How to Get Rid of Slugs

Image source: Pixabay

Slugs are one of the worst nightmares to new and experienced gardeners. They destroy plants by feasting on the foliage, flowers, tubers, and bulbs. They also bite vegetables and fruits like strawberries, leaving them unattractive. Young and tender herbaceous plants are highly at risk during the spring and fall seasons. If left unattended, slugs can multiply in numbers and can devastate a vegetable plant within a few days. And destroy your entire garden within a few weeks. 

If you are not keen, you may not notice slugs infestation in your garden. This is because slugs are nocturnal; they are active during the night. Luckily, it is easy to identify their presence in your garden; watch out for silvery-white trails and irregular holes in the leaves. To detect them early, conduct regular inspections of your garden.

Types of Plants Affected By Slugs

Image source: Pixabay

Slugs infest a range of plants that have fleshy foliage and stems. They include:

  • Ornamental flowers: They include violets, lilies, marigolds, cleome, ageratum, petunias, hostas (Funkia), delphiniums (larkspur), sunflowers, and dandelions. 
  • Vegetables: Cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, young plants of spinach, lentils, chili plants, tomato leaves and fruits, sweet peas, and cabbage leaves. 
  • Fruit trees: Slugs love ripening fruits of strawberries, tomatoes, squash, grapefruits, and watermelons. They love fruits that are close to the ground. 

If you have any of the plants above in your garden, inspect them during spring and fall for slugs infestation.

How to Control Slugs?

Squishing or stepping on slugs alone will not solve their infestation in your garden. The uneliminated eggs will mature to adult mollusks that will feast on your plants in the garden. Use the following methods interchangeably to eliminate slugs from your garden completely;

  • Use garlic water. Make a solution of crushed or blended garlic bulbs and water, allow it to settle for some hours. Sieve the content and spray your plants with the solution. The garlic solution will repel and kill slugs in your garden.
  • Spray ammonia in your garden. Make a solution of ammonia and water by mixing one proportion of ammonia into five proportions of water. Spray the solution on your garden soil; this will deter and kill slugs in the garden. Ammonia will also improve the fertility of your garden soil.
  • Make a vinegar-water solution. Mix equal proportions of vinegar and water and spray the solution directly unto the slugs. This solution contains acetic acid, which will dry and kill the slugs.
  • Sprinkle salt on them. A quick way of killing slugs is by sprinkling salt on them. However, you should be keen not to overdo it as salt can adversely affect your plants.
  • Use the eco-method. Introduce slug predators into your garden. Animals like chickens, birds, badgers, and hedgehogs can greatly reduce the population of slugs in your garden.
  • Apply nematodes to your garden soil. Nematodes are micro-organisms that dwell in the ground and are parasites to slugs. The nematodes produce bacteria which decomposes the slugs from within.
  • Use chemicals to control. Apply molluscicides as bait on your plants. The best time to apply this bait is during spring or fall when slugs are active. When slugs ingest or touch the molluscicides, their body functioning becomes inhibited hence their death.

How to Prevent Slugs Infestation in Your Garden?

You can prevent slugs from infesting your garden by;

  • When buying new plants or potting soil, do a thorough inspection. Ensure there is no slugs infestation.
  • Use plants that repel slugs. Plant crops like rosemary, ferns, lavender, and wormwood naturally repel slugs. Plant them around your garden to deter slugs infestation.
  • Apply crushed eggshells in your garden. Slugs have soft bodies that cannot slide over crushed eggshells due to the sharpness of the shells. This will keep them off your garden,
  • Eliminate moist areas in your garden. Slugs love humid environments, remove any mulching, frequently turn rocks over, and clear out weeds to create an inhabitable place for slugs.
  • Place seaweeds around your garden or containers. Seaweeds make a natural repellant for slugs. Whether it’s in powder form or fresh, it will repel slugs.


Slugs can be such a nuisance to your garden. Combine any of the above techniques to eliminate and protect your garden from its infestation. If the slugs infestation becomes rampant, go for chemical solutions like metaldehyde and Iron EDTA. Subscribe to our blog today for more gardening tips.  

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