Q&A: Keeping Slugs Off Hosta

I want to grow hostas but every time I’ve tried, they’ve been eaten to death by slugs. I don’t want to use any sort of chemical pesticide. What can I do?—DM, Bettendorf, Iowa

Answer: Hostas are exquisite foliage plants. Sadly, they are also favorite fare for slugs and snails.

To avoid these pests, try growing hostas in containers. For best protection, place the pots on a hard surface, such as a patio, steps or walkway, some distance away from flowerbeds and bare earth.

Copper strips and/or petroleum jelly placed around the perimeter of the containers provides extra defense.

An array of containers in all shapes and sizes filled with different varieties of hosta can look very nice. Most hosta do best in partial shade, so a collection will give a lift to a dark corer of the garden. (Yellow-leaved hosta do better in mostly sun with some midday shade.)

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