Slug Resistant Plants

Slugs can ravage a plant and they love the tender shoots of delphiniums, hostas and crave bedding plants. It's disheartening to find a lovely plant covered in slime trails and reduced to a few sticky branches.

It's true to say some gardens and gardeners suffer more from slugs than others, and no amount of slug defences keep them at bay. To fight the war against slugs, here are some tips. My favourite is beer traps, effective but smelly. All the various means of warding off slugs take time, and what if there isn't enough time or perhaps in some shadier and wetter gardens the slugs seem to win?

One answer is to choose plants the slugs don't choose. Some plants have better defences against slugs, which may be because they have hairy leaves, or are spiny. There are also plants which contain bitter substances which are repellant to slugs. We know Hosta is amongst the slug's favourite snack but there are slug resistant Hostas with tough leaves that even the raspy tongue of a slug cannot chew. There is an excellent selection of Hostas which are resistant to slugs and well worth growing.

Listed below are some easy to grow perennials which are resistant, but not infallible to slugs. It means when planning and planting, if slugs are a bugbear, rather than planting, say Lobelia cardinalis which has lovely red flowers, pick the Astilbe Fanal, illustrated below, which is also a lovely red, and the slugs will give it a miss. 

Click on the individual images for more information, including growing tips- there are other plants which are slug resistant. This is a selection of easy to grow perennial plants which flower reliably and require little or no maintenance.

Examples of slug resistant plants

Geranium is an easy to grow hardy perennial, most of which are herbaceous. 

Tolerant of most growing conditions and long flower read more

Allium is a (mostly) late spring flowering bulb which will return year after year, provided the growing conditions are not too wet. Read more,

Astilbe is a herbaceous perennial which grows best in semishade and will tolerate moist soils, where slugs often lurk. Read more.

Hydrangea are deciduous summer flowering shrubs which are shade tolerant and have large showy flowers. They are easy to grow read more.

There is a range of Poppies and different varieties suit different growing conditions but the slugs leave them all alone. Easy to grow and often self seeders read more.

Aquilegia is a self seeding perennial which flowers in early spring in a wide range of colours. Aquilegia is a grow anywhere plant read more. 

Nepeta is a summer flowering perennial which is tough, will grow almost anywhere, and is ignored by the slugs, but not always by cats. Read more.

Erigeron, a summer flowering herbaceous perennial is ideal for growing in cracks and crevices, walls and rockeries. An easy to grow self seeder read more.

Easy to grow, herbaceous perennial with lovely lime green foliage and bright flowers. It will grow almost anywhere read more.

Digitalis is a self seeding biennial, attractive to bees and butterflies and will re appear all around the garden. It is easy to grow, naturally a woodland plant, but tolerant of most growing conditions. Read More.

Sedum, probably the best plant for attracting butterflies and pollinators but no slugs. Late summer flowering it is easy to grow read more.

Video: Sedum A bee and butterfly magnet

Achillea is a summer flowering perennial, which has flat flower heads comprising hundreds of tiny flowers. There is a wide range of flowering colours, it is a trouble free plant read more.

The bees like Lavender but the slugs leave it alone as they do most of the herbs such Mediterranean as Rosemary and Thyme.

Lavender is easy to grow in the right conditions, dry well drained soil with lots of sun read more

Illustrated is Japanese anemones hupehensis Pamina, one of several lovely pink and white flowering anemones. They are herbaceous perennials which are easy to grow, a little too easy as they can be a bit of a garden thug. read more

As a general rule, slugs and snails are not interested in grasses. There are many to choose from, some of which mix well with the various slug resistant plants on this page, such as Alliums, Achillea, Lavender -read more.

Other slug resistant plants

Digitalis common name Foxglove a summer flowering biennial.

Thalictrum common name meadow rue, a tall herbaceous perennial with large fluffy flower heads.
Pulmonaria common name Lungwort, an early spring flowering perennial.

Pelargonium, also known as geranium, a summer flowering tender bedding plant.

Salvia a summer flowering perennial.

Agapanthus a showy summer flowering perennial.

last updated 01.03.2022