Alphabetical Plant Listing


Deroceras Sp., Arion Sp., Milax Sp.

Host Plants

Slugs feed on many garden plants, such as hostas, annuals (such as petunias and marigolds), perennials, and vegetables, including beans, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

Regions impacted

Slugs are found on all continents except Antarctica.


A slug is a type of mollusk that is part of the class Gastropoda. They are characterized by their soft, slimy bodies and lack of a protective shell. Most slugs have two pairs of retractable tentacles on their heads, which they use to sense their surroundings and locate food. They move by using a muscular foot to propel themselves along the ground, leaving a trail of mucus behind them. Slugs feed on plants, fungi, and other organic matter, and they play an important role in many ecosystems as decomposers and herbivores. 

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a slug typically includes several stages: egg, juvenile, and adult.

  1. Egg stage: Slugs lay eggs in moist soil, which typically hatch in about 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the species and environmental conditions.

  2. Juvenile stage: After hatching, the juveniles are similar in appearance to adult slugs, but they are smaller and lack the reproductive organs of mature individuals. Juveniles grow and mature over several months, and they begin to lay eggs of their own once they reach adulthood.

  3. Adult stage: Adult slugs feed and reproduce until they eventually die. The lifespan of a slug varies depending on the species, but many species only live for one year.

Damage and Detection

Slugs can cause significant damage to crops, plants, and gardens. They feed on a variety of plants, including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and foliage, and they can quickly defoliate a plant or devour entire seedlings. In addition to eating plants, slugs can also damage the stem, leaves, and fruit of crops, making them unmarketable.

In agricultural areas, slugs can reduce crop yields and increase the risk of disease transmission, as their feeding and movement can create entry points for pathogens. In gardens, slugs can destroy ornamental plants, flowers, and lawns.

Slugs are most active at night and during damp, humid weather, and they can be especially damaging in greenhouses, where they have a protected environment with a steady supply of food. 

Prevention and Control

There are several methods for getting rid of slugs in a garden or agricultural area:

  1. Handpicking: This is a simple and effective way to remove slugs from your plants. Check for slugs at night, when they are most active, and pick them off by hand.

  2. Copper barriers: Copper strips placed around the base of plants can help to repel slugs, as they don't like the sensation of crawling over copper.

  3. Slug traps: Place shallow dishes of beer near your plants. Slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer and will crawl in, but they won't be able to crawl out and will drown.

  4. Diatomaceous earth: This is a powder made from the shells of tiny ocean creatures, and it cuts and dehydrates slugs when they come into contact with it. Sprinkle it around your plants to keep slugs away.

  5. Organic slug repellents: Products like crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, and wood ash can be spread around your plants to create a barrier that slugs will avoid.

  6. Biological control: Introduce predators such as ducks, chickens, or birds of prey to your garden, which will feed on slugs.

  7. Companion planting: Some plants help deter slugs, such as alliums (garlic, onions, chives), herbs (rosemary, thyme, mint), lavenderartemisia, or aromatic plants (scented geraniums, lemon balm).

  8. Chemical control: There are also chemical slug repellents and slug baits that can be used to control slug populations, but these should be used with caution, as they can also be harmful to other non-target species.

It is important to use a combination of methods to effectively control slug populations, as relying on a single method may not be enough.

Guide Information

Lisa, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

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