Dealing with Slugs and Snails

Slug damage on hostas


Slugs and snails are a hosta lovers worst nightmare. There is nothing worst than going out to the garden in the morning to find ugly holes in your prized hostas and the shiny track marks of the slimy culprits. 


There are many ways of controlling a slug problem in your garden without resorting to slug pellets. Firstly consider the position of your plants, are they in a pot or a bed? Hostas in pots are much easier to defend against slugs and snails then ones grown in the ground. By growing in a pot you are able to restrict slugs and snails access to the plant without killing them. Copper bands are extremely effective in many cases, the copper band needs to be wrapped around the pot to create a barrier the slugs will not cross. We have also found the using copper pots to plant your hostas in is a sure fire way of keeping out the slugs, be sure to line your pot before planting.

Organic Slug Repellent 

It can be difficult to handle a slug problem when so many methods work for some people and not others. We know many people who have tried dried broken egg shells around their hostas and swear by it when others say it's useless. We believe the best approach to take is to try a range of things and find what's right for you and your garden. 

Slug protection methods include:

  • Dried broken egg shells
  • Toasted snail shells (also known as Helix Tosta which can be purchased in pellet form)
  • Copper bands or pots
  • Raising your potting hostas in a dish of water
  • Coffee grounds
  • Sharp course grit around the base of the hosta
  • Garlic spray (this must be started from February to be fully effective, see Garlic Wash Recipe page for details)
  • Removing an inch of soil from around the top of the plants in early Spring before they emerge will expose any eggs that have overwintered in the crowns of your plants. These can then be removed.

Are there slug proof hostas?

In All hostas can be targeted by slugs no matter the variety. What we can say is that there are varieties that are known to be slug resistant and not eaten as much but this obviously varies depending on how badly you get slugs in your garden. Generally the slugs will go for the fleshier leaves and will avoid thick tough leaves. If we put a 'Bob Olson' next to a 'Blue Mouse Ears' for example without any slug protection the 'Bob Olson' will more than likely be one one the slugs would go for as the leaves are fleshier and easier to eat than the thick leaves of 'Blue Mouse Ears'.


If all else has failed you can use ferric phosphate based pellets. We always say that you should never use metaldehyde based pellets as not only are they extremely dangerous for pets and children they also pose a big risk to wildlife in your garden.

Ferric phosphate pellets are organic, they target slugs and snails and will not harm birds or mammals that may eat dead or dying slugs and snails. We always try and avoid using pellets at the nursery but if we ever have to we would use ferric phosphate.


Please be aware, going into the Summer months some varieties may been slightly burnt or marked as they are now passed their best, on occasion we will cut varieties back early if their leaves are no longer attractive.

Sienna Team