What Is Eating Hostas

What Is Eating Hostas? (12 Culprits and Quick Fixes!)

Slugs and Snails eat Hosta foliage. Black Vine Weevil larvae and Voles feed on Hosta roots. Pill bugs and Cutworms feed on Hostas too. Foliar nematodes are microscopic organisms that feed on the foliage and turn it yellow/brown. Animals like Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels, and Groundhogs eat Hosta.

Hosta is a genus of several plants that are grown in gardens as ornamentals. Hosta is also called Plantain lily/Funkia.

Hostas are grown for their beautiful foliage. They are shade-tolerant but require some sunlight to thrive.

Many people wonder what’s eating their Hostas. In this article, we will learn about the pests that eat Hostas and also the ways to keep them away.

Do Slugs eat Hostas?

Yes, Slugs eat Hostas. Slugs become active when temperatures exceed 50 degrees. Slugs love damp soil.

What does slug damage look like on Hostas?

Slugs are active at night and eat big, irregular holes into the foliage. Take a flashlight and go out at night to spot these pests in action.

You can pick them up by hand as soon as you see them. Throw them into a bucket of soapy water. Do this often to keep the population in control.

How do you keep Slugs and Snails away from Hostas?

There are various ways to keep slugs away from Hostas. Use natural means to eliminate them as the chemicals might harm the garden ecosystem.

  • Create a ring of vaseline around the Hosta pot and sprinkle salt onto it. Slugs won’t be able to cross this line of salt.
  • Hosta varieties like ‘Sum and Substance’ are slug-resistant as they have thicker leaves. Plant such resistant varieties.
  • Water your Hostas in the morning to let the pot dry off by night. Remember, damp surroundings attract snails.

Does Garlic stop Slugs from eating Hostas?

Yes, you can deter slugs from your plants by spraying garlic spray around them. It only works if you spray the plants often.

Add a full bulb of garlic to a liter of water and blend it well. You can use this solution to keep slugs away from Hostas.

Will coffee grounds keep slugs away from Hostas?

Yes, you can use coffee grounds to keep slugs away from Hostas. Mix coffee grounds in compost and spread a 2-inch layer around the Hosta plant.

Coffee grounds deter slugs and snails but you do need to check Hostas often for slug populations.

Hostas slugs Epsom salts

You can use Epsom salt to deter slugs from your Hostas. Create a ring around your Hosta plant with Epsom salt.

The sharp crystals of Epsom salt deter the slugs/snails from getting closer to your Hostas.

Can Hostas recover from slug damage?

Yes, Hostas can recover from slug damage. The damaged leaves will fall off and new growth will be seen after a while.

You can dig up the damaged plant and put it in a pot. Place this pot in a greenhouse and keep an eye on it for a fortnight, the plant will recover.

What is eating Hosta roots?

Black Vine Weevil larvae feed on Hosta roots. These grubs are 1/2-inch long and are white-colored with brown heads. Voles also feed on Hosta roots.

Their feeding habits turn the leaves yellow and weaken the plant as a whole.

How to get rid of grubs on Hostas?

You can control grubs biologically by introducing parasitic nematodes. Below are the instructions on how to do that.

  • Dampen the soil around the Hostas if it’s dry. Parasitic nematodes thrive in moist conditions.
  • It’s best to apply parasitic nematodes on a rainy day.
  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon of parasitic nematodes in a gallon of water to make a solution. Make sure the nematodes don’t settle at the bottom of the container.
  • Sprinkle this solution evenly around the affected Hostas. You can apply this solution to places with a grub problem.
  • Water the ground once in two days for two weeks to let the nematodes establish themselves.
  • Pick the adult Black Vine Weevils by hand and dispose of them properly.

Do Voles eat Hostas?

Yes, Voles eat the roots and the crown of Hostas. They’re the reason for the quarter-sized holes in the crown of the affected plants.

You can plant your Hostas in wire baskets to keep Voles away. Add gravel to the soil around Hostas to keep critters away. Place the Hosta pot inside another pot in the ground to keep Voles away.

Do Rolly Pollies eat Hostas?

Yes, Rolly Pollies/Pill Bugs eat Hostas. Pill bugs decimate whole plants if you don’t notice them early on.

