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How To Get Rid Of Slugs On Hostas?

Slugs like to eat hostas very much. Sometimes they can eat almost an entire leaf, but they usually leave holes behind.

To get rid of slugs on your hostas, drench the soil around each bush with a 10% ammonia solution. Then put some iron phosphate pellets near each hosta. These two methods will kill most slugs and their eggs in your garden.

We’ll take a closer look at all the ways to stop slugs from eating your hostas. You will also learn about how to get rid of these pests naturally.

slugs eating hostas

Use Ammonia

The first thing you need to use in slug control is ammonia. It can dissolve the soft tissue of slugs in minutes.

However, it is best for destroying slug eggs that are near the hosta. The fact is that ammonia has an immediate effect and after a few minutes it evaporates. Once it has evaporated, it has no effect on the slugs.

Soaking the ground around the hosta will kill the eggs and the slugs that are hiding there. This will greatly reduce their abundance in your garden.

Dilute 1 part ammonia with 10 parts water. Drench the ground around the hostas and in shady, damp places in your garden.

Avoid using ammonia that has not been diluted in water. If pure ammonia gets on the leaves or petioles, it can burn them.

Use Iron Phosphate pellets

Next, you need to use organic bait for those slugs that are hiding in different places in your yard. Usually, they appear at night and it is not possible to kill them with an ammonia solution.

The best organic bait for slugs is iron phosphate. As the name suggests, this product contains phosphorus and iron, i.e. two absolutely non-toxic elements. Moreover, both phosphorus and iron are used as plant fertilizers.

There are many commercial products on the market that contain iron phosphate and are designed for slug control. Choose the one with the most positive reviews.

Put a few pellets under each bush. When the slugs come in contact with the pellets they will die. This product is absolutely safe for other living creatures.

With the ammonia solution you will kill the slug eggs and with the pellets the slugs themselves. Using these two products in the combination you can almost completely banish this pest from your garden.

How To Get Rid Of Slugs On Hostas

Clean up plant debris

Good garden hygiene helps to reduce the number of slugs. Always remove hosta leaves and petioles after they have fallen to the ground.

Also, clean up any other plant debris in the garden. Do not let them rot as not only slugs but also other pests or even diseases can multiply in this environment.

Avoid mulching your hostas with material that can rot. For example, you should not mulch grass clippings, old leaves or anything like that.

Use pine bark nuggets or compost instead. Renew the mulch once a year in early spring. Use a layer of mulch that is not too thick. A mulch thickness of 2 to 3 inches is adequate.

Water the hostas properly

The more humid it is around, the better the slugs feel. Therefore, you need to make the area around the hostas less humid and thus reduce the slug activity.

To achieve this, water the hostas only in the morning. During the day, the ground will dry out and it will be much harder for the slugs to move around. Slugs are usually most active at night.

Also, the drier the environment, the less the slugs will reproduce. These results can be achieved by using drip irrigation instead of overhead irrigation.

By watering the garden with sprinklers you make it wet in all corners and on all levels. If you water with a drip line, only part of the soil under the bush will be wet. The hosta itself and all the objects in the garden will remain dry, making life difficult for the slugs.

How do you get rid of slugs on hostas naturally?

There are also natural ways to control slugs. However, they are not as effective as those described above.

Nevertheless, you can use them as an addition to the other methods. This can give you almost 100% results.


The first natural remedy you can use against slugs is eggshells. Just scatter the eggshells around the hosta and it will be harder for these pests to get to the shrub.

Large amounts of eggshells accumulate quite quickly in the household. You shouldn’t throw it away, but make the benefit of it. However, don’t expect the eggshells to do the job by themselves.


The barrier is effective if you are growing hostas in pots. In any other case, the effectiveness will be low or you will not be able to create a barrier at all.

The first thing you can use is copper tape. Slugs in contact with this material feel uncomfortable and will not move on.

The second thing that also works well is vaseline. Put a 1-inch strip of vaseline on the outside of the pot. The slugs will not move through this barrier. However, you will have to renew it from time to time.

Picking snails

Collecting slugs may seem like a futile endeavor because of the large number of them. However, by collecting or destroying some of these pests, you can reduce their reproduction rate.

Slugs and snails are most active after rain or in the evening and at night. This is the best time to collect and destroy them.

In conjunction with other means, collecting can bring excellent results.

Will coffee grounds keep slugs away from hostas?

Coffee grounds are not capable of keeping slugs away from the hosta. In fact, this substance is not aggressive, but only has a specific smell. It is not enough to make the slugs avoid places where coffee grounds are scattered.

You can find results of experiments on the net which confirm the uselessness of the coffee grounds against snails.

Alternatively, put coffee grounds near the hostas and wait a week or two. It is almost certain that new holes will appear on the leaves.

Garlic spray for slugs on hostas

Garlic spray has a pungent odor and is mainly designed to control bugs. However, it can at the same time irritate the surface of slugs.

As a result, slugs will probably avoid contact with leaves treated with garlic spray. To get any effect at all, you need to spray the hostas quite often. Otherwise, rain or dew will wash the treatment away.

Also, it is unlikely that you can protect hostas with garlic spray alone. You will have to use additional control agents.

Will hostas recover from slug damage?

Hosta will recover from slug damage if you take proper care of it. The recovery time will depend on how extensive the damage was.

If the hostas were damaged early in the season, they will recover in a month. But if the damage was done in the second half of the season, it won’t be fully recovered until the following year.

In any case, the holes in the leaves will remain until the end of the season. If a leaf is very badly eaten, tear it off to make room for new ones.