Monday, May 25, 2009

How to stop slugs and snails from eating your plants

Something's Been Eating My Sage!

Do the leaves on your plants look as if some beastie has been nibbling? You may have slugs or snails. I noticed that my Sage has become a meal for snails or slugs, which I know lurk during the day in my garden, then dig into my plants at night.

They also love my Hostas. A friend of mine gave me some beautiful Hostas from her garden, which are very precious to me. I notice that they too are being eaten, so I've researched some ways to organically control these pests. These methods are also good for veggie gardens where slugs and snails like to feast.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
DE is readily available from your local nursery. It's a very fine dust of diaton skeletons. These are made of silicon and very sharp to a slug or snail, and even ants. The snail or slug will get miniscule cuts as they slither their way through the dust. It may not kill them but it will deter them!

How to use: Sprinkle the dust around base of plants, and on leaves.


Egg Shells
Egg shells not only deter slugs and snails, they also act as a fertilizer. They are especially beneficial to fast growing plants like fennel, peppers, green beans and tomatoes. They deter slugs and snails in much the same way as DE.

How to use:
  • Rinse shells thoroughly and air dry
  • Place in bag and crush
  • Spread crushed shells around bases of plants

Make a Beer Trap
This method seems to be favoured by people I've talked to and in books I've read. The critters fall into the beer and drown - cruel, I know, but it's them or your plants.

How to use:
Bury a recycled pie plate, plastic container in soil so that the brim is level with the soil. Some people just place a saucer in their gardens. Fill with beer to near to top of container. Check trap daily to dispose of pests and refill with beer.

Copper Strips
Studies have shown that slugs and snails get an electric shock when in contact with copper. You could try Doff Copper Slug Tape - 4m - Protects Approx 12 x 5 inch pots.

How to use: You can purchase copper backed paper and staple it to 3" wide boards, placed as a border around your garden.

I'd love to hear about your methods to control slugs and snails - what did you do and did it work. Or if you have general feedback on the content of The Bloomin' Blog, feel free to leave a comment.

And if the are non of these work, you may find a solution in 29 Ways to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs in Your Garden

The Truth About Organic Gardening, by Jeff Gillman
The Organic Gardeners Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, by Barbara W. Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley
To buy these books, click on the Indigo link to the right.


  1. I used to use the beer method. Then for a few years I didn't think I had a slug seemed dryer. This year has been wet so far, so I may use it again, but I'll be aware of your other ideas. Thanks!

  2. U gave wonderful ideas 2 stop the slugs and snails from eating the plants.thanks for the great help.

  3. brill thats great that I don't have to use psticides. I eat alot of eggs and drink alot of coffee.......excellent thanks.......

  4. Thanks for your comment, Clare. I've just been reading that garlic is also great for keeping slugs at bay.

  5. try an evening slug patrol just after dark armed with a torch and slug slicer (aka pair of pruners!).

  6. I find sandpaper works best around the edge of planters if they are wood. I staple it on and it helps. For some reason my snails aren't into beer, and the copper gets tarnished too quickly in my climate for that to be effective for long, but I use that copper tape as well too.

    Cinnamon oil works well for frying the buggers... That's available in a spray and it makes your garden smell nice.

  7. This is the first I've heard of Cinnamon oil. Will have to give it a try.

  8. If you mix yeast and sugar with warm water and put it where you'd put beer, it'll last longer (about a week) as the yeast keeps creating yeast. It's the yeast in the beer the slugs are attracted to but with beer you need to replace it every day. I have also heard that sprinkling powdered lime over the garden keeps them away because they don't like the ph but I have yet to try it....

  9. The yeast and water makes sense. Thanks for the new tip!

  10. I am using these things called slug shield - pretty little copper barbed wire that shocks them! Ha - and it works. I can't believe that I can relax about slugs on so many of my plants now. Highly recommended...

  11. Last year I tried eggshell they still got to the plants.
    This year copper tape on off cuts of drain pipe 4"sq x 6" high beans planted in each off cut, the slugs/snails will have to climb and face the copper if they negotiated the bramble bed of thorns.
    There will also be a message board on which will be ‘War will be declared if you eat my beans /peas. you will be, although reluctant, fed a meal of slug pellets the restaurant will be the tubing surrounding the plant bed and meals will be free each night. This will be the last resort as I believe everything should have a right to life except if they are trying to kill me. I am also concerned wild life eating the dead snails and slugs even though the pellets supposed to be harmless to other wild life.

    1. I know how you feel about not harming the wild life.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.


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