I love pottering in the greenhouse and garden and listening to classic rock with my Labradoodle, Florrie.
Slugs and snails are my main garden pest
Slugs and snails are the biggest pests in my garden. Planting out young plants can be the equivalent of offering a plate of chocolate biscuits to these slimy creatures. All your hard work lovingly planting and raising seedlings can be wiped out in one night of destruction! Similarly, plug plants from supermarkets and garden centres become eye-wateringly expensive once slugs and snails have munched their way through a few.
Slug pellets are not an option
There are thousands of slugs in the soil of your garden. They tend to strike at night when everyone is tucked up in bed! There are many ways to try and control them. Some are more successful than others. As a dog owner, slug pellets are not an option. I do not want Florrie Labradoodle making herself ill eating pellets thinking they are a tasty snack! Slug pellets can also be harmful to hedgehogs who are a gardeners’ friend as they will eat many of your slugs and snails!
Grow plants that slugs and snails hate
There are some young plants that slugs and snails devour with relish. Marigolds, delphiniums, sweet peas, sunflowers and dahlias can be eaten back to the stalk by night time raids from slugs. Other types of young plants remain untouched. They must have a taste or smell that slugs and snails dislike. Over the years I have discovered which plants slugs eat and which they avoid in my garden. Here are my top recommendations for the best flowering plants to grow that slugs and snails hate!
Fuchsias are one of my favourite garden plants to grow. They have masses of pendant shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple, red and white all summer long. They come in a variety of sizes from tall plants that are almost like a hedge to trailing varieties which are perfect for hanging baskets. Their flower sizes vary too from slim single petal types to big, bold, jumbo flowers. The hardy varieties grow back year after year - some of my fuchsia plants are over 20 years old! Best of all, slugs and snails have avoided them for all this time!
I have found both the annual bedding plant pelargonium and the hardy perennial Cranesbill to be resistant to slugs and snails. Occasionally they have a nibble at the leaf of a newly planted young bedding plant but they generally don’t destroy the whole plant. The sprawling ground covering cranesbill tends to be a good hiding spot for snails but at least they do not eat the plant! All geraniums are really easy to grow and look after and reward you with a long flowering season.
I always grow antirrhinums, or snapdragons as they are commonly known, every year as they are so simple to grow. In fact they self seed so well in my garden that I rarely have to raise new plants myself. I recognise the two pear shaped starter leaves of a snapdragon seedling and know I will soon get a new plant covered in colourful flowering spikes for ‘free’! They are tough little plants that even grow and flower in the poorest and dryest of soil conditions. The added bonus is that slugs and snails leave them alone!
Another slug resistant plant that self seeds in my garden is the aquilegia. It is often known as columbine or granny’s bonnet! I have only ever bought one packet of seed. After that they kept reappearing in my garden year after year! They have a ‘clover’ leaf shape which is easy to spot When small. They cross-fertilise so it is always exciting to see what colour they will be! I have had a full range from pale yellow to deep purple and some bi-colours too!
My final recommendation for a reliable plant that slugs and snails hate is the penstemon. Penstemons are perennials that have a mass of pink, red and blue flowering spikes similar in shape to a foxglove. Cut off the flowering heads once they have finished and you get a second and sometimes third flush of flowers by summers’ end. They are tough little plants, they don’t mind wet winters followed by baking hot summers. Cuttings ‘strike’ quite easily so you can share with friends!
I wish you luck in the never ending battle against slugs and snails and hope these suggestions bring you success! If you have your own flowering plants to recommend then please let me know!