Growing succulents outdoors in warm climates can have several advantages, such as abundant sunlight and humidity, leading to vibrant colors. However, there are challenges like soil quality, unpredictable weather, and the presence of pests that need to be addressed to maintain healthy outdoor succulents.
Indoor succulents can also face pest issues like mealybugs, scales, and spider mites. In contrast, outdoor gardeners contend with slugs and snails, belonging to the mollusk family. While snails have shells and slugs do not, both leave a distinctive slime trail as they feed on succulent stems and foliage, making their presence evident. Every person who tends to succulents will encounter the issue of "how to get rid of snails & slugs on succulents" at some point in their gardening experience. So, This article provides multiple solutions with complete details. So lets start!
Causes of Snails and Slugs on Succulents
The presence of snails and slugs on succulents is not solely due to weather conditions. While they may become more active during rainy periods, several factors contribute to their appearance:
- ● Moisture Attraction: Succulents, though adapted to store water, can still have moist areas, especially in the soil. Snails and slugs are attracted to this moisture, making your succulents a tempting target.
- ● Leaf Feeding: These pests are herbivores and feed on plant leaves. Succulent leaves are often fleshy and provide a readily available source of food.
- ● Shelter: Snails and slugs seek shelter from extreme weather conditions and predators. The compact foliage of succulents can offer a refuge.
- ● Environmental Changes: Heavy rains and flooding can displace snails and slugs from their original habitats, leading them to seek new sources of food and shelter, including your succulent garden.
What are the dangers of these two animals to succulents?
Snails and slugs can be detrimental to succulents due to their herbivorous nature. They feed on the leaves, stems, and tender foliage of succulents, causing unsightly damage such as ragged holes and chewed edges. This not only diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the plants but can also impede their ability to photosynthesize and grow properly, potentially leading to stunted growth.
Moreover, these pests can carry and transmit plant diseases, introducing pathogens to the succulents. Their slime and fecal matter residues can attract other pests and promote mold and fungal growth, further compromising the plants' health. In severe infestations, snails and slugs can weaken succulents, making them more vulnerable to dehydration and stress. Therefore, protecting succulents from these pests is essential for their overall well-being.
7 Best Ways for Eliminating Snails and Slugs on Succulents
1. Hand Picking
If you're willing to invest some patience and effort, manual removal is an effective method. Start by wetting the infested areas with water in the evening to attract the snails. Once night falls, use a flashlight to spot and pick them off one by one. Wearing gloves is advisable for this task. Continue this routine for a week, placing the collected snails into a bucket filled with soapy water for disposal. Alternatively, you can create a diluted ammonia solution by mixing ammonia with water in a 1:10 ratio, then spraying it on the affected areas using a spray bottle.
To keep snails away from your plants, try using cold coffee. Just pour it into a spray bottle and apply it on the leaves, potting soil, or directly on the snails. Another option is to pour coffee grounds around the roots of plants that need protection. This method can also provide fertilization benefits to succulent plants.
3. Egg Shells
For an eco-friendly approach to snail control, use crushed eggshells. Scatter them around the pot or apply them directly to the plants as deterrents. They create a barrier that snails find difficult to navigate without using harmful poisons. This method is safe for pets and children, biodegradable, and can improve soil quality.
4. Poison Bait
If deterrents aren't sufficient, there are alternative options. Baiting is effective, available in pellets, meal, and liquid slurry forms. Scatter pellets and meal around plants or place them in damaged areas. Apply liquid slurry directly to plant sites, with lasting effects. Apply bait at night when snails are active. To enhance effectiveness, moisten the soil, making plants more appealing to snails. Apply bait with care, as it may contain poisons.
5. Beer Traps
Another effective method is the beer trap. Simply bury a small bowl or cup up to the rim in the affected area and fill it halfway with fresh beer. Snails are drawn to the yeast's fragrance and drown when they approach it. Empty the cup to remove them and keep refilling to deter snails, but be prepared to use some beer in the process.
6. Copper Screens
Consider using copper screens as an alternative if previous methods prove ineffective against snails. When snails encounter copper, it triggers a harmless electric shock response in their nervous system. Erect a buried copper screen for effective results—it's an affordable, eco-friendly option safe for pets and children. However, for larger gardens, costs may increase.
7. Grow plants that repel snails & slugs
Introduce snail and slug-repelling plants like Freesia, Daylilies, Azaleas, Foxgloves, Tansy, Hibiscus, mint, rosemary, fennel, coriander, and basil into your garden.
What are the favorite succulent varieties they love to eat?
Snails and slugs are not picky eaters when it comes to succulents, but some varieties may be more appealing to them due to factors like leaf texture, moisture content, and taste. While there's no definitive list of their favorites, here are some succulent varieties that may be more susceptible to snail and slug damage:
- ● Cotyledon Pendens: This trailing succulent has soft, fleshy leaves that can be attractive to snails and slugs. They may find it easier to navigate and feed on these leaves.
- ● Echeveria Laulensis: Echeverias, in general, have tender, rosette-shaped leaves that can be vulnerable to snail and slug feeding. Echeveria Laulensis, with its compact growth form, might be a target.
- ● Sedum: Many sedum varieties have succulent, succulent leaves that can be appealing to snails and slugs. Sedum morganianum (Burro's Tail) is one example.
- ● Aeoniums: Aeoniums often have dense clusters of fleshy leaves, making them potential targets for these pests.
- ● Sempervivum: These rosette-forming succulents have tender leaves that can attract snails and slugs.
While certain succulent varieties may be more appealing to snails and slugs due to their leaf texture and moisture content, these pests can potentially target any succulent if given the opportunity. To safeguard your succulents, utilize the recommended control methods, irrespective of the succulent variety. Moreover, maintaining a dry garden environment and regular debris removal can further deter snails and slugs from infesting your succulents.