How to Stop Bugs from Eating Hostas (Naturally), BugWiz

How to Stop Bugs from Eating Hostas (Naturally)

So, you have bugs eating your hostas plants. And you need to stop them to protect your hostas.

In this complete tutorial, you’ll learn:

  • How to identify what’s eating your hostas leaves
  • How to prevent bugs from attacking your plant
  • Natural ways to get rid of bugs on your hostas
  • How to repel pests to protect your hostas
  • And more

By the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to know to effectively get started and safeguard your hostas from bugs so it can flourish.

Feel free to bookmark this page for quick reference!

And if you have any questions, ask me by leaving a comment.

Sound good? Let’s dive in.

What keeps eating my hostas?

Hostas, or plantain lilies, have a lot of natural bugs that like to chew on the leaves and take a big bite out of ’em.

There are usually two main culprits that eat hostas plants. It’s usually bugs or animals.

This should be relatively easy for you to determine by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you see deer, rabbits, chipmunks, or other critters in your yard?
  • Or do your hostas seem to “magically” get holes out of nowhere?

What animal will eat hostas?

There are a few animals that eat hostas, such as voles, squirrels, deer, rabbits, and small rodents. If you have any of these animals native to your area, they may be the culprit for why you have damaged plants.

These succulents provide plenty of nutrient-dense leaves which animals have no problem consuming, so you can expect holes or damaged leaves. Some larger animals like deer will eat the leaves by the mouthful, whereas rabbits will tend to nibble on the plant here and there.

Either way, these animals can cause some major damage to them. This is why you should fence off the plant from them. You can relocate the plant or use mesh to cover the entirety of the leaves. Or if you have native animals, you can use some kind of barrier or fencing to protect the plant.

But then again, animals may be hard to control. Especially if you’re on a farm.

You should check to make sure that it’s actually an animal or bug that’s eating your plant first before you do anything. This way, you’re repelling the right pest and save yourself the time and energy.

What bugs eat hostas?

As for bugs, there are quite a few that feed on hostas leaves.

The most popular ones are cutworks, beetles, aphids, grasshoppers, slugs, snails, pill bugs and spider mites.

The methods outlined in this DIY pest control guide will help get you started on repelling those bugs and protein your hostas plant.

If you have any of those bugs listed, read the linked pest control guide for each one to learn how to get rid of it.

If you see animals and rodents in your yard, chances are that they’re feeding on your plant. Whether or not you’re there. If the problem comes from an animal, you can use natural repellent, set up fencing, or use a protective plant mesh to cover your hostas.

If you don’t see animals, then you probably have bugs that are eating your leaves. This guide will cover how to kill and prevent bugs. Let’s get started.

Homemade remedies to protect hosta plants from bugs

Here are some home remedies you can do to stop pests from eating your hostas. Test a few of them out and see what works best for your situation. These should stop bugs from eating your hostas.

Use strong pepper

Pepper will drive off bugs that come near your hostas plant without damaging the plant itself.

The reason why pepper is so effective is that it emits a very powerful scent that many pests can’t stand.

Thus, it’s an effective natural repellent against many types of bugs. Without harming your hostas.

  • You never should apply pepper directly to the plant, as this can be too strong.
  • Make a pepper spray by diluting it with water.
  • Get a small spray bottle and add 3 cups of water and a half cup of pepper.
  • Swirl the mixture until the pepper is evenly distributed in the bottle.
  • Then add 1 tablespoon of dish soap to help make the pepper “stick” to the hostas. If you don’t add dish soap, the pepper spray will simply fall off the plant or evaporate.
  • Dish soap is safe for hostas when used correctly and also repels pests.
  • Spray the repellent on the hostas leaves evenly. This will stick the pepper on there and repel any bugs that try to eat and make holes in your hostas leaves.

You’ll find that the pepper is effective for many pests and this may be all you need to stop them.

You can change the concentration of pepper and also use different types, such as chili, cayenne, etc. Reduce the pepper amount if you notice plant damage. Or add more if you notice the pepper doesn’t seem to be working.

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Depending on how much soap you use, you may be able to keep the pepper on the hostas even after light rains or winds. Reapply as necessary.

Check your plant every week to see if the pepper is still stuck on there.

Mint oil

Mint is another DIY remedy that you can do for cheap.

