Holey Hosta Batman! How we Saved our Hostas from Slugs!

This post kicks off a 3-part series on low-maintenance/sustainable gardening. The side of our house doesn’t get a lot of sun, so we planted shade tolerant hostas and ground cover to fill in that area and crowd out weeds and aid in water conservation. The hostas have filled in beautifully over the years, but by mid summer they are all torn to shreds and have more holes than swiss cheese.

Batman may be resigned to fighting thugs, but we were tired of fighting slugs: we wanted to put a stop to their reign of crime once and for all. We tried everything from eggshells to diatomaceous earth to no avail, until we finally found the answer: copper!  Forgive the bad pun, but just like commissioner Gordon of Batman fame, a little ‘copper’ goes a long way to fighting crime.


Last year we ran an experiment: we wrapped pure copper wire mesh around the bases of half our hostas and left the other half as-is. We had read that copper repels snails and slugs because they don’t like to touch it. We thought it would be worth a try – and who doesn’t love a pest-control product that’s non-toxic and sustainable!

By the end of the summer, the hostas we wrapped with copper were hole-free as compared to the others that weren’t (you can see the large hosta in the foreground below has several holes in the leaves). ‘Hosta’ la vista, slugs! Overall, even the ones we didn’t wrap had less slug damage than usual.

Garden 2011_powershot 017_bof.jpg

This year we purchased another 25 ft of Copper Blocker to wrap around all our hostas.

It comes in a roll like this:

We made a shallow trench around each clump. It’s easier to wrap the hostas first thing in the spring when they are just peaking through the earth, as you see below.

You can also do this later in the season, but you’ll probably need another set of hands to hold back the foliage while you wind the mesh around the base and secure it.

Don’t be tempted to wrap the copper too close to the Hosta; it needs room to expand as it grows through the season! Here, we’re using an old piece of Copper Blocker. It tarnishes like an old penny, but works just as well as the new stuff!

The previous year we dug a shallow trench around each plant and buried the mesh below the soil so that nothing could sneak down under it. This year we trenched too but also used these galvanized garden pins to secure the copper into the earth:

We pinched the ends together and crimped them closed to join it into a circle, then added the galvanized pins; that should hold the mesh in place all season long – if not longer! Perhaps the addition of the pins will hold it for a few seasons so we don’t have to place them again in the Spring; we’ll let you know next year!

Here’s a close-up of the newer stuff we added this year.

Last year we endeavoured to spread the mesh out vertically (as you see below), but we found pinning the mesh is just as effective against the slugs and faster to secure!

Hostas 001_bof.jpg

We LOVE how the hostas look at the side of our house in the spring and summer months:

Spring 2010_May 072.JPG

‘Hosta’ la vista, slugs!

UPDATE: hubs’ friend was reading our post and let us know that she has used copper pennies. Unfortunately pennies are no longer being minted in Canada, but if you have some kicking around they would be worth a try too! Just sprinkle them on the ground around your hostas.

Saving our hostas make us feel like superheros and now we get to enjoy our them hole-free through the entire season (which sadly isn’t too long in Canada)!

If you’re interested in trying out copper blocker, make sure you are getting a 100% copper product or it may not work. Here’s a link to the one we use (by the way, we’re not an affiliate – we just love the product!).

C_Hostas 1.jpg

If this project has inspired you to go hole-free too, share the wisdom by pinning!

For more garden inspiration check out the following posts:

If crafts are your thing, check out the following creative and sustainable projects in our Craft Rehab category.

Collage_Craft Rehab 2_BOF.jpg

Stay calm and relax on this summer!  At Birdz of a Feather, we’re feathering the nest… one room at a time. Follow our blog here to see upcoming DIY projects, in and around the home. You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram!

Featured on Hometalk.com











14 thoughts on “Holey Hosta Batman! How we Saved our Hostas from Slugs!

  1. I’ve never seen copper mesh before. What a practical solution for low-growing plants. I discovered copper tape a few years ago, and use it on my raised beds and pots. It wouldn’t be practical otherwise, so I am delighted to see this option. Where did you find the copper mesh?

    Apparently the copper gives off a small electrical charge so the snails won’t touch or cross it. I’m an organic gardener as well, so always look for solutions like this. Kudos!

  2. Pingback: Low Maintenance Gardening (Part 1): Dry Creek Bed | Birdz of a Feather Home

    • Lincoln memorial pennies dated before 1982 are 95% copper, pennies dated 1983 and later are 97.5% zinc with a thin coating of copper. That may be the reason the pennies didn’t work.

      • Great information Sue – thanks for letting me know 🙂 I guess the old adage that they don’t make things the way they used to holds true for coins too!

  3. The easiest way to save your Hostas from slugs is with orange peels! I save my clementine and orange peels during the fall, winter and spring and put the dried peels around my garden! The bugs don’t like the smell!

  4. Another tip…crushed egg shells! The slimy little critters don’t like the sharp edges! Thanks for the info on the copper!

Leave a Reply