Stunted Hostas

Asked August 12, 2019, 5:01 PM EDT

I planted hostas about 20 years ago as a border plant for the front of my home. For a long time they were big, luscious plants ( until the deer made them look like celery stalks). For the past couple of years they have been coming in at about 1/3 the size they used to. I fertilize them each year with Miracle Grow plant food, but it does seem to be working. What can I do to get them back to the big, beautiful plants they used to be? The attached pictures are a little help, but the ones showing the stunted plants are after the deer have done their damage.

Montgomery County Maryland wildlife groundcovers hostas pests - other deer eating hostas

3 Responses

The repeated eating by the deer are weakening and stunting these hostas. Each time the hostas have to put out new growth, they are using up the energy stored in their roots. Fertilizer is not going to compensate for this drain.

Hostas are a favorite of deer. You'll have to either fence or use deer repellent consistently to keep the deer off and let your hostas revive. There are repellent sprays that do not need to be applied more often than 3-4 weeks such as Liquid Fence. There are also tablets which are extremely bitter, that are inserted into the soil at the plant roots and absorbed.

Also, keep your hostas watered during droughts/dry spells so they are not further stressed.

Ellen

Thanks! That makes a lot of sense.