Which vegetables are slug resistant?


As a child, I played every day in the garden in front of my house in my home town of Rheinlandpflanz. There, my interest in nature grew, as did my aspirations to become a natural scientist. I now study horticultural phytotechnology and am currently writing my bachelor’s thesis on the topic of crop protection in orchards. Since living Berlin, I have become particularly interested in improving the quality of life in cities with the help of plants.

Favourite fruit: figs, passion fruit, berries, limes and oranges.
Favourite vegetables: potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, pickles, lamb’s lettuce and rocket.

Snails like to feast on our gardens, but not all plants are to their liking. Some vegetables are avoided by them and can even protect other plants.

Snail on a plant
Some kinds of vegetables are dislikeable for snails [Photo: Marija Stepanovic/ Shutterstock.com]

Probably every gardener is filled with pride when the first seedligs start to sprout. At the same time a queasy feeling spreads, because the tender seedlings are susceptible to pests. A great fright is often caused by snails in the flower bed. Because they like to eat tender little plants. Primarily it is slugs that devour the vegetation. Find out which vegetables snails do not like in this article.

Garlic against snails?

The allium garlic (Allium sativum), like the related onion (Allium cepa), is resistant to slug feeding. The intense smell deters the slimy fellows so much that sometimes even tasty neighboring plants are left alone. Accordingly, garlic against snails helps extraordinarily.

Garlic to fight snails
Snails do not like garlic at all [Photo: kg11/ Shutterstock.com]

Do snails eat tomatoes?

Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are occasionally eaten by snails, primarily slugs. Young plants are particularly affected and fruits are also partially hollowed out by them. Creeping or bushy plants on the ground are more at risk because they are in close proximity to the snails. Larger, healthy plants are often avoided. The reason for this are small hairs on the green parts of the plant, the so-called trichomes. They release substances that are unpopular with various potential pests. In addition, a high solanine content in unripe fruits, common to all solanaceous plants (Solanaceae), protects against feeding. Many modern tomato varieties produce fewer repellents. So the choice of variety also influences how readily certain tomatoes are eaten by slugs.

Do snails like cucumbers?

Young cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus) are of interest to snails, but older plants with defensible, spiny trichomes are rarely eaten. At the latest, when juicy fruits were formed, even large cucumber plants are again at risk. After all, snails love to gnaw on the water-rich fruit. If a cucumber plant grows in a creeping manner and thus lies on the ground over a large area, the risk of slug infestation is higher. Therefore, it is advisable to let the cucumber plants tendril upwards.

Cucumber to fight snails
Cucumbers can be tied up with climbing aids to avoid slug contact [Photo: AMV_80/ Shutterstock.com]

Do snails eat kohlrabi?

Yes, slugs eat kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes). If the tuber is already nibbled at a young stage, large holes appear. Particularly problematic is when the vegetation point – colloquially called the heart – is damaged. Then kohlrabi tuber may not form at all, but only grow leaves. Kohlrabi therefore needs a good slug protection at the young plant stage. Especially young plant’s leaves are especially appatising to snails.

Do snails like chard?

Chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris) is avoided by snails. Not even the young plants are of interest.

Chard to fight snails
Snails do not like chard [Photo: Peter Turner Photography/ Shutterstock.com]

Do snails eat celery?

Celery attracts snails only as a young plant. From a height of about 20 cm, the risk of snails eating celery decreases.

In addition, what vegetables do snails not eat?

Generally disliked by snails are plants containing tannins and bitter substances or plants with essential oils. These include the following vegetables:

  • Artichokes (Cynara)
  • Chicory (Cichorium intybus var. foliosum)
  • Endive (Cichorium endivia)
  • Peas (Pisum sativum) from a height of 20 cm
  • Lamb’s lettuce (Valerianella)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Garden onion (Allium cepa)
  • Pumpkin (Cucurbita) from 20 cm high
  • Leek (Allium porrum)
  • Radicchio (Cichorium intybus var. foliosum)
  • Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
  • Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
  • Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
  • And some more

In addition, a variety of flowers and herbs are avoided by the little animals. You can read about what these are in our article on slug resistant plants.

Vegetables that snails do not like
Snails will avoid lambs’ lettuce [Photo: barmalini/ Shutterstock.com]

It is good to know which vegetables are avoided by snails. However, hardly any gardener would like to limit themselves purely to plants that the small mollusks do not like. If snails do appear in the bed, you can consult our article on how to get rid of slugs and snails.

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