In The Garden Now…..Pesky Slugs and Snails

Monday, July 20, 2020

Mouse Ears hosta
Golden Spike moss
Relocating Temptation

Text and photo by Victoria Gilleland

Have you ever had a problem with slugs and snails devouring your favorite hosta or some other precious plant you’ve been babying? We live on the edge of a wooded ravine in Lake Forest Park.

At twilight, particularly after a little rain, the hungry hoards bent on enjoying a tasty snack in our garden arrive to graze on what often turns out to be my favorite plants. It’s sooooo frustrating!

I’ve used slug bait and traps with a certain amount of success but I’ve found my best defense has been to move certain plants that are particularly attractive to the little pests from EZ access garden beds to pots on decks and patios.

Although slugs and snails can climb as evidenced by their slimy trails, it appears that most gastropods enjoy the convenience of low lying morsels. Very little damage has occurred in my containerized plants.

Since I’ve started potting my most vulnerable plants I’ve seen more of them mature into the beautiful specimens I was hoping for. An added bonus is that the treasured plant is closer to eye level where it can be more easily enjoyed.

Containers that are rough in texture and/or tallish seem to discourage our local slugs and snails. Metal containers seem less popular with our slug population as well. Remember that if a slug can sashay right up to one of their favorite plants at ground level they are going to dine there. They’re just looking for a quick meal so easy access wins!

'Blue Mouse Ears' Hosta and 'Golden Spike Moss' are particularly handsome together this summer in their potted abode. The lush lavender flowers are true standouts. The blue foliage is wonderful against the Golden Spike Moss. 

‘Blue Mouse Ears’ does have heavier, thicker leaves than some hostas. These tend to be less attractive to our slimy little friends. However 'Blue Mouse Ears' was not spared in the nightly eating frenzy of the perennial garden bed at our place.

Since relocating to a pot on a deck all is well. 'Blue Mouse Ears' has escaped the treacherous world of slugs and snails and has been enjoying the easy life on our south deck for the last 5 years.

Score one for the gardener!

Botanical Name: Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’
Selaginella kraussiana ‘Golden Spike Moss’

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 30 years. (vjgilleland@yahoo.com )



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