All right, folks. The furious digging is done. (How I love digging. I swear I must be part terrier, except that I dig for plants, not rats.) All the bare spots in my garden—and there were many—have been mostly filled by—you guessed it!—hostas. Fortunately for my budget, which is as big as a minute, I already had quite a few hostas in various spots in my gardens. Those hostas have been there for a while and were ripe for dividing. With spade in hand, I went to work.
Now, as I’ve previously written, my preference would be to have gardens with glorious bursts of flowers from May through September. And when my blogging friends feature their bright, beautiful gardens, I am filled with conflicting emotions—admiration, awe, and envy. But we live in the woods, and while there are many pleasures to be gained from this, riotous blooms aren’t one of them.
So onward, ho with hostas. Here is a picture of the front yard. I have a hard time getting pictures that reflect the simplicity and tranquility of my hosta-filled gardens. (When life gives you shade…) However, this picture does capture a little of this feeling.
Here is another look.
Confession time. Perhaps I might be exaggerating a teeny-weensy bit when I write that my gardens are all hostas, all the time. Observant readers will note that there are a few other plants tucked here and there among the hostas.
There are chives, which seem to thrive wherever they are planted. (There must be a lesson in this.)
And my beloved irises, which tolerate some shade.
Later in the season there will be evening primroses, some lilies, and black-eyed Susans.
Recently, a friend gave me a plant—tough as nails, she assured me—that does well in shade. It’s called Persian shield, and it’s noted for its foliage. I planted it less than a week ago, and so far, so good. May this plant thrive in my shady garden and bring a little splash of color to it.
But back to hostas. Although they do well in dry shade, they are magnets for slugs and snails. By summer’s end, the slugs and snails chew the hostas leaves into green lace, which sounds prettier than it actual is. The hostas always come back in the spring, so no permanent damage is done, but by the end of the season, they look pretty sad.
Recently, I heard that a way to deter snails and slugs is to mix one part of ammonia to five or six parts water and spray the hosta leaves. Somehow, I am leery about doing this. Ammonia doesn’t seem like anything I want to be using in my gardens. But I must admit that I am tempted.
Blogging friends, what do you think of this method of controlling snails and slugs? Am I right to be leery, or is it a safe method?
Don’t be shy. Tell me what you think.
35 thoughts on “Everything’s Coming up Hostas”
Hello. I have quite a few hostas, but since I haven’t had an issue with snails, I’ve never tried the spray. I would be leery of ammonia also, but I did see on this site that one of the commenters says vinegar works as well (https://www.houzz.com/discussions/1972558/snails-and-ammonia) and others say you can double or triple the water in the spray and it’s just as effective. There are some other interesting suggestions here: https://www.smilinggardener.com/organic-pest-control/how-to-get-rid-of-slugs-and-snails. Best of luck with the snail-and-slug battle!
Thanks, Dale! We use vinegar and water for almost all our cleaning. Maybe I’ll try using it to “clean” my hostas of slugs.
I heard if you grind up eggshells and put them around your plants slugs won’t go on the eggshells
As I mentioned in another comment, I’d have to eat a lot of eggs to have enough to spread around all my hostas.
It looks both beautiful and peaceful, well done.
So many slugs this year !! And they are sooo clever and hungry !!I wouldn’t dare to use amonia on my plants…
Well, they are just trying to make their living. I just wish they wouldn’t be doing so with my hostas. 😉 I’m with you on the ammonia. Seems way to harsh.
First and foremost, one can never, ever have too many hosta. 🙂 With regard to slugs, I’ve seen the products you can buy at the store, but the only home remedy I’ve ever tried was beer. Yes, I know you are laughing. I haven’t done it in years, but when I did it worked.
I have used beer and it was moderately successful and quite expensive.
