Wyevale Garden Centres

Slug and snail resistant plants

Slug and snail resistant plants

Slugs and snails have to be the bane of a gardener's life, easily capable of devastating whole rows of seedlings or young plants overnight. Little is as frustrating as discovering your beloved plants have been so quickly destroyed.

Tell-tale signs that slugs and snails are at large are irregular holes in leaves and stems, as well as the distinctive, silvery slime trails they leave behind. Although there are plenty of methods of defence, it is almost impossible to get away with no damage from these slimy pests, so one of the easiest ways to avoid them is to simply grow plants they don't like the taste of!

It might be difficult to believe that there is such a thing as slug resistant plants – are there any plants that these insatiable molluscs don't like? But it is perfectly possible to successfully fill your garden with slug proof plants. Slugs and snails love soft, succulent, fleshy foliage and stems; and their favourite foods include plants such as hostas, dahlias, delphiniums, sweet peas and lettuce; all young plants and seedlings are also very vulnerable to attack.

In contrast however, slugs and snails really don't like plants that have tough, difficult-to-chew leaves. Slug resistant plants in this category include evergreen shrubs, grasses and ferns as well as plants like hellebores. They will also avoid any plants that taste bitter or have a milky sap, like euphorbias, preferring the sweet growth of very young plants. So whilst plants are getting established, protect them against slugs and snails with barriers of copper tape or grit. Other great slug resistant plants are any with pungently fragranced leaves, so herbs such as lavender, parsley or rosemary are a good choice for the slug-free garden. Plants with growth that is hairy, waxy or glossy are also too tricky for slugs and snails to travel over, or for their tongues to rasp the surface, so go for hairy plants such as alchemilla, stachys, pulmonaria and geraniums, or glossy leaved plants like roses and fuchsias.

As well as choosing slug resistant plants it's also worth having a go at slug proofing your garden by using the aforementioned plants to disguise more vulnerable ones. When planting, carefully surround some of their favourite plants with slug resistant plants from the list above and slugs and snails should avoid breaking through your barrier plantings to get to the other tastier plants.

Choosing slug resistant plants is a simple, chemical-free, low cost way of avoiding these devastating pests, but if you must grow more than just slug proof plants in your garden, remember, vigilance is key and a twilight collecting prowl can work wonders!

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