For decades, the hosta has been one of the favorites among garden plants. Unfortunately, this beautiful plant has many natural enemies who just want to eat all of its leaves and stems.
Slugs and snails are the creatures that most often eat the hostas. To protect the hosta from being eaten by slugs and snails, use iron phosphate granules and traps. Against other pests, use fences and repellents.
I will tell you more about this in the following sections. You will also learn what other creatures eat the hosta and how to deal with them. Also, check out Tips On The Care Of Hostas.
Slugs and snails
When the weather gets hot and humid, there is a new problem for hosta owners: snails and slugs. If the spring is warm enough, young leaves can be almost completely eaten by these pests.
During rainy summers, snails multiply so quickly that it becomes increasingly difficult to control them. I used to try to collect them by hand, and I also poured eggshells under my hosta bushes. However, with an experience I have come to the conclusion that all this is a waste of time, there are more effective means, which we will talk about below.
The only thing that makes me happy is that in dry weather, the population of snails decreases. Also, there are hosta varieties with thick leaves that these pests cannot eat.
The most effective treatment against this pest is iron phosphate. It is available in pellets. You need to pour a small number of pellets under each plant, then pour new portions from time to time, and that’s it.
Beer traps should be noted here, I have used them before and even had some success. However, they have some disadvantages, first of all, the smell of beer and its price. The second disadvantage is that the traps need to be constantly cleaned of dead snails, and this is not a very pleasant job.
Read more: How to get rid of Slugs on Hostas?
Deer are another problem for those who love hostas. The numbers of these animals have been increasing rapidly recently, and they are getting closer and closer to people’s homes in search of food.
As you can see from the image above, deer can destroy all of a hosta’s leaves in a matter of minutes. So if you live in the suburbs, this problem is sure to come to your home.
Plants damaged by these animals will not die, but will be severely stunted. In addition, you will not admire your plants throughout the season, and will not see them until the following year.
Controlling this pest is not easy. People have come up with many clever ways to keep deer away from their gardens.
Most gardeners agree that a good fence is the best way to securely protect their plants. However, it’s not cheap, especially if your yard is large enough. Therefore, if you have the opportunity, fence your garden and you can forget about this problem forever.
Dogs will also be effective against uninvited guests. The dog has guarded human land for centuries, and now it will also help deter these animals.
A popular method is to make homemade repellents. There are many different recipes for making them, and they are all quite effective. You can even buy garlic-based repellents online.
However, they have one drawback: when it rains, the repellent is washed away, and you have to reapply it. The advantage is cheap and easy to prepare.
Another means is a water fence. It is equipped with motion sensors, and when a deer approaches, it spits out a jet of water. The effectiveness of this method is questionable. Many people claim that after a while the deer are no longer afraid of the water jet.
Read more: Do Deer Eat Hostas?
As you can see in the picture above, rabbits also enjoy eating hostas. I have a fence in my yard and have no problem with them. However, there is a lot of information online that rabbits often cause significant damage to hostas.
If the hosta is young and soft, these pests can eat it to the ground. If the leaves are already hardened, they will only eat the soft young leaves. Once damaged, the plant will likely recover, but its appearance will not be the best.
Rabbits are quite large animals, and you can use a fence to protect your hostas from them. I have already written about this method above.
The next thing you can do is set live traps. This is a pretty effective method.
The last most convenient and inexpensive way to keep rabbits out of your garden is to use moth flakes.
Chipmunks enjoy eating hosta leaves. In the picture above, you can see the results of their work. However, this does not mean that they will necessarily eat your hosta. Some gardeners claim that chipmunks don’t bother them.
But if you live in the suburbs, you should be prepared to deal with this pest.
Since these animals are small, a fence won’t help here. The best way to scare them off is to put moth balls under the bushes. Chipmunks don’t like the smell and avoid them.
You can also sprinkle pepper powder around the plants and that will help too.
One of the biggest threats not only to hostas, but to all ornamental plants, are voles. These pests can destroy all the plants in a flowerbed in a short time. Most often this happens in the winter when there is not enough food.
Voles feed mainly on plant roots. The photo above shows a hole in the rhizome. This occurred in the winter and the damage became visible in the spring. In fact, these pests can do much more damage.
I don’t recommend waiting for this to happen to you. If you have even the slightest suspicion of voles, you need to protect your plants immediately.
There are many different ways to control these pests. We won’t consider traps and poisons, as these are dangerous tools.
The best thing that works against voles is castor oil. It is not expensive and affordable. Advantages include non-toxicity.
Protection is best done in two stages. The first is watering all plants with an aqueous solution of castor oil. To do this, dilute 1/3 cup of dish soap in 5 gallons of water. Then add 3 cups of castor oil to it and mix well. Pour a generous portion of this solution under each bush.
In late fall comes the second step. For this you will need castor oil pellets. Spread one tablespoon of pellets around each bush. This will protect the plants over the winter.
All of these measures should help control the voles. If they continue to bother you, repeat step one.
Read more: Do Groundhogs Eat Hostas?
Insects are a serious threat to the hosta. They can damage the plant so badly that the hosta can die. If there are signs of insect damage, you must act harshly and without hesitation.
First, let’s find out which insects like to eat the hosta. Less harmful ones include mealybugs, box beetles, whiteflies, and aphids. These pests do not eat the leaves, but only pierce the plant’s tissues and feed on its juices.
Now it’s the turn of insects that can cause significant damage to hostas. The black grape weevil eats hosta leaves around the edge. When this insect eats your plants, hosta leaves will look like maple leaves.
Another strong pest is the grasshopper, and it also often eats hostas. It is more difficult to deal with than the others.
Read more: Can Sevin be used on hostas?
Most insects can be kept away from the hosta with Neem oil. Dilute a teaspoon of soap in a gallon of water, add two tablespoons of neem oil and mix everything well. Then spray the plants with a sprayer. If the insects continue to bother you, repeat the spraying with a higher concentration of Neem Oil.
There are also many high-quality insecticides on the market. All you have to do is dissolve them in water and apply them to the plants. One or two sprays should be enough for the entire season. Use personal protective equipment when working!
Read more: How to Protect Hosta Plants From Bugs?
Cutworms are moth larvae that can eat hosta leaves. They can even damage the stems of some plants. As for the hosta, this pest gnaws large holes in the leaves.
Cutworms are quite large larvae that can be seen but they usually feed at night. For this reason, it is difficult to catch them.
The most effective way to get rid of these pests is to sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth around each hosta bush. If the larva touches this stuff, it will die of dehydration.
The second effective way is to spray the leaves with an insecticide. One or two sprays at the beginning of the season will suffice.
Nematodes are also pests of hosta leaves. They are quite interesting creatures because they are microscopic worms and cannot be seen with the unaided eye.
They live inside the plant and move through the tissues. In summer, when the leaves are developing, the nematodes climb from the rhizome up the stem to the leaves. They eat the leaf from the inside, leaving dry streaks between the leaf veins.
Unfortunately, there are no effective nematode control methods. The only thing you can do is cut back the leaves and stems of the hosta in mid-August. This is when the nematodes are still in the leaf.
The cut leaves should then be thrown away from the yard or burnt. Never leave leaves to rot in the garden as nematodes will multiply next spring.
Also, do not delay cutting the leaves because the nematodes will return to the roots in the fall to overwinter.
Read more: Hosta Foliar Nematodes