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What Is Eating My Hostas?

For decades hosta has remained one of the favorites among garden plants. Unfortunately, this beautiful plant has many natural enemies who just want to eat all 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

What Is Eating My Hostas

Snails damage hosta leaves

When it’s hot and humid for hosta owners, a new problem comes – snails and slugs. If the spring is warm enough, young leaves can be eaten almost completely by these pests.

In the rainy summer, snails multiply so much that it becomes more difficult to control them. I used to try to collect them by hand, and also poured broken glass and eggshells under hosta bushes. However, with experience, I have come to the conclusion that this is all 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 snail population is reduced. There are also hosta varieties with thick leaves that these pests cannot eat.

Control

The most effective remedy against this pest is Iron Phosphate. It is produced in granules. You need to pour a small number of pellets under each plant, then from time to time, pour new portions, and that’s it.

Beer traps should be noted here; I had used them before and even achieved some success. However, they have some drawbacks, first of all, the smell of beer and its price. The second e drawback is that the traps need to be continuously cleared of dead snails and this is not a very pleasant job.

Read more: How to get rid of Slugs on Hostas?

Deer

What Is Eating My Hostas

Hosta leaves are damaged by deer

Deer is another challenge for those who love hostas. The numbers of these animals have been increasing rapidly lately, and in the search for food, they have come ever closer to human homes.

As you can see from the image above, deer can destroy all leaves of the hosta in minutes. Therefore, if you are in the suburbs, then this problem will come to your home for sure.

The plants damaged by these animals will not perish but will lag far behind in growth. Also, during the rest of the season, you will not admire your plants but will see them only next year.

Control

It is challenging to deal with this pest. People have come up with many smart ways to keep deer away from their gardens.

Most gardeners agree that a good fence is the best way to securely protect your plants. However, this is not a cheap treat, especially if your yard is large enough. So, if you have the opportunity, fence your garden, and this problem can be forgotten forever.

Dogs will also be effective against uninvited guests. The dog has been protecting human lands for centuries, and now it will also help keep these animals away.

A popular method is to create homemade repellents. There are many different recipes for their preparation, and they are all quite effective. You can even buy garlic-based repellents online.

However, they have one drawback, during rain, the repellent is washed away and must be reapplied. The advantage is cheap and easy to prepare.

Another thing to say is water fencing. It is equipped with motion sensors, and when the deer is approaching, it spills a stream of water. The effectiveness of this method is questionable. Many claims that the deer after a while cease to be afraid of the water stream. Besides, it’s not a cheap toy.

Read more: Do Deer Eat Hostas?

Rabbits

What Is Eating My Hostas

Hosta leaves damaged by rabbits

As you can see from the picture above, rabbits also enjoy eating hostas. I have a fence in my yard, and I have no problem with them. However, there is a lot of information on the Internet 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 only eat the soft young leaves. After damage, the plant is likely to recover, but its appearance will not be the best.

Control

Rabbits are large enough animals, and you can use a fence to protect your hostas from them. I wrote about the pros and cons of this method above.

The next thing you can do is set live traps. This is a pretty effective way.

The last most convenient and inexpensive way to keep rabbits out of your garden is to use Moth Flakes.

Chipmunks

What Is Eating My Hostas

Hosta leaves damaged by chipmunks

Chipmunks enjoy eating hosta leaves. In the picture above, you can see the results of their work. However, that does not mean that they will necessarily eat your hostas. Some gardeners claim that chipmunks do not bother them.

But if you live in the suburbs, you need to be prepared to fight this pest.

Control

Since these animals are small, the fence will not help here. The best way to keep them away is to put Moth Balls under the bushes. Chipmunks don’t like the smell and avoid it.

You can also sprinkle pepper powder around the plants, and this will also help. 

Voles

what eats hostas

The rhizome of hosta are damaged by voles

One of the biggest threats not only to hosta but also to all the ornamental plants is the voles. These pests can destroy all the plants on the flowerbed in a short period of time. Most often, it happens in winter when there is a shortage of food.

Voles eat mostly plant roots. The photo above shows a hole in the rhizome. It happened in the winter, and damage became noticeable in the spring. In fact, these pests can do much more damage.

I do not recommend waiting for this to happen to you. If you have the slightest suspicion of voles, you need to protect your plants right away.

Control

There are many different ways to control these pests. We will not consider traps and poisons as these are dangerous remedies.

Castor Oil works best against voles. It is not expensive and affordable. The benefits include non-toxicity.

Protection is best done in two stages. First is watering all the 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 there and mix well. Pour a generous portion of this solution under each bush.

At the end of autumn comes the second stage. You need Castor Oil Pellets for this. Sprinkle one tablespoon of pellets around each bush. This will protect the plants during the winter.

All these measures should help in the fight against voles. If they continue to bother you, repeat step one.

Read more: Do Groundhogs Eat Hostas?

Insects

what eats hostas

Insects are a severe threat to hostas. They can damage the plant so severely that the hosta may die. If there are signs of insect damage, you must act rigidly without any hesitation.

First, let’s find out what insects like to eat hosta. Less harmful include mealybugs, boxelder bugs, whitefly, and aphids. These pests do not eat the leaves but only pierce the tissues of the plant and feed on its juices. Getting rid of this scourge is easy enough, spray the plants with Neem Oil.

Now it’s the turn of insects that can cause significant damage to your hostas. Black vine weevil eats hostas leaves on edge. Once this insect has eaten your plants, hosta leaves look like maple leaves.

The other strong pest is the grasshopper, and it is also often fed by hostas. It is harder to deal with than others.

Control

Most insects can be kept away from the hosta by Neem Oil. Dilute a teaspoon of soap in a gallon of water and 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 with a higher concentration of Neem Oil.

The disadvantage of this method does not have a very pleasant smell, and not all insects can be defeated. I prefer broad-spectrum insecticides that can be used to control most insects easily.

There are many high-quality insecticides on the market. All you need to do is dissolve it in water and apply it to plants. One or two sprays should be enough for the whole season. When working, use personal protective equipment!

Read more: How to Protect Hosta Plants From Bugs? 

Cutworms

how to stop hostas being eaten

Cutworms

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.

Control

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

how to stop hostas being eaten

Nematodes

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.

Control

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.