Alphabetical Plant Listing


Cornu aspersum, Cepaea sp.

Host Plants

Snails feed on a variety of plants and are considered to be generalist herbivores. Some common plants known as host plants for snails include lettuce, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, endive, carrots, celery, ferns, and hostas.

Regions impacted

Snails can be found all over the world and on all continents except for Antarctica. They can be found in various habitats, including forests, fields, gardens, and wetlands.


Snails are gastropod mollusks that belong to the class Gastropoda. They are known for their coiled shells and their slow, deliberate movement. Some of the most distinctive features of snails include:

  • Shell: Snails have a spiral-shaped shell that provides protection for their soft bodies. The shell is usually made of calcium carbonate and is secreted by a specialized organ called the mantle.
  • Mucus: Snails produce thick, slippery mucus that they secrete from their foot. This mucus helps them move smoothly over rough surfaces and provides protection from drying out.
  • Foot: Snails have a broad, muscular foot that they use for movement. The foot is capable of contracting and expanding, allowing the snail to move forward by extending and contracting the foot muscles.
  • Tentacles: Snails have two pairs of tentacles on their head, one pair of which is used for vision and the other for the smell. The tentacles are retractable, and the snail can withdraw them into the shell for protection.
  • Radula: Snails have a specialized tongue-like organ called the radula, which is covered in tiny, tooth-like structures. The radula is used for feeding, and the snail scrapes it against the surface of its food to remove bits of vegetation or algae.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of snails typically involves several stages, including:

  1. Egg laying: Most snails lay their eggs in the soil or on vegetation. The number of eggs laid can vary greatly between species, with some species laying only a few eggs while others lay hundreds or even thousands.

  2. Hatching: After the eggs are laid, they hatch into tiny snails called hatchlings. The time it takes for the eggs to hatch can vary between species, but it is typically several weeks to a few months.

  3. Juvenile stage: During this stage, the snail grows and develops, eventually reaching sexual maturity. The time it takes for a snail to reach sexual maturity can also vary between species, but it is typically several months to a few years.

  4. Reproduction: Once the snail reaches sexual maturity, it begins to reproduce. Snails are typically hermaphrodites, meaning that each individual has both male and female reproductive organs. They mate by exchanging sperm, and the fertilized eggs are laid in the soil or vegetation.

  5. Senescence: Snails typically have a lifespan of several years, although some species can live up to several decades. As they age, snails slow down and eventually die.

Damage and Detection

Snails can cause damage to crops, gardens, and natural vegetation by feeding on leaves, stems, and roots. They can also cause damage to structures, such as buildings and fences, by climbing on and eating surfaces that contain calcium, such as mortar.

Detection of snail damage can be done by observing physical signs, such as holes in leaves, stems, and roots or the presence of snail shells or mucus trails. In addition, snails can be detected by setting out traps or using baits, such as beer or a mixture of bran and yeast, which will attract snails to a specific area.

Once snail damage has been detected, there are several methods that can be used to control their populations.

Prevention and Control

Handpicking: This involves physically removing snails from the affected area and disposing of them elsewhere.

Physical barriers: Physical barriers, such as copper tape or mesh, can be placed around plants or structures to prevent snails from accessing them.

Traps: set beer traps or use boards as bait stations to lure and trap snails.

Natural predators: Certain species of birds, reptiles, and mammals, such as ducks, chickens, and hedgehogs, feed on snails and can be used to control snail populations.

Repellents: Use commercial snail repellents or sprinkle dried eggshells or coffee grounds around plants to deter snails.

Habitat modification: Creating an environment that is not conducive to snail survival can help to prevent or control snail populations. This can involve removing hiding places, such as rocks and piles of debris, and reducing the amount of moisture in the area. It's important to reduce moist, shady areas in the garden where snails like to hide and lay their eggs.

Plant selection: Choose plants that are less appealing to snails and slugs, such as fennel, garlic, and rosemary

Chemical controls: Chemical controls, such as snail baits, can be used to kill snails. These baits contain a toxic toxin to snails but are generally safe for other animals and humans.

Please note that snails are a protected species in many countries, and regulations may exist regarding the methods that can be used to control their populations. In addition, it's important to take an integrated approach to snail control, using a combination of methods for the most effective results.


Guide Information

allstars, 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

Find your Hardiness Zone

Find your Climate Zone

Find your Heat Zone


Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

Join now and start creating your dream garden!

Create a New Collection

Optional. For your reference.

Move Selected Plants to a Different Collection

Delete Collection

This field is required.

Rename Collection

This field is required.