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Last updated on January 21st, 2020

It is incredibly difficult to keep plants flourishing, a task made all the more difficult when you have to worry about slugs and snails. Slugs are not only annoying but they are incredibly destructive and will eat through all of your hosta leaves very quickly, within a night they can really cause significant damage. Slugs prefer damp, dark areas and they need moisture to survive so if you live in an area with a lot of rain, slugs are going to be an even bigger concern which in the Uk is probably everywhere.

Most slugs do the majority of their damage under cloud cover or at night so you might not see them until the damage is done. That said there are some ways to stop the Slugs as soon as you see holes in hosta leaves, the quintessential indicator of slug problems but it’s better to stop them before they cause any damage.

Protecting Hostas from slugs and snails

Hosta problems - leaves with holes, diseases and pests

There are a variety of methods to help protect your hostas from slugs from simply removing them by hand to investing in specially designed products such as slug traps filled with beer to copper tape wrapped around the top of pots or copper rings around the base of the plant. Below we go over some of our favourite methods to stop those slugs in their slimy tracks.

Coffee grounds

If you have coffee in the morning, sprinkle your coffee grounds around your hostas. The caffeine in the coffee grounds is thought to be deadly for Slugs so as soon as they crawl over it they will absorb the caffeine and it is though to kill them. There are plenty of slug eliminator products that you can purchase from your local garden store you don’t drink coffee. To be fair we have not tried this and options on this is mixed but if you have coffee granules it can’t hurt to try.

Beer traps

10 x Gardening beer slug and snail traps child & pet safe non toxic

Slugs love beer so beer traps are one of the most commonly used methods for stopping slugs and is very effective. They are incredibly attracted to the beer so you can take a very shallow container, 3 or 4 cm deep and bury it in the ground next to your hostas, and fill it with beer. The slugs will make their way to the Beer, fall into your container, and drown happily in their favourite drink. You can buy specially designed slug traps including the one pictured above which is available from Amazon.co.uk here.

Encourage birds into your garden

Give birds the right type of seed

You can also keep a birdhouse nearby. By focusing on attracting more birds into your garden which we talked about here, you will provide birds with some nourishment. They’re plenty of birds who love to eat slugs and you can increase the number of birds who come to your garden while simultaneously getting rid of your slug problem. 

Learn more about how to attracts birds into your garden

Scatter eggs shells to form a barrier

If you don’t want to deal with dead slugs or the thought of setting them up as bird food bothers you, there are some less permanent solutions you can employ. For starters, you can sprinkle leftover around the plants. The eggshells actually cut the skin of the slugs so as soon as they reach the perimeter of eggshells they will avoid the area leaving your plant’s alone.

Use copper tape around pots or copper rings on the ground

5mm 10mm 20mm x 25m Copper Slug Tape: Adhesive Copper Slug Snail Barrier Tape (20mm (W) x 25m (L))Slug tape available from amazon.co.uk

You can buy self-adhesive copper tape which you stick around the top of pots, the slugs will get an electric shock so will not pass over the copper tape.

Slug banned large pack of 10Copper ring bands available from Amazon.co.uk

The same happens with copper rings but these are best placed around hostas just as they start to shoot from the ground.

Mulch with a layer of horticultural grit

Westland Potting Grit, 20kg

This is best done when you have hostas planted in pots, scatter a layer of grit, most slugs do not like to sliver over grit as it is sharp. It’s also excellent for retaining moisture in the soil and surpessing weeds.

Add a ring of salt around plant

You can place a ring of salt wherever you want the slugs to avoid as this will also kill them and they will go out of their way to avoid eating your plants given what follows.

Rest assured there are plenty of options out there no matter your stomach for causing harm. You can set up preventative measures that simply deter the slugs or more permanent methods of alleviating the Slugs altogether. Don’t forget there are always slug pellets to use but we tried to give you some ideas you might not have considered. After all, most people have tried slug pellets and there not always good for local wildlife.


Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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