terrier loved eating the rotten egg shells and coffee grounds. NOT good for dogs!
  • Krazy K Krazy K on May 25, 2014
    I have problems with my hibicisus...if I don't "treat" them they come up with holes all in the leaves and start dying. The culprit is Japanese beetles. They r horrible! I use Spectracide or something like that and it works great but its not good around children or pets. U have 2 do it about every 2 wks 2 keep them away. Good luck!!!!
    • Lauren Lauren on May 26, 2014
      @Krazy K Spectracide is a broad spectrum pesticide - and it kills everything, including bees and other beneficial insects. Japanese beetles are only around for four to six weeks. Perhaps, consider the short term inconvenience of the Japanese Beetles and remember your plant will recover quickly and nicely.
  • Krazy K Krazy K on May 25, 2014
    sorry 4got something..U can also purchase something from Lowes called a Japanese Beetle bag. It attracts the beetles into the bag and away from the plant.
    • Lauren Lauren on May 26, 2014
      @Krazy K the beetle bags will attract the beetles, but you'll also pull in beetles from far and away. Consider planting native plants to your area. The beetles are chemically disposed to plants that are from their neck of the woods. The more native plants you have, the fewer options the beetles have for food, and won't eat your lovelies. Also, you might want to put in plants that the beetles will eat, at the back of your property, that the beetles will eat and stay away from your
  • Stephen&Viktoria Stephen&Viktoria on May 25, 2014
    I Spray and Combination mixed with water peppermint,rosemary cinnamon fixes the problems gets rid of the bugs ans slugs,,,But re-spray after a rain
    • Dianne Williams Dianne Williams on May 29, 2014
      @Stephen&Viktoria could you post that recipe for the hosta issues? I have the same problems :(
  • Jody Benge Jody Benge on May 25, 2014
    Will the beer work for my rosebushes?. They start out beautiful and halfway through the summer, something makes the leaves turn yellow, and they start to get holes in them. This year one of my rosebushes already has yellow leaves at the bottom, and many roses are about ready to bloom in a week or so.
  • F. Collette F. Collette on May 25, 2014
    It looks like you have slugs eating your hostas. I previously had problems with slugs until I purchased a product called Sluggo Plus! It's completely organic and after you sprinkle the granules, the slugs will disappear. Unfortunately, it's not cheap but it does work so it's worth every penny. And you don't have to use a lot of it. I will treat my yard with it in early spring. If you sprinkle it early, you will see few (if any) slugs. I usually treat the yard again in early summer or after a lot of rain. Nothing I tried worked better than this product. And it kills other pests as well. They sell it on
  • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on May 26, 2014
    slugs are making those thing i know that works for sure is a copper ring around the base of the plant..I didnt believe it but i triied it with copper wire on half of them and none on the other..the ones with the copper rings had no holes..Also crushed egg shells at the base also cuts there soft traps are an old fix but it works..i use the cups from fruit snacks or jello put them in the ground and the slugs will drown in the beer..You have to empty them though and thats kind of yuky
  • Pat Pat on May 26, 2014
    I also have a lot of hostas and I have seen bees land on the leaves and I have wondered if they are also eating on the leaves. I have seen slugs but I have some stuff from the store that will kill the slugs but will not hurt my pets. If bees are doing some damage to the leaves I don't think you would want to do anything to them.
    • Leslie Long Leslie Long on May 27, 2014
      @Pat Bees do not eat leaves so it is not the bees :) There is one type of bee (leafcutter) that will cut off pieces and use them in their nest, but they do not eat them.
  • Carol Carol on May 26, 2014
    Lee Valley Tools sells spikey copper stretch coils in their garden catalogue.
  • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on May 26, 2014
    it isnt bees..slugs are notorious for those holes on hostas..bees collect pollen and get water off of leaves but dont eat them..
  • Margaret Margaret on May 27, 2014
    they are getting to much sun hostas do not like hot afternoon sun, if it's slugs eating them you will see slime, earwigs eat hosta here is a safe home made spray. 1 cup of mouth wash 1 cup of lemon dish liquid cheap stuff, 1 cup of tobacco tea to make tobacco tea, buy tin chewing tobacco take three fingers place in an old stocking push into a gallon milk jug fill with boiling water let stand 24hrs mix all three ingredients into a hose end sprayer fill balance with water and you can spray all your plants to run off does not harm any plants not even vegs happy gardening
  • Julie Haller Julie Haller on May 27, 2014
    I have several different kinds of hosta, The ones you show in the picture are the ones i have found to be the least "Sun" tolerant. The holes may just be spots burnt by the sun & or a lack of water. My neighbor has some in a spot that gets 4-5hrs of sun & get the holes as the summer goes on. I have checked for bugs & haven't found them, I think it could be just the amount of Sun/dryness
  • Vicki Gammel Stanley Vicki Gammel Stanley on May 27, 2014
    too much sun
  • Daniel Lewis Daniel Lewis on May 27, 2014
    Put crushed eggshells around the base of the hostas. Slugs have delicate bodies and the shells are like "walking on broken glass" for them.
    • Tracey T Tracey T on Jul 09, 2014
      @Daniel Lewis That's exactly what I was going to tell her to do! I too had this problem and did just that and now I have beautiful plants!!!
  • Kathy Kathy on May 28, 2014
    Slugs is my thought. Spread a ring of coffee grounds. The slugs can't crawl over it and it will also feed your hostas.
  • F. Collette F. Collette on May 29, 2014
    I posted a link to It is sold on that website. I'm sure if you put "Sluggo Plus" into Google several retailers that sell the product will appear.
  • Ann Darnell Ann Darnell on May 29, 2014
    Those are slug that are eating the leaves. Sprinkle epsom salts around the plant, it has to be reapplied after rain or it dissolves. it is good for your plants, mine are huge this year. Read about the benefit of epsom salts. Harmless to pets too.
  • Ann Darnell Ann Darnell on May 29, 2014
    all hostas I have grown are sun lovers.
  • Julie Haller Julie Haller on May 30, 2014
    funny thing about that is they are listed as shade plants.........
    • Kathy Kathy on May 31, 2014
      @Julie Haller When you are in a northern zone hostas can handle more sun, because the angle of the sun.
  • Carol Harris Carol Harris on May 31, 2014
    where I live the summers gets very hot, they wouldn't stand a chance in the sun. Mine are big and beautiful but mostly all in the shade all day.
  • Deb Schuldt Deb Schuldt on Jun 01, 2014
    Jayme, Have you had any hail since they popped out of the ground? Kinda looks like hail damage.
  • JJ JJ on Jun 01, 2014
    Mine looked like that before I read an article to sprinkle coffee grounds around them. The slugs were eating them. You have to repeat after it rains. Put coffee grounds around your roses too.... they love it ... Mine were covered in roses this year and all I did was use coffee grounds. I'm trying it in my garden this year along with crushed egg shells..... I'll post how they turn out.........
  • Somewhat Quirky Somewhat Quirky on Jul 22, 2014
    I'm inclined to agree with @Rhonda B They look like they were damaged coming out of the soil - those tears in the edges are indicative of this. Also the wrinkled appearance. It could be that they are planted just a tad too deep. The late spring/hard ground were probably largely responsible for this. The small holes look like little bitty tiny slugs that can be on your plant by the dozens. If you check the hosta in the morning you will likely be able to find them under the leaves and in the stems. You can spray with amonia water which should kill them. I wouldn't worry about the sun thing. Most southerners don't understand about northern sun/shade issues. If they were sun scorched I would worry, but they aren't at all.
  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on May 26, 2023

    They probably have slugs eating them.