Finding plants that are slug-proof is quite a tricky business. So, let’s take a closer look at one of the most popular bedding plants and ask ourself: Do slugs eat begonias or will they be safe from damage and destruction?
No, generally, slugs do not eat begonias. Begonias are one of the only flowers in the garden that are fairly slug resistant.
Will Slugs Eat Begonias?
Compared to many other plants, begonias are relatively slug resistant. Many gardeners have said that they have had fewer problems with slugs when growing begonias than other kinds of bedding plants.
That being said, begonias will still be eaten by slugs if the slugs are hungry enough. They will not eat the flowers, but they will eat the leaves, preventing the plants from growing and can be easily fatal to them.
Why Don’t Slugs Eat Begonias?
We’re not entirely sure why slugs do not eat begonias, but it is possibly to do with their texture. Begonias have leaves similar to succulents and are quite rubbery in their texture.
Slugs don’t like to travel across that kind of texture, so it is likely that they do not go after begonias unless they are easy to reach, and other sources of food are scarce.
What Other Flowers Will Slugs Leave Alone?
Begonias are not the only plants that appear to be slug-repellent in nature. Whilst it is difficult to find plants that will not be bothered by slugs, there is a short list here for you of some plants that are less likely to be targeted by slugs.
Wormwood has a strong smell which is the likely reason for its slug-deterrent abilities. It is a great foliage plant that produces lovely silver leaves, and it works for a great lining plant to surround flowerbeds and keep slugs away from them.
The reason for this plant’s popularity is likely also the reason for its resistance against slugs. The leaves of this plant are hairy, and this is why they have their name, lamb’s ears.
The fluffy, hairy texture of these leaves feel like lamb’s ears and whilst that is lovely for humans, it is not nice for slugs.
Because of the way they travel, certain textures are very uncomfortable for slugs, and so lamb’s ears are protected from slugs as they will not travel across the plants, nor will they eat them.
Geraniums are resistant from slug infestations for the same reason as lamb’s ears, their texture. Geraniums have hairy stalks and slugs do not like to travel over them and they would much less like to eat them.
Geraniums make for good bedding plants and they can be interspersed with other plants to help protect them from slug infestations.
When we say geraniums, we are referring to the cranesbill variety with their hairy stems.
Rosemary is a great little herb to grow, it is hardy, it smells nice, it flowers and it even repels slugs. Rosemary is believed to repel slugs because of its strong smell, so growing it close to areas of vulnerable flowers is a good idea to help keep them protected from any hungry slugs.
Whilst these plants are all primarily slug resistant, unfortunately, we cannot guarantee any of them to be completely free of slugs at all times. If the slugs are hungry enough, they are likely to eat anything, including the plants listed above.
That being said, growing these plants will still help to largely reduce the slug population that you find in your garden.
What Kind of Animals Eat Begonias?
So, we’ve established that the likelihood is that it might not actually be slugs that are eating your plants.
Below is a short list of some other common garden pests that may be responsible for eating your begonias and how you can deal with them to help protect your plants.
Much like slugs, snails will eat almost any plant, but they seem to be less picky when it comes to begonias. Snails are likely to eat the leaves of your begonias rather than the flowers and they are most likely going to try and get to your begonias overnight.
You can easily repel snails by surrounding your begonia bedding plants with gravel as it is an uncomfortable terrain for them to cross.
Aphids are tiny insects that are usually green or brown in colour. These insects do not actually eat the plants themselves, but they do suck the sap from the plant leaves which damages the leaves, preventing your plant from growing.
In large numbers, they can easily be fatal to your plants. thankfully, aphids can easily be removed by hand or with a blast of water from a hose.
Spider mites are often confused with aphids as they are similar in size and usually a dark colour. Spider mites are very harmful to plants and can easily become a pest to your begonias.
The best way to deal with spider mites is to use handmade insecticidal soap. All you need is some liquid dish soap and some water.
Making your own insecticidal spray is much better for the environment as it contains far fewer harmful chemicals, but it still does the job of ridding your plants of pests.
To summarise, here are a few key facts to remember from this piece. Slugs will eat the leaves of begonias, but they are primarily ignored by slugs. Other plants that slugs do not like to eat include Lamb’s ears, geraniums and rosemary.
If your begonias are being eaten then the likely culprits may be snails, which can be deterred by the use of gravel, or aphids and spider mites, which can be removed by hand or killed using handmade insecticidal soap.
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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