Slugs are known to eat pretty much anything and everything in the garden. But does this include your favourite herbs? Do slugs eat basil?
Yes, slugs eat basil plants despite the plant’s purported pest-resistant abilities. Slugs are a common pest for basil plants as others are often deterred from it.
Slugs can be a common problem for many plants in a garden, but they’re specifically very problematic when growing any type of soft herb.
If you sense that your basil plants are being eaten by something, it’ll probably be a slug, as basil deters most pests away from it.
But, Isn’t Basil Pest Resistant?
Basil plants are aromatic with leaves that contain estragole and linalool, which result in the herb’s strong fragrance.
Another compound called eugenol is in basil, and it makes the leaves tasty for us but unplesant for many bugs in the garden, making basil a deterrent for most pests.
Basil doesn’t attract many pests because of its unappealing taste and smell, but that doesn’t mean the plant is invulnerable; basil plants are still vulnerable to certain pests and can be eaten and damaged by many garden pests.
Slugs are one of these pests that love to munch on basil leaves.
If slugs are eating your basil plants, there will be several signs with which you can identify if a slug is doing the damage.
Basil plants that slugs have eaten will have small irregular holes on the edges of the leaves and trails of slime on the stem and the leaves.
If the slug infestation is large, these slimy pests can completely wipe out a basil plant, so ensure their numbers are limited. A young plant can get wiped out overnight!
Do Slugs Eat Other Herbs?
There are certain herbs that slugs love eating besides basil, but as most herbs are effective pest deterrents, that repel slugs too, the list is rather short.
Besides basil plants, slugs love feasting on lemon verbena, young plants of parsley, dill, and sometimes marjoram.
Generally speaking, if the herb is soft, tender and usually grown as an annual, then it will be susceptible to damage from slugs.
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We’ve Put Together a Complete and Free Guide on How to GET RID of Slugs Finally! – Including Deterrents and Preventative Measures to Take:
Which Herbs Deter Slugs?
A wide variety of herbs deter slugs because of their strong smell, which is often unbearable to slugs.
Using slug-resistant herbs is also an eco-friendly way of dealing with a slug infestation. This way, you won’t have to use methods that involve chemicals that can be harmful to your garden and pets.
Below are a few plants which are (usually) resistant to slug damage:
Lavender not only looks pretty and has a great smell, but it’s also a great slug repellent.
Lavender oil is often used to make pest control for bugs, and its smell is so effective that you don’t have to grow it all over your garden to protect certain plants.
Ferns are a very low-maintenance plant and are very easy to care for. Slugs despise ferns because of their thick and tough leaves that are too difficult to digest for slugs.
Ferns prefer well-draining soil and can grow in partial sunlight or shade. There are many types of ferns, so you can get a couple of variations to suit your garden.
Royal ferns, cinnamon ferns, sword ferns, tree ferns, and staghorn ferns are some common garden options that are all slug-proof.
Rosemary is a great herb that has many uses. You can use it as an ingredient in the kitchen and plant it in your garden to secure it from slugs and other pests.
Rosemary is an effective slug repellent because slugs hate its strong smell and will avoid any area with rosemary in it. The leaves can be too coarse for a slug to digest too.
Slugs will hate any plant with a very strong scent, and since catmint has a very potent odour, it makes a great slug repellent.
Catmint effectively deters slugs and protects your garden from a slug infestation. Catmint grows really tall and can cover ground very quickly.
Which Plants Deter Slugs?
It’s not just herbs that work well to deter slugs, several plants can be used to deter slugs too:
Fuschia not only has breathtaking flowers but also is a great slug repellent as no slug will come near this pretty plant despite its colourful flowers.
Wormwood is one of the plants that slugs cannot tolerate at all and will run away whenever they see one. Silver Mound Wormwood and Powis Castle are two types of wormwood plants that are very effective slug deterrents.
If you want a beautiful plant that has aesthetic blooms and also want something that can deter the pesky slimy slugs that keep ruining your plants, then hydrangeas are your answer.
Geraniums are very commonly used slug deterring plants. They’re effective at repelling slugs because of the defensive barrier on their leaves that makes them indigestible to slugs.
The stems of cranesbill geraniums are rough and hairy, instantly putting slugs off them.
When it comes to slugs and their ability to eat basil, you may find the following FAQs useful:
Yes, slugs will eat Thai basil. The leaves are soft and tender, making them the perfect texture for a slug to munch through.
Greek basil is not safe from slug damage, unfortunately. Slugs and snails will both eat their way through a whole Greek basil plant in no time.
Basil plants can deter bugs and insects but not slugs, so a large slug infestation can greatly damage your basil plants despite their bad taste and strong smell. A slug infestation can wipe out your basil plants, so ensure you deal with the problem quickly.
Below are some of the sources of information we used to put this article together:
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden