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Ask Horti

Dozie Herbruck

By Miss Hortense E. Toity
(A.K.A. Horti Toity)

Dear Horti,

My hostas look like this:


What shall I do?

Hortfully yours,
Aspar A. Gaceae

Dear Aspar,

 Slugs.  Ew.  Treat now and treat often. 

Your best option is high-test coffee grounds.  Caffeine is anathema to slugs so they will disappear as fast as their chubby little torsos will take them.  Sprinkle the coffee grounds under the leaves.  Espresso, Decaf, and Caramel Macchiatos are not as effective as regular old home brew.  I’m curious whether there’s any merit in spraying the leaves with dense liquid coffee in addition to placing coffee grounds on the soil? 

 Some people do the same thing with crushed eggshells, over which it is difficult for slugs to crawl.

 A perennial favorite is placing an aluminum pie plate filled with beer under the hostas at night.  In the morning it will be filled with drunk and drowned slugs.  Disgusting but effective.

 A ring of Epsom salts around the base of your hosta repels them.  Easy, but not sure if this has a long term effect on the soil?

 Lots of nearby bird houses provide graceful and melodious flying predators.

 Chemical solutions like Sluggo are available at garden stores; make sure they are pet- and eco-friendly.

 Finally, because one always needs new perennials, you might think about hostas with thicker leaves that slugs won’t eat.  A number of hosta varieties are slug-resistant:

 Here’s to unpierceable, impenetrable, and inviolable hosta leaves.

 In Hortus Veritas,