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How to Keep Slugs & Snails From Eating Hosta Plants

By Heather Finch ; Updated September 21, 2017

The common garden slug, Arion distinctus, is actually a member of the mollusk family. Any gardener who lives in a moist climate knows these creatures can be a menace to any garden. Slugs and snails reproduce quickly and can devour hosta plants overnight, reducing your lush garden to yellowed and dying plants. However, with some persistence, slugs and snails can be deterred from your hostas without affecting the surrounding vegetation and the hostas themselves.

Rid your garden of debris. Vegetation that is decaying, fallen leaves and rotting wood are favorite hiding places for slugs. Removing potential nighttime homes helps deter slugs.

Thin their population by handpicking them at night. Go out to your garden around 10 p.m. and gather all the slugs you can.

Make a beer trap. Also commonly referred to as a "slug pub," a beer trap will lure slugs and drown them. Place an old pie tin or similar dish about a quarter inch into the ground and fill it with beer.

Turn an old cantaloupe shell into a trap. Place the cantaloupe rind in your garden with the hollow side down. Remove slugs daily. This trap will last for three days.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your hostas. While these ground-up diatoms are sharp enough to cut and kill slugs and snails, they will not affect other animals and are safe to use around pets and children.

Use a commercial slug killer. Metaldehyde products kill slugs by dehydrating them. Deadline RainTough or Meta are two brand names. Follow manufacturer directions in applying the product, and reapply after rain.


Things You Will Need

  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Pie tin
  • Beer
  • Cantaloupe shell
  • Metaldehyde slug killer

About the Author


Heather Finch has been a freelance writer since the turn of the 21st century. Her official career began during her freshman year of college writing editorials about anything from manners to politics. Writings by Finch have appeared in the Western Herald, the Sturgis Journal and eHow.com. She has a bachelor's degree in creative writing and environmental studies.