The Q&A Archives: Hostas and Sunflowers

Question: I have three newly planted (within the past two months) hostas in a shade garden that are getting nibbled at, there are holes in the leaves and the leaves that touch the earth get munched first. The munching occurs on the leaves and the base where the leave connects to the base of the plant. Once they chew the stalk away the leave dangles and falls to the ground. I have another hosta in the same garden but on the other end, it receives a little more sunlight than the others and doesn't seem to be affected by the pests. Any idea what is eating them? A slug? I saw a furry caterpillar on my salvia in the sunny part of the same garden the other morning btw.

I also have some newly planted sunflowers (the grande ones) that are currently about 2 ft tall. There are about 10 all together and the three on one end are getting eaten to the stalk one by one. They are in a full sun area. What do you think is eating these?

Thanks for your help,

Michelle Yu

Answer: I'd vote for pesky slugs or snails in the garden. They feed at night and in the early morning so you rarely see them. If there are no insects on your plants during the day, the most likely cause of the damage would be slugs or snails. You can use bait such as Sluggo, or you can make traps by inverting terra cotta pots and propping them up with a stone or stick. Slugs and snails seek out moist, dark places to hide and will crawl in at night. You can scrape them out in the morning and reset the traps. If you keep at it, you'll eventually trap them all.

Best wishes with your garden!

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