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Natural Ways to Stop Slugs & Snails from Eating Plants

Silver Trails and garden devestation – slugs and snails in the garden, now what?

Slugs and snails are a lot like us in that they find the produce we are growing in our gardens delicious! The problem of course is that we are probably not growing that produce for them, we are growing it for ourselves, our family, our friends and our neighbors…so how do we get rid of them without impacting our plants?

There are several different ways to keep slugs and snails off of your plants and out of your garden. The following methods are wonderful, natural alternatives to any number of harsh chemical applications available on the market.

rocks and mulch in the garden surrounding lavender

Add a layer of texture to your garden.

Slugs and snails are not big fans of bumpy roads. It is hard for them to navigate through rougher textures. By adding a layer of gravel, mulch or sharp sand (play sand is too fine) to your garden, it will deter the movement of slugs and snails throughout your garden and send them packing.

Use natural nutrients to ward off slugs and snails.

Many of us likely already compost our eggshells and coffee grounds, but before you add all of them to your compost pile, consider saving some for direct application in your garden. Just like adding gravel, mulch or rough sand helps to ward off slugs and snails, eggshells and coffee grounds create an unwelcome texture for these pests.

The added benefit of the nutrients these two options add to your soil is just a win/win! Apply ground eggshells and or coffee grounds (sure, it is perfectly fine to combine them!) in a thin layer between rows and/or around the base of your plants to protect them.

Garlic is another natural alternative for thwarting slugs and snails. Just like vinegar and water or lemon juice and water are excellent options for pest control in our gardens, mixing garlic and water in a spray bottle acts as a strong repellent for slugs and snails. When applying this method, use caution and spray a small test area prior to full application to ensure no damage is done to your plants when sprayed. Delicate leaves may burn easily if the mixture is too astringent.

All Natural Garden Soil Organic Plus

Kellogg Garden Organics

All Natural Garden Soil

**Product not available in AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT. For a comparable product in these states click here.

Gardener picking up growing mint in the garden

Herbs to the rescue.

As gardeners, we already know the many benefits of growing herbs for our own health, as companion plants and as natural pest deterrents. The same holds true when it comes to keeping slugs and snails out of our gardens. Excellent options for planting herbs that will keep these pests away are:

  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Parsely

Planting these herbs as barriers to their companion plants around the border of your garden or raised beds, will help create a natural “fence” to help keep slugs and snails out.

closeup of snail on a green stalk of an orange marigold

Can I set natural traps for my slugs and snails?

Snails and slugs love citrus and find it an irresistible treat. If you aren’t squeamish about hand collecting your intruders, save your citrus peels and lay them out upside down in your garden late in the day.

You will likely wake to find your slug and snail populations feasting on them. Some people simply hand collect them, peels and all and move the pests out away from the garden where they are unable to work their way back due to distance or they become natural prey for birds.

I know marigolds are excellent natural pest deterrents, is this true for slugs and snails?

While slugs are indifferent, snails are actually attracted to marigolds. If you plan to use marigolds as a natural barrier for your garden and snails are your main pest issue, you will want to plant your marigolds elsewhere.

As a general rule, slugs and snails are easy to prevent because they are quite visible. If you first notice slugs and snails in your garden, know that they have friends that are not far behind and it is never too early to implement any number of the natural remedies listed here.


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close up of snail crawling on a green leaf with water droplets
hand picking mint growing in the garden

6 Comments

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  1. Great information. I wished I would have seen this site earlier this year. Our garden is done now and the deer have been eating everything for the past 2 months. What do you recommend for keeping deer out of the garden. Thank you for all your great information on gardening.

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