I love the way you have arranged your hostas Laurie and I have heard of beer being a good deterrant for slugs too. Here on the coast people use seaweed around roses and veg patches to keep the slugs away – I am not keen on depleting the sea from their plant life in order to protect ours though! 💜 xxx
Thanks, Xenia! In the past< I've tired beer, but even cheap beer gets expensive. I might just have to put up with those munching pests.
Have you tried encouraging frogs? Mrs T thinks that they are probably responsible for our slug free hostas.
We actually do have quite a few frogs around here. Of course, we don’t have a pond the way you do.
Ammonia sounds pretty strong. You can use diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it around plants (reapply after rain). My sister swears by placing a board down, under which slugs hide during the day. Every morning she flips it over and salts the slugs (ugh). After a week or so their numbers are greatly diminished.
Beer dishes are gross to clean out (and even cheap beer gets costly) and slug pellets aren’t cheap either. I find they only work well first thing in spring when there is little else to eat. I end up handpicking with a tongue depressor with a small can of salt, into which I drop them. No matter what, they are distasteful to deal with! Good luck!
Thanks, Eliza. That’s what I thought, too. Very reluctant to use ammonia. I’ve done the handpick thing and drop them into a jar of soapy water. Effective but gross.
I’ve seen the eggshells work. You can’t go wrong with hostas. How about hellebores? Or would you be under snow when they normally bloom?
We’d have to eat an awful lot of eggs to have eggshells for all our hostas. I’ve tried hellebores but didn’t have any luck with them. Sigh.
Very bad luck
One of the things I like best about hostas, beyond their shapes and greens and varieties, is that they’re the plant that keeps on giving! We divide ours repeatedly and they just keep looking great! I like the way your garden ornaments add color and interest, too!
Thanks, Kerry! And I’m coming ’round to hostas.
Whatever you plant, don’t plant Bishop’s weed! It’s extremely invasive! It was in our yard when we bought our little house in the pine trees. Now it’s everywhere. But do come over and see my gardens! I’d love to see you!
I’ll stay away from Bishop’s weed. I’d love to see your gardens. Just message me, and we’ll come up with a time.
We had Ground Elder (Bishop’s Weed, Goutweed) when we moved in here 30 years ago. Despite various efforts, including a lot of hand pulling wand, in former days, lots of chemicals, we still do.
You can eat it.
That should read – “a lot of hand pulling, and, in former days, lots of chemicals”.
I love Hostas but can’t get them to grow in this garden. A couple of houses ago I grew them and they flourished (despite the slugs and snails) and even flowered. I loved the flowers, especially the scented ones.
I can’t recommend anything that stops a really determined snail. Surrounding each plant with grit/sand/eggshells/sheep’s wool works to a certain extent but is often expensive and after a few weeks needs doing again. I’m not sure that I’d use ammonia.
Your (mainly) hosta garden looks such a calm place! Those greens are beautiful.
Thanks, Clare! I think I am going to pass on the ammonia and just let things continue as they have. By the end of the summer, the hostas sill look nice. From afar. 😉
The front yard garden is as lovely as the backyard!🙂 I’ve been struggling with the garden area I have in the shade, but I’m hoping a few of the flowers I added this year will continue to bloom.🙂
Many thanks! And good luck with your shade garden. I’ve struggled for years, but now, as I’m sure you know, it’s all about hostas. I’ve succumbed.
The hostas look wonderful. I asked my sweetheart who doesn’t recommend the ammonia – it could act like a strong and fertiliser and burn the plants. He suggests you could try a very, very weak salt solution that will not hurt the plants but will deter the slugs, but the only trouble is the rain will wash it away. I would have suggested a mulch of sharp grit or finely broken glass as they don’t like crawling over it. I’ve also heard of people hunting them by torchlight, which would make an interesting blog post, if nothing else.
I am not going to use ammonia. I might just let nature take its chewing course.
We tried collecting eggshells, drying them, crushing them and putting them round plants as a physical barrier to stop slugs and snails. It didn’t work.
You are in good company with your hostas.
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