You can buy mint in essential oil form at most grocery stores. Add a few drops (2-3 drops) to 1 cup of water and 8 drops of dish soap.

Mix it all together in a spray bottle and then spray your hostas with it. The solution will stick to the leaves just like the pepper and keep the bugs away.

You have to apply again after rains or wind, but it should be relatively effective during the process. You can also use more mint or less water to make the solution stronger.

Fresh mint

You can buy mint at the store and just chop up some fresh cut mint.

Sprinkle it around your hostas in the soil or container if you have it potted. The smell of mint repels bugs naturally. Replace the mint when you see it start to rot. Mint’s strong odor acts as a natural repellent.

Keep adding mint until all the bugs are gone, or until you find some other permanent way to keep the bugs away and protect your plant.

You may have to do this for an extended period if necessary if bugs are always a problem for your hostas.

Citrus oil

You can also use citrus essential oil as a spray to protect your plant.

Just like pepper and mint, you can use citrus in the form of lime or lemon. Add 4 drops to 1 cup of water.

Then add 8 drops of dish soap. Mix it together and spray it on your hostas.

Similar to the other techniques on this page, you’ll want to apply again when it rains or when you notice the effectiveness of the repellent wearing off.

Citronella oil

Citronella is a very effective pest repellent and can protect your hostas from pests.

You can use many different forms of it such as citronella sprays, candles, or even oils. Any of them will be effective.

You can use citronella spray as directed on the label if you buy it, or you can make your own citronella repellent at home. Just add 20 drops of citronella oil, 10 drops of dish soap, and 2 cups of water into a spray bottle.

Citronella candles

You can also light citronella around your hostas.

The candles repel all sorts of pests, from mosquitoes to earwigs. Of course, this can’t be a permanent solution because the candles will get expensive and you can’t always have candles outdoors.

This can be a temporary solution as you get your pest problem sorted.

Lemon juice

You can also spray lemon or lime just directly onto the plant as a spray. Just mix equal parts lemon juice and water.

And then spray it on your plant to keep the bugs away from it. Pests hate lemon and lime juice, or any citrus, so that should offer some safety for your hostas plant. This is a cheap and effective way to get rid of bugs on hostas.

Use fresh lemons

You can cut up lemons and place the slices around your hostas plant. The scent of the citrus fruit may help deter the bugs and protect the leaves.


Onion is another powerful veggie that pests hate. You can cut up and dice an onion and then sprinkle the pieces all over the soil around your hostas.

The scent of the powerful onion will keep bugs away and maybe even get rid of some that are already eating your plant. This method is cheap and effective.

Tea tree oil

You can use tea tree oil as another essential oil to keep bugs from eating your hostas. First, you’ll have to buy some oil at a specialty shop. Check apothecaries or department stores.

After that, add just 8 drops to 2 cups of water. Stir gently. Tea tree oil happens to be very odorous and powerful, so you’ll want to test the spray on a small part of the hostas first. Make sure the plant doesn’t burn. If it’s OK, then spray the whole thing.

Allow the plant 48 hours to react to the oil first. Tea tree oil will help prevent bugs from eating your hosta leaves and making holes all over your plant. You may have difficulty finding pure tea tree oil, but you should get it as pure as you possibly can.

Also, be aware that some pets and humans are sensitive to the methods on this list, so always do your research first before attempting anything.

This is one of the best ways to get rid of bugs on hostas.

Dish soap

You can make a dish soap at home quite easily by using 2 tablespoons of dish detergent to 1 gallon of water. Stir the mixture gently and you’ll have a gallon of liquid bug killer you can use on your hostas plants.

Pour some of the dish soap mixture into a spray bottle and spray it directly on your plant leaves. This mixture will kill bugs like thrips, green aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites that are currently on the plant. Dish soap even repels skunks!

Be sure to get the underside of the leaves also because many pests hide under there or lay eggs. Reapply every other day until the pests are gone.

Just like any other DIY mixture, test some out on a small part of the plant first before using on the entire hostas.

Vegetable oil

Adding vegetable oil to your dish soap mixture can help by making it more “sticky” and lasting longer. Consider adding 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (any type) to your DIY dish soap recipe.

This is called horticultural oil and will stick to the leaves so you don’t have to apply the pesticide/repellent so often.

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Herbal teas can be an effective repellent for slugs and snails, especially wormwood tea. You can buy this tea online or at specialty shops. Add 2 tablespoons of wormwood leaves to 2 cups of water.

