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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Annuals and Perennials > Hosta >Holes in leaves or leaves chewed off

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Hosta > Holes in leaves or leaves chewed off

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  • Image: Slugs 1
  • Image: Slugs 2
  • Image: Slugs 3


  • Occurs spring and summer
  • Chews ragged, irregular shaped holes in leaves that cross the veins
  • Soft-bodied, brownish, up to two or more inches long. Snails without shells
  • More information on Slugs
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  • Image: animal damage 1
  • Image: animal damage 2
  • Image: animal damage 3

Deer, rabbit and other animal damage

  • All or large sections of leaves are cut off and missing, leaving only a stem or petiole (leaf stalk)
  • Animal foot prints or droppings near plant
  • Often happens suddenly, overnight
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  • Image: Hail 1


  • Ragged holes in foliage
  • Appears suddenly, after severe weather
  • Affects very local area only, sometimes individual plants show damage
  • Plants outgrow damage, leaves produced after hail event are undamaged
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  • Image: Variegated Cutworms 1
  • Image: Variegated Cutworms 2

Variegated Cutworms

  • Occurs in spring
  • Chews long oval holes between the veins
  • Brownish to black body with four to five yellowish diamond shaped spots on the top of the body; dark colored ‘W' on top of its body near the posterior; up to two inches long
  • More information on Variegated Cutworms
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  • Image: Earwig 1
  • Image: Earwig 2


  • Occurs during early to mid summer
  • Chews irregular holes in leaves
  • Reddish brown, with short wings and forceps like pincers at the tip of abdomen, 5/8 inch long
  • More information on Earwigs

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