Destroy the breeding and hiding places to keep Pill bug populations under control. Get rid of piles of mulch, grass clippings, and leaves.

How do you keep Pill Bugs from eating Hostas?

Below are a few instructions to keep Pill bugs from eating Hostas.

  • One can use Diatomaceous Earth to keep Pill Bugs away from Hostas.
  • One can also spray Neem Oil on Hostas to keep Pill bugs away.

Cutworms on Hostas

Cutworms eat large, irregular holes into the fleshy leaves of Hosta. They skip the veins, so the holes are usually surrounded by veins.

Variegated cutworms start feeding on Hostas in the early spring. They become active at night or on cloudy days.

They hide in the leaf debris, so you can get rid of the debris in the garden to keep Cutworms at bay.

How to control Cutworms on Hostas?

  • Rake around the affected plants to find the brown cutworms. They blend well with the mulch so you need to be attentive while doing this.
  • Pick them off by hand and throw them into a bucket of soapy water to control them mechanically.
  • Certain slug baits seem to work on Cutworms. Read the label carefully for the molluscicide that can control Cutworms.

Foliar Nematodes on Hostas

Foliar Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that live, feed, and reproduce in the Hosta leaves. They can’t be seen by the naked eye but appear under the microscope.

These nematodes start their journey in the soil and enter the plant via roots. The pests then travel to the leaves via the vascular system.

You can see yellow streaks/islands on the leaves in June. Such yellow spots turn brown eventually. This indicates that the parasites were feeding on the foliage.

They reproduce rapidly and feed on the leaves, eventually making them fall off. The pests proliferate in the leaf debris and attack the new growth.

Foliar Nematode control on Hostas

  • Cut off any yellow/brown colored leaves in the fall. Don’t throw these leaves into the compost bin.
  • Follow the proper cultural practices when pruning the garden plants.
  • Don’t let the leaves get wet. You can use a drip line/soaker hose to prevent this.

In my opinion, prevention is the only way in the case of Foliar nematodes. Be observant, cut off the yellow leaves, and dispose of them as soon as you notice them.

What animal is eating my Hostas?

Deer, Squirrels, Voles, Groundhogs, and Rabbits eat Hostas. Many animals are attracted to Hostas due to their fleshy leaves.

Do Deer eat Hostas plants?

Yes, deer eat Hostas. Hosta is deer’s favorite thanks to the fleshy leaves. Deer eat the foliage and cause little damage to the stems.

Hostas are frequently severely damaged by deer according to Rutgers University.

Will Hostas grow back after Deer eat them?

Yes, Hostas grow back even after getting munched by deer. Cut the plant back to the ground and you’ll see new foliage in a couple of months.

Do Squirrels eat Hosta leaves?

Yes, squirrels eat Hosta foliage. Hostas are not a favorite of squirrels but they might munch on them for the moisture.

Do Rabbits eat Hostas?

Yes, rabbits eat Hostas. They mainly feed on young Hostas and tender leaves. Rabbits would eat up the whole plant if it’s young.

These hungry critters can kill your Hosta. So, you need to be proactive in keeping them away from your Hostas.

How do I keep squirrels and rabbits from eating my hostas?

  • You can spray hot pepper spray around Hostas to keep squirrels and rabbits away.
  • You can sprinkle human hair around Hostas to keep these critters away.
  • Cut up a bar of inexpensive soap and sprinkle it around Hostas to keep rabbits away.

Do Chipmunks eat Hosta leaves?

Yes, Chipmunks eat Hosta leaves to absorb the water from the fleshy leaves. They don’t usually eat leaves for nutrition.

They do this when they can’t find any other water source. You can throw moth balls into their holes, they’ll leave the place.

Do Groundhogs eat Hostas?

Yes, Groundhogs eat Hostas. Groundhogs not only eat the foliage but dig up the rhizome and devour it too.

Groundhog damage often proves fatal to the plant. They don’t make clean cuts like rabbits or deer.

How do you keep Groundhogs from eating Hostas?

You can use live traps and liquid fences to keep Groundhogs from eating Hostas. A dog can help keep groundhogs away from your garden.

You can also install a regular fence to keep Groundhogs away.