Slugs are the shell-free cousin of snails, both garden mollusks that can cause irreparable damage to your favourite vegetable and flower plants. Dozens of home remedies for slugs exist, but the most effective control for gardens with slug problems is to choose plants that slugs don't want to eat or that can handle a little munching. If slugs are hungry enough they may still nibble, but they are unlikely to destroy plants they normally avoid.
Some Slug Favorites
Slugs may not seem like picky eaters when your favourite hosta or your strawberry patch come under attack, but there are some plants that slugs favour more than others. These plants must be protected judiciously. They include basil, beans, cabbage, dahlia, delphinium, hostas, lettuce, marigolds, strawberries and most any seedlings or plants with succulent foliage. Most vegetable plants are tender enough to need to be watched carefully for slug damage.
Hostas are a favourite of both gardeners and garden slugs. The slugs chew holes in the leaves and make a general mess of the hostas, sometimes killing them. Because of this, gardeners have bred slug-resistant hostas that have tougher foliage and sometimes taste bad to slugs. Slug-resistant hostas include Krossa Regal and Love Pat.
Resistant Annuals, Bulbs and Perennials
Annuals, bulbs and perennials are at a greater risk for slug damage because they generally lack a woody stem. Still, many are resistant or avoided completely by slugs. Some of the most popular plants in this group are daffodils, impatiens, begonia, geraniums, oriental poppies and bleeding hearts.
Other Resistant Plants
Tender vines and ground covers are also at serious risk from slugs, because they are generally soft at ground level. Fortunately, some are relatively safe from slug activity. Slugs tend to avoid English ivy and periwinkle. Resistant shrubs include holly, lantana, lavender, cinquefoil, rosemary and viburnum. Trees are rarely affected seriously by slugs, but slugs do sometimes eat low-hanging fruits.