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strawberry-slugs and snails love plants and fruits

Plants That Snails and Slugs Like to Eat | Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers

Vegetables, herbs, and flowers that slugs love

To save a lot of time and trouble, here’s a simple trick:

Don’t grow plants that snails and slugs love to eat.

Slugs and snails are usually selective and there are some flowers and vegetables that they simply can’t resist eating.

In this article, you’ll discover which plants are their favorite food so that you can avoid growing them in the future.

However, I’d also like to introduce a completely different approach here: ‘the sacrificial bed strategy’.

If you’re looking for slug-resistant plants, you’ll find more information here:

What vegetables do snails and slugs not like to eat
 Which vegetables and herbs do slugs not like to eat? Which flowers and perennials are slug-resistant?

The sacrificial bed strategy

An interesting idea is to create a so-called ‘sacrificial bed’ for all slugs and snails to enjoy.

If you plant a bed and fill it with the plants they like most, then most of them will gladly stay there and leave the other plants in peace.

Personally, I consider this to be one of the cleverest methods of slug control.

slug in the garden flowers
The sacrificial bed distracts the slugs.

In the sacrificial bed, snail life traps can be set up, to collect and relocate the snails easily.

If there are certain gates through which slugs and snails enter the garden, the bed could be placed there, so that they’re caught before they reach the vegetable garden.

The danger, however, is that this could attract even more slugs and snails.

So, you must make sure that a sacrificial bed really does contain enough space and plants so that the slugs and snails are satisfied and aren’t interested in migrating to other flower and vegetable beds.

This strategy works only if there’s enough space available.

The following lists show which plants would be perfect for a special slug bed.

slug collar snail
Beans are slug magnets. They can be protected by slug collars.

Absolute slug magnets

  • green salad (lettuce, Iceberg/Crisphead, looseleave – red varieties are more resilient)
  • almost all types of cabbage (Brussels sprouts, Savoy cabbage, white cabbage, red cabbage, pointed cabbage, Chinese cabbage, etc.)
  • strawberries (not the leaves, but the fruits)
  • pepper plants
  • zucchini, courgettes (unfortunately, also the fruits)
  • pumpkin (especially the young plants, rarely the fruits)
  • cucumbers (as long as they’re still small)
  • kohlrabi (cabbage turnip)
  • beans (bush and running varieties)
  • mustard
  • celery (especially the young plants)
  • buckwheat
  • cress.
slug fence
slug barrier protects vulnerable plants.

They also like (second choice)

  • lentils
  • radishes
  • chili plants
  • spinach (young plants)
  • carrots
  • asparagus
  • peas (seedlings).
slug collar
For herbs slug collars are a protective ring.

Herbs that slugs like to eat

Most herbs aren’t afraid of snails.

A herb garden, therefore, isn’t usually a place where a lot of slugs and snails can be found.

The list of herbs that slugs love is therefore short:

  • basil
  • lemon verbena
  • parsley (young plants)
  • dill (cucumber herb)
  • marjoram (sometimes).
flowers and plants slugs love
Slugs love marigold flowers.

Which flowers do slugs and snails like to eat?

Flowers are particularly suitable for a snail-catching or sacrificial bed.

Here you’ll find a short list of flowers that are usually attacked first.

Fortunately, there’s a much longer list of flowers that snails don’t particularly like.

These snail-resistant varieties are therefore easy to avoid.

The level of attraction, even for the following list, depends on:

  • variety/species
  • age (young plants are normally endangered)
  • health/strength (sick plants are vulnerable)
  • season
  • location
  • surrounding plants.
hosta funkia slugs like to eat
Hosta/Funkia plants are slug magnets.

Slugs’ favorite flowers

Flowers with the power to attract slugs:

  • marigolds
  • delphiniums (larkspur)
  • hostas (Funkia)
  • dahlias
  • zinnias
  • lupins (lupines)
  • sunflowers
  • dandelions
  • petunias
  • bellflowers (Campanula)
  • asters (a big difference in varieties)
larkspur-slugs favourite food flower
Slugs and snails love larkspur.