Then spray your hosta leaves with the tea.

This will kill many pests- such as slugs and snails. Another excellent way to get rid of bugs on hostas naturally without any chemicals. The tea is safe for plants, but you’ll still need to test it first.


You can kill worms by using cornmeal and sprinkling some on your hosta leaves. Many worms, such as cutworms, eat the cornmeal and will die because they’re not able to tolerate the food.

Cover your plant

Lastly, if you have animals eating your hostas plants such as rabbits, deer, or chipmunks, you can use a protective mesh cover to save your plants.

Or you can get a barrier to prevent these animals from coming close to your hostas plants in the first place. Consider using some sturdy mesh or fencing for animals.

What kills slugs on hostas?

Slugs are a major source of holes in your hostas leaves.

They munch through the plant like no tomorrow and leave jagged and irregular holes in your leaves. Snails are also just as bad.

To get rid of them, avoid using a synthetic pesticide and consider using these natural and organic control methods first.

Use your coffee grounds if you drink coffee. And if you don’t, buy some.

Coffee grounds are a natural and safe way to get rid of slugs on your hostas. The caffeine coffee grounds is the magic key that’ll kill slugs when they feed on your leaves. The slugs don’t even need to eat it, they just crawl over it and it’ll kill them.

Other than coffee grounds, you can also make slug traps by using small planters and turning them upside down. Put some pieces of cardboard or paper towels under the planter and roll them or stack them on each other. Leave the pot there overnight. The next day, you’ll find that there are slugs under the pot. Go ahead and dispose of them.

Beer traps

You can also use beer in a pan to kill slugs. Get a small bowl or frisbee and fill it up to the top with beer. Any cheap alcohol can do the job. Leave it out overnight.

Slugs will be attracted to the beer and then drown in it.

Manual removal

Last is to manually remove slugs by hand. You can do this at night when they come out to feed. Wear gloves and pick them off and then dispose of them.

Also, check for snail eggs that might be in the soil around your hostas. Use a flashlight to spot them. Slugs typically hide on the bottom of leaves that are damaged or dark areas.

Use commercial slug killer

Out of options? Then use some commercial slug killer.

Since I don’t suggest using these due to harmful pesticides, all I can say is to read the directions on the package and use it as directed. Get a natural or organic one if possible.

How to prevent holes in hosta leaves

The main reason you have holes in your hostas leaves is simply from pests or animals that are eating your plant.

Use a combination of the DIY methods to protect your plant on this page and you should be able to reduce the number of bugs or animals munching on your leaves.

Assuming that you don’t have a plant nutrient deficiency, the only other reason for the jagged or weirdly shaped holes on your plant is often from bugs and animals.

Bugs will eat the leaves for their nutrients and this causes holes in your hosta leaves.

What do you do with holes in hostas?

Prune them. Rather than letting the holes stay there and rot, you should prune them off your hostas so the plant doesn’t waste energy trying to grow that leaf.

There’s no reason to keep the leaf there was the plant doesn’t grow leaves back after being eaten.

Will hostas grow back after being eaten?

The leaves won’t regrow, but the plant will continue to branch out with new leaves. The root system will continue to grow more stems and leaves to replace the eaten ones.

But you need to take care of the pest or animal problem first or else they’ll just get eaten again.

Do hostas multiply?

Hosta plants are grown from a single rhizome. The plant enlarges from the single rhizome and then eventually can be divided into smaller hosta plants.

Hostas multiply slowly and don’t make new roots until the first foliage hardens off. You can divide your hostas plant manually, but you should wait until the plant is ready to be split.

How do you keep hostas healthy?

Fertilize them using an all-purpose fertilizer each spring. You can also use granular fertilizers but never leave the granules directly onto the leaves.

Keep the leaves and crown rot free. Hostas are a sturdy plant that doesn’t need much maintenance as they’re disease-free for the most part.

Their succulent leaves attract slugs and snails, but you can use a variety of home remedies to keep bugs away such as tea tree oil, dish soap, and manual removal.

Further reading

Here are some additional resources you can reference that may be useful for you:

Did you get rid of the bugs on your hostas?

That’s all I have for you.

You now have a good foundation to get started and protect your plant.

You can now repel, kill, and deter common pests that eat hostas, and with this knowledge, you should be able to safeguard your plants.

