10 Plants Slugs Love To Eat & 5 Ways To Keep Them Off

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If you have a garden, you know the struggle of keeping slugs away from your favorite plants. Let us walk you through some of the top plants these slimy garden visitors love to munch on and a few effective ways to protect your green treasures. Here we go.


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Slugs are big fans of hostas. These leafy perennials, with their lush foliage, are like a gourmet meal for slugs. The thicker and more tender the leaves, the happier the slug. If your hostas look like they have been through a paper shredder, slugs are likely the culprits.


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Your beloved basil is not just a favorite of yours but of slugs, too! They are attracted to its soft, aromatic leaves, often leaving you with a skeleton of what once was a vibrant herb plant. This can be really frustrating, especially if you were planning to whip up some fresh pesto.


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Though marigolds are often recommended as a repellent for various pests, slugs seem to disregard that memo. They are particularly fond of young marigold shoots. You might notice the telltale signs of slime trails or missing seedlings overnight. Marigolds attract slugs early in their growth stage, often before they can develop their pest-repellent properties.


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Dahlias, with their flashy blooms, attract not only admirers but also unwanted dining guests like slugs. They particularly enjoy nibbling on the tender petals and leaves, often ruining the aesthetic appeal of these beautiful flowers. Slugs are drawn to dahlias both for their moisture-rich petals and the shelter provided by their dense foliage.


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It goes without saying that lettuce is a slug magnet. This is especially true for softer varieties like butterhead or romaine. If you have ever grown lettuce, you might have noticed how quickly slugs can decimate your crop, turning your lettuce bed into a slug feast. Lettuce’s high water content and soft leaves make it an easy and appealing target for slugs.


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Cabbage, especially the young, tender leaves, is another favorite for slugs. If you are growing cabbage, you might find large, irregular holes in the leaves or even entire seedlings missing overnight. This is a common sight in many vegetable gardens. The thick, nutrient-rich leaves of young cabbage are especially vulnerable to slug attacks.


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Who does not love strawberries? Well, slugs do too! They are particularly fond of the juicy fruits and young leaves. You might notice the berries have been eaten right as they are about to ripen, which can be incredibly frustrating after you have waited all season for them. Slugs often target the soft fruit close to the ground, spoiling the harvest before it can be picked.


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Sunflowers are not just a treat for the eyes and the birds; slugs enjoy them, too. They tend to munch on the tender young stalks and leaves, and if the infestation is bad enough, they can stunt the growth of these towering beauties. Young sunflowers are particularly susceptible because their stalks are soft and filled with sap, a slug favorite.


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Zinnias, with their vibrant, colorful flowers, are also susceptible to slug damage. Slugs typically attack the young sprouts and the lower leaves of mature plants. If left unchecked, they can cause significant damage, leaving the plants looking ragged and unhealthy. Zinnias’ tendency to grow in dense clusters makes them attractive shelters for slugs during the day.


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Last but not least, parsley is another herb that slugs find irresistible. They will chew through the leaves, leaving you with plants that look like they’ve been peppered with holes. This can be particularly disheartening if you use parsley frequently in your cooking. Parsley’s rich, nutrient-packed leaves are a high-energy food source for slugs. Now, here are 5 ways to keep slugs off your plants.

Barrier Methods

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Create physical barriers to deter slugs. Something as simple as crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth spread around the base of your plants can work wonders. Slugs dislike crawling over these sharp materials, and it is a safe, natural way to protect your garden. Regularly replenishing these materials ensures they remain effective throughout the season.

Copper Tape

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Wrap copper tape around the pots or near the base of your plants. Slugs experience a slight electric shock when they touch copper, which deters them from crossing over. It is like an invisible fence for slugs! Ensure the tape remains free of dirt and debris to maintain its effectiveness.

Hand Picking

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It might not be the most pleasant task, but hand-picking slugs can be very effective. Do this during the evening or early morning, when slugs are most active. Drop them into a bucket of soapy water to say goodbye. Consistency with this method can drastically reduce slug populations over time.

Beer Traps

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Yes, slugs like beer as much as some people do! Bury a container in the ground so that the rim is level with the soil surface, and fill it with beer. The yeast attracts slugs, they fall in and can’t get out. It is a simple trap that can reduce the slug population significantly. Change the beer every few days to keep the trap fresh and effective.

Encourage Natural Predators

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Attract slug predators to your garden. Birds, frogs, and hedgehogs eat slugs. By creating a wildlife-friendly garden, you can have natural slug control. Small ponds, birdhouses, and some wild corners in your garden can invite these helpful creatures. Planting native species can also attract more native predators, which can help control the slug population naturally.


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