Snails also like these species

(if there’s nothing better on offer)

  • Baby’s breath (Gypsophila)
  • clematis
  • daylilies (Hemerocallis)
  • irises (depending on variety and season)
  • mallow (hollyhock, Malva)
  • Coreopsis (tickseed)
  • chrysanthemums
  • marigold flower (Calendula)
  • Datura (moonflower)
  • summer ragwort (leopard plant)
  • gazania
  • Madonna lily
  • woodland sage
  • tansies
  • Rudbeckia (coneflowers)
  • burning love (Maltese cross)
  • tree mallows (lavatera)
  • Vicia (vetches).
electric slug fence connection
An electric slug fence can be installed.

How can you protect these varieties?

If you really like these flowers or you’re a vegetable gardener, there are several ways of protecting vulnerable plants.

Since beer traps and slug pellets help for only a short time but are counterproductive in the long term, using them isn’t helpful.

It’s better to use slug barriers and to attract natural enemies.

Barriers for slugs and snails

A garden cloche will keep slugs out: Check prices on Amazon

Mechanical obstacles such as slug collars, copper rings or garden cloches are easy to set up and keep even the snails’ favorite foods safe.

Particularly effective are slug fences made from galvanized metal. They can protect beds for many years.

With a little skill, it’s also possible to build an electric slug fence.

You can also do many little things yourself. You’ll find some upcycling ideas here: Slug control DIY.

In addition, you can surround a breeding bed with wood or stones and then protect it with Schnexagon – a new protective anti-slug coating that’s also suitable for raised beds.

Attracting natural enemies

It’s in your long-term interest to make the garden resistant to snails by trying to attract as many enemies as possible to the garden.

A near-natural garden that contains a large variety of species is usually well prepared against snail or slug population booms.

If snails have many natural enemies, they can’t multiply explosively.

You’ll find more information here:

ecology promote biodiversity planthedgehog cup in the garden
 Promoting biodiversity in the garden Attracting hedgehogs to your garden

Using life traps

A quick, simple method is to collect and relocate the slugs.

This is best done with snail traps (without beer).

You’ll find more information here:

slug trap snail trapIndian runner ducks eat slugs and snails
Snail life trapsEffective slug control

Slug control recommendations

Copper Mesh FenceSlug Fence Set: Medium – 6m²Sheep Wool Pellets
Check prices on AmazonCheck prices on Amazon (Europe)Check prices on Amazon

Last update: February 10, 2021

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Glad you are here!

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Alexander Boeckmann

Gardening in harmony with nature.

6 thoughts to “Plants That Snails and Slugs Like to Eat | Vegetables, Herbs, and Flowers”

  1. Hi there. You have got spinach, peas and cucumber in the list of plants that slugs hate as well as the list of ones that they love. Which is it? I want to put slug resistant plants in a sluggy area of my garden, rather than kill them. Thanks, lisa.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      thank you for your comment. Their seedlings are vulnerable. Normally, they surpass the critical stage after two weeks and develop a resistance to slugs. This also depends on the variety you use. Hence, to be safe you better don’t use them in sluggy gardens. Or you protect their seedlings with slug collars or slug fences until they grow stronger.
      May you and your plants be happy and healthy,

  2. I surround my raised beds and planters with copper mesh. Slugs will not crawl over copper. It works beautifully.

  3. This is my last year at condo, so I don’t want to do something permanent, like copper. Also, I’d like to know of a quick effective chemical solution. The slugs have attracted carter snakes, and we are now a shedding station. I’ve counted 6,next to the building, not including a black racer. I am sure there are more than 6. And, I mean NEXT to the building. Management wastes money with sprays, that they won’t apply as frequently as the package directs, and which are worthless anyway. The slugs munch on the flowers, and, I assume, the snakes munch on the slugs, although, from what I’ve seen, the snakes are either well fed or don’t like them, as I’ve watched them pass them.

    I’ve tried sand, with little effect. I spray with Dawn, which works until there are several days of rain. And, now that there are so many snakes, I’m beyond natural, time intensive remedies.

    Also, there are things I can’t control, like using mulch, and things I can’t do, like copper.

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