Asked on Jul 01, 2013

Slugs and Snails Eating My Hostas?

Lin R
by Lin R
Every year this happens to my Hostas. I have tried putting beer in pans and that did not help and this year I am using something called Eliminator - slug and snail killer. I have been putting it on faithfully and at first it seemed to help, but as you can see something is eating them now. Any ideas would be most appreciated.
  23 answers
  • Lin R Lin R on Jul 01, 2013
    The little gray pellets you see there is the Eliminator Slug and Snail Killer.
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Jul 02, 2013
    I think @Douglas Hunt is onto to the correct diagnosis. This does not look like insect damage. I have been seeing a lot of fungusy stuff this year due to the heavy rains we have had.
  • Lulu Miller Lulu Miller on Jul 02, 2013
    I have had an infestation of slugs this spring and summer in the Pacific NW and this is not slug damage. Slugs eat holes in the plant leaves. Good luck with finding the diagnosis.
  • Lin R Lin R on Jul 02, 2013
    Thank you all for the info. Now I have to figure out how to treat them. All these years I have been blaming it on the slugs and snails. The area is in full sun in the am, so I do believe you are right on the money Douglas about the fungus and sunscorch. I appreciate your input.
  • Mary Watson Mary Watson on Jul 03, 2013
    I had problems with snails and planted garlic around them and it seemed to help. Hope you find a solution...Hostas are so pretty!
  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim Tanya Peterson Felsheim on Jul 03, 2013
    @Douglas Hunt that was an excellent source for information for our hostas! Thank you for the share!
  • Cynthia Cynthia on Jul 04, 2013
    Doesn't look like slug damage. I'm thinking Douglas Hunt is correct.
  • Cynthia Cynthia on Jul 04, 2013
    Here are some pictures to clarify what the problem could be.
  • Erin G Erin G on Aug 30, 2013
    Yeah, slugs leave the leaves looking "Swiss Cheesed" like Cynthia's photo. I don't think you have slugs. :)
  • Deborah Farias Deborah Farias on Aug 31, 2013
    beer in a bowl in garden ,they love it and will drown in it and true it works
  • JJ JJ on Jun 01, 2014
    Sprinkle coffee grounds all around...... if it is slugs they hate coffee grounds.
  • Christine Reese Christine Reese on Jun 01, 2014
    I read that Epsom salt deter slugs
  • Charlotte Belange Charlotte Belange on Jul 22, 2014
    try putting coffee grounds around them start 1" away from stem add until even with the leaves maragolds / zinna on the outer edge they keep bugs awayChar B YELM,WA
  • Charlotte Belange Charlotte Belange on Jul 22, 2014
    I'm thinking of putting in a pot soon, I can't bend down any more with out falling, I have r/a & fibro really bad, so I have to have my grandkids help.
  • Joh2746185 Joh2746185 on May 07, 2016
    Epsom Salts also kills plants!
    • See 1 previous
    • Jan Belmont Jan Belmont on Sep 14, 2017

      Yes, I did it to my hostas and killed some and set the others back a few years. I'm a lot more judicious with that now!

  • Janise L Kasper Janise L Kasper on May 08, 2016
    Try grated up Irish Spring hand soap dropped around the stems, works really well....honest
  • Joh2746185 Joh2746185 on May 09, 2016
    Epsom salts is one of the main ingredients in my homemade weed killer, kills weeds overnight!
    • See 1 previous
    • Judy Judy on Jun 17, 2017

      l Think the problem was to mix epsom salts with water and use sparingly....too much of a good does increase magnesium in soil

  • Chris mara Chris mara on May 31, 2016
    I have not tried this yet but need to - diatomaceous earth/sand which people use for swimming pool filters. I understand that the slugs don't like maneuvering over it because it's coarse. Since slugs prefer moisture and appear at night, it's helpful not water your garden in the evening at the height of their activity. Water your garden in the morning; this allows for the soil to dry throughout the day and not attract slugs at night. Put the diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant. This will discourage slugs from climbing up into the plant to snack on it, and if they do, they will dehydrate and die quickly. Diatomaceous earth is not as effective when it's wet, so only apply on dry days and in relatively dry soil. The slugs have been consuming my lettuce and hostas since we've had such a rainy spring in Illinois! You can purchase this stuff on ebay, Amazon or at garden centers. Good luck!
  • Peggy Rickard Peggy Rickard on Sep 12, 2016
    This looks more like the hosta fungus - not slugs and snails.
  • B B on Oct 09, 2016
    I save my egg shells for organic control of Slugs. After I use the egg I microwave the shells to dry them out. When the shells are cool I put them in a large zip lock freezer bag and store under the kitchen sink. After a bunch accumulate I take a heavy object like a rolling pin or can of vegetable and roll that over the unopened bag to crush the shells. When I have Slugs coming around my plants I just get some of these crushed shell and put around my plants. Slugs do not like to get into the shells because they shells are rough and cut their sensitive bodies. The crushed shells are also good to put in the holes that you dig to plan tomatoes. The Calcium from the Shells helps to prevent "blossom end" rot, a very common disease of Tomatoes.
  • Judy Judy on Jun 17, 2017

    It is a fungal infection visit your plant store.....not hard to the rest of your plant

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Aug 02, 2020

    Hi Lin, it might sound silly but we have a few overturned flowerpots, with a stone placed under the rim to lift them up a bit, scattered around our garden. We check them every few days for snails. They like crawling inside. Grapefruit and orange halves work too. We also try watering our garden in the morning instead of the evening. Snails and slugs like moist conditions so by watering in the morning it gives the surface soil time to dry out by the evening when snails are most active.