This guide took some time to put together so if you find it helpful, leave a comment and let me know. Tell a friend who also has hostas or share it on your social media =]!

If you have any questions, you can comment below for a quick response!

Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.

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I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).

Fight nature with nature.

More DIY Pest Control Guides

I see you have a pest problem.

I created this site to offer my 8 years of natural pest control experience to the public.

I started off with a nasty fly problem, and was very interested in finding ways to get rid of them without having to use harmful chemicals and pesticides.

Turns out, there are a ton of DIY home remedies you can do for free (or damn close to free) without having to spend money on expensive and dangerous chemicals.

So then I created this site to share everything I’ve learned over the years (and continuing to learn)- natural solutions that are proven to work against the bug that’s bugging you!

If you have a pest problem that’s not covered here, feel free to contact me and let me know. I may be able to help you out!

What is the best way to get rid of the bed bugs naturally?

The bed bugs are beginning to operate at the night time, and then it begins the real “hunt” for the people, first of all, for their blood. The bed bugs usually settle close to that place where a person always remains at the night, that`s mean they take up the residence in the sleeping places, beds, sofas, etc.

You will understand that your home really has bugs only in the case of their wake (it will be excrement which bugs leave behind them).

How to get rid of the bed bugs naturally by yourself. A variety of the home remedies

The bed bugs do not carry sharp and unpleasant smells. So far it is not known the real reason why the bed bugs are scared of the smells, and when they`re leaving the house they`ll never come back.

You can bring into the house “stink” bug. According to the popular rumor, these bugs force their smaller relatives to leave home as soon as it`s possible. But we can`t say exactly how many of these bugs you need to get and bring into your house.

You can also use these natural methods:

1) Vinegar is the most simple and secure remedy. You need to lubricate all the possible places of occurrence of the bed bugs. This method of the treatment will not affect the furniture and will not damage any surface, but it will scare the bed bugs because of the sharp acetic smell.

2) The evaporation is the safe method to kill the bugs. You must deal with the boiling water and pour it to the gaps between the baseboards, seams of sofas (upholstered furniture) and other habitats of the bed bugs.

3) Tincture of valerian. It is necessary to lubricate the needed surface and the bed bugs will come out. This home remedy is absolutely powerless if you`re “fighting” with the bed bugs eggs. And it loses its effectiveness if you have pets in the house.

4) A solution of the boiling water, turpentine and kerosene is the oldest remedy to get rid the bed bugs. All these ingredients are mixed and the solution treated the surface of the furniture, you can add the soap to this composition.

The prescription: 150ml of the water + 40g of the green soap solution + 20ml of the kerosene + 15ml of the turpentine.

5) The wormwood. Put under the bed some branches of the wormwood and this smell is really good to scare away the insects. To get rid of the bed bugs effectively you`ll need to hang the brooms from a wormwood practically in all residential premises, or, at least, you`ll have to place the one broom in the each room. Of course, the view of your house will decay, but you need to wait some period of time. You can use to get rid of the bed bugs the freshly and dried wormwood.

6) The low temperatures (-20° C). In the cold season during a long period of time, you must ventilate the rooms, take out the linen, pillows and blankets, with the help of the freezing temperatures the bed bugs are killed during the day.

7) The treatment with the salt water, alcohol, peroxide for your furniture.

One of the most effective methods of the folk fight with the bed bugs

If you want in the shortest time to get rid of the bed bugs and use the chemical free bed bugs treatment, you`ll need to use only two funds – a camphor oil and a turpentine. You will need to prepare a simple, but very effective lubricant, the components are the same which we were talking about before. Just grab this preparation and grease the furniture`s legs and other places, where, in your opinion, is the most likely place for the bed bugs. Additionally, you need to lubricate the areas of your bed (under the mattress).

It is also possible to grease the lower surface of the mattresses. You`ll need to process the different parts of the sofas and beds, you`ll need to process the parts of the chairs too. You can also process the places such as the joints between the armrests of the chairs and seats, that`s why you`ll need to take a tube of the turpentine`s ointment and simply squeeze the required quantity.

As a result of this treatment you will have a very unpleasant smell, which will be heldin the air some period of time.

Also we want to tell you about one very important thing. All linen you must wash, at least, once a week at a temperature not less than 60 degrees. Then you definitely don`t be disturbed by the bed bugs.

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