Hostas and slugs


I live in Etobicoke surrounded by oak trees & clay soil. I’m new to gardening hence this potential mistake below. Last fall, a friend offered me mature hostas from her garden because she was making room for new plants. After replanting them in my gardens, she mentioned that slugs are a huge problem for her hostas. I have several hostas already established by the previous homeowner but have never seen a slug in my garden. Should I dig hers up and pitch them in case they start infesting my existing plants? I know that slug treatments can be applied but I don’t want to add another not-so-fun job to my to-do list when I’d rather be digging and planting.
Thanks for your help!


Slugs can be an issue where Hosta plants are concerned but just because you haven’t seen them in your own garden, doesn’t mean they are not there already.

Slugs overwinter in the soil and lay egg masses in leaf litter, compost piles, under rocks & stones or on the soil under mulch.  Your best bet is to check the area around each of the new Hosta transplants to see if you can find any egg masses (gelatinous oblong almost translucent rice sized blobs).  If you find some, scooping them up with a trowel and putting the mass into a salt water solution should kill them.  Also, keep a close eye on the new plants to see if you find any live slugs, checking under the leaves and around where the plants come out of the soil – again remove any you find and into the saline solution they go.

Of note here is that Slugs wreak havoc on tender leaved Hosta varieties but have a much harder time with the thicker leathery leaved ones.  So, if your new gifted plants are on the more tender side and you find they are being eaten, then you may want to remove these plants.

You also say the established plants in your garden appear to be slug free, so now may be the time to dig them up, divide and replant the divisions in some other garden location.  Hosta do benefit from being divided every few years to keep them vigorous.

Hope this helps.