Last updated on March 20th, 2022
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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 also 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 being said, there are some ways to stop the slugs as soon as you see holes in your Hosta leaves, these are the quintessential indicator of a slug problem, however, it’s better to stop them before they cause any damage.
Protecting Hostas from slugs and snails
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 like slug traps you can fill with beer, copper tape you can wrap 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.
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 thought to kill them. There are plenty of slug eliminator products that you can purchase from your local garden centre if you don’t drink coffee. To be fair we have not tried this and opinions on this is mixed, although if you have coffee granules at home it can’t hurt to try.
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, 3-4cm deep and bury it in the ground next to your Hostas, and then 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 below, which is available from Amazon.co.uk here.
Encourage birds into your garden
You can also keep a birdhouse nearby. By focusing on attracting more birds into your garden, you will provide the birds with some nourishment, and there are plenty of birds who love to eat slugs, meaning you can increase the number of birds who come to your garden while simultaneously getting rid of your slug problem.
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 leftovers around your Hostas. 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 plants alone.
Use copper tape around pots or copper rings on the ground
You can buy self-adhesive copper tape that you stick around the top of pots. The slugs will get an electric shock from the copper tape so will not pass over it.
The same happens with copper rings but these are best placed around Hostas just as they begin to shoot from the ground.
Mulch with a layer of horticultural grit
This is best done when you have Hostas planted in pots, if you scatter a layer of grit you will find that most slugs do not like to sliver over the grit because 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. 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 that you might not have considered. After all, most people have tried slug pellets, and they aren’t always that good for local wildlife.