Plants That Slugs Hate: Top Picks to Protect Your Garden

lavender - great option to keep slugs away

Gardeners and homeowners often find themselves in an epic battle against slugs, as these slimy creatures have a penchant for devouring a variety of plants. However, some plants have evolved to be less appealing to slugs, making them an excellent choice for you to minimize slug damage. Incorporating these slug-resistant plants into the garden can significantly reduce the need for extra slug control measures.

There are various factors that contribute to a plant’s resistance to slugs. It can be strong scents or rough textures that deter the slimy invaders. Exploring different plants and choosing those that slugs tend to avoid can help you maintain a thriving, slug-free garden. Here are some tips for protecting your plants from these unwelcome guests.

Why Slugs Hate Certain Plants

If you want to find the right plants that will keep those unwelcome slugs from your garden, you should probably start by looking into why slugs like (or we should say love) certain types of plants and hate other.

One reason slugs avoid specific plants is due to the presence of natural chemicals in some plant species that act as a repellent. These chemicals might taste unpleasant or cause a mild burning sensation to the slugs, deterring them from feeding on those plants. For example, the strong-scented compounds found in plants like lavender, rosemary, and mint can help to repel slugs and snails.

Another factor that can discourage slugs from feeding on certain plants is the plant’s texture. Slugs prefer smooth and tender leaves, so they’ll typically avoid plants with hairy, tough, or waxy leaves as they find it difficult to navigate and chew through the leaves. Some examples of plants with these textures include lady’s mantle, geraniums, and begonias.

In addition to chemical and texture factors, some plants possess a natural defense mechanism against slugs – they can produce their own slug-repelling substances. For instance, the secretion of slimy substances and the development of sharp, spiky hairs on the leaves or stems can act as a significant deterrent for slugs.

Top Plants That Deter Slugs

If you declared a war against slugs, consider planting some of these slug-repellent species.



Ferns are a great option for deterring slugs due to their tough, leathery leaves. Many ferns also have fronds that are unappetizing to slugs, making them a natural choice for a slug-resistant garden. Some popular fern varieties that repel slugs include the native lady fern, ostrich fern, and southern shield fern.


Geraniums provide a pop of color in the garden and have the added benefit of deterring slugs. The textured leaves and strong scent of geranium plants are off-putting to slugs and snails, which often avoid these garden favorites. Cranesbill geraniums, in particular, are known for their ability to repel slugs.


Lavender is not only a beautiful and fragrant addition to your garden, but it’s also unappealing to slugs. The strong scent of lavender acts as a natural deterrent, and its thick, woody stems make it difficult for slugs to access the plant’s tender leaves.


Rosemary is another aromatic plant that repels slugs. This fragrant herb is known for its long, narrow leaves and woody stems. Slugs are discouraged by the tough exterior and strong scent, making rosemary a useful addition to any garden plagued by these pests.


Sage is a versatile herb that not only adds flavor to meals but also serves as an effective slug deterrent. The thick, textured leaves of sage plants are unpalatable to slugs, keeping them away from your garden. Additionally, the pungent aroma adds an extra layer of defense against these slimy garden intruders.


By incorporating these slug-repellent plants into your garden, you can help create a more balanced ecosystem and enjoy a healthier, slug-free outdoor space.

Companion Planting to Protect Your Garden

Gardeners often consider companion planting as an effective method to keep their gardens thriving while reducing pests naturally. This approach involves growing specific plants together to mutually benefit each other and deter unwanted creatures such as slugs. Three notable plants that slugs tend to dislike include marigolds, alliums, and nasturtiums.



Marigolds are known for their vibrant colors and potent fragrance. They act as natural slug repellents by releasing a strong odor that discourages these slimy creatures from approaching. When incorporating marigolds into a garden, place them strategically around the plants you want to protect. Additionally, they attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs, which help control other pests. It is said that mites and slugs will generally avoid areas where marigolds are present according to the search result from Do Organic Watchdogs Work?.


Alliums, which include onions, garlic, and chives, are another excellent option for repelling slugs. Their pungent scent and taste make them unappealing to slugs. Aside from deterring slugs, alliums are known for their ability to enhance the growth and flavor of nearby plants. Interspersing alliums among your garden beds can provide a practical and visually pleasing natural barrier against slugs.



Nasturtiums are flowering plants that not only add color to a garden but also serve as a slug deterrent. While slugs avoid them, their vibrant flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Moreover, nasturtiums can act as trap crops, luring aphids and other pests away from more valuable plants. Planting them around the borders of your garden or near plants that are susceptible to slug damage can create a protective buffer.

By incorporating marigolds, alliums, and nasturtiums into a garden’s design, one can take advantage of their slug-repelling properties while also enjoying their beauty and other benefits. While companion planting is not a guarantee against slugs, these strategic plantings can be an effective part of an integrated pest management approach for a healthier, more visually appealing garden.

Creating Slug-Resistant Garden Beds

Creating a slug-resistant garden bed involves implementing various strategies to repel and prevent these slimy pests from destroying your plants. You can achieve this by using mulch and barriers, as well as introducing natural predators.

Using Mulch and Barriers

One effective method to deter slugs is incorporating mulch and physical barriers in your garden bed. Certain types of mulch, such as crushed eggshells or coarse sand, can create an uncomfortable surface for slugs to crawl on, discouraging them from approaching your plants. Additionally, placing copper tape around the garden bed or individual plant pots can also repel slugs, as they experience an unpleasant sensation when crawling over the copper.

Here are some types of mulch that can be used as barriers:

  • Crushed eggshells
  • Coarse sand
  • Gravel
  • Wood chips

Another barrier option is to create a “moat” around the garden bed by filling a shallow trench with water or beer. Slugs are attracted to the scent of beer and will end up drowning in it.

Natural Predators

Introducing natural predators into your garden is another effective way to keep slugs at bay. Some common predators that can help control slug populations include:

  • Hedgehogs
  • Birds
  • Frogs and toads
  • Ground beetles

To attract these predators, you can provide suitable habitats and food sources. For example, creating a small pond or water feature can attract frogs and toads, while planting berry-producing plants can entice birds to visit your garden.

By using mulch, barriers, and natural predators, you can create a slug-resistant garden bed that allows your plants to thrive without the threat of slimy intruders.

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