Before growing any new plants, gardeners will have to consider many things. For instance, the kind of pests that may attack plants as they grow and how to counter them. Speaking of plants, one popular plant which people like to grow is the cosmos. But, do slugs eat cosmos seedlings?
Yes, slugs do eat cosmos seedlings. They will eat a variety of plant seedlings as they are incredibly vulnerable with no ability to recover quickly.
It can be surprising to know that slugs feed on cosmos seedlings, given they do not like the plants when they have fully developed.
However, new, young plants are susceptible to slug attacks, and cosmos are no exception. If you are planning to grow cosmos in your garden, you will have to take more care during the beginning as they develop.
This is why many people recommend getting full-grown cosmos plants instead from your local garden centre if you tend to have a problem with slugs.
Do Slugs Eat Cosmos Plants?
While cosmos seedlings are susceptible to slug attacks, the same cannot be said about cosmos plants. Slugs do not like to consume cosmos plants because of the hairy foliage.
Cosmos plants have rough surfaces, which discourages slugs from climbing on them and eating them. If something is eating the cosmos plants in your garden, it cannot be slugs.
The cosmos plants also have a strong smell which slugs do not like. This is why many people use cosmos plants in their gardens to keep slugs out. Cosmos plants can be used to form a border in gardens to prevent slugs from entering.
Gardeners also place these plants among other vulnerable ones, so slugs stay away.
How Do You Protect Cosmos from Slugs?
Even if cosmos plants are not susceptible to slug attacks, the seedlings are vulnerable. It would be wise to learn about how to protect cosmos seedlings if you decide to grow them.
Often slug infestations in your seedlings are not extensive. Hence, if you have a few slugs on the cosmos seedlings, you can remove them by hand. But, if the slug infestation is too big, you will have to resort to other methods.
One way you can deal with slugs is by improving the ecosystem balance of your garden. You can do this by introducing and encouraging natural predators in your garden. Fortunately, slugs fall prey to a number of animals, including hedgehogs, frogs, and birds.
It would help to have a garden pond to encourage frogs. By doing so, frogs will also populate, which provides a higher chance for less slug damage.
You can ensure that you provide access to hedgehogs in your garden by making holes in fences. It would also help to leave out food for hedgehogs and birds, so they are attracted to your garden. Significantly, you will notice an overall fall in the slug population, giving your cosmos a chance.
Although it is not possible to eliminate slugs in one go, you can create a separate space for cosmos seedlings. All sorts of seedlings, including cosmos, are vulnerable to slug attacks. It would help to provide protection to plants by placing mesh or any fabric at the base so slugs do not enter from underneath.
You could even choose to grow them undercover in a cold frame or greenhouse where you can keep them protected far easier.
You can opt for using organic slug pellets in your garden. Chemical slug pellets are not a good idea because, apart from slugs, they will also harm the wildlife. Hence, it would be best to use organic slug pellets, which would help better plant life and get rid of slugs.
Another way to protect your cosmos seedlings is by using copper. You can get the copper mesh to put around the plant pots. The copper interacts with the slug slime, giving them an electric jolt. You can also wrap seedling pots with copper tape, apart from copper mesh.
Although the cosmos plant is not very popular with slugs, the same cannot be said about the seedlings. Slugs are attracted to new plants and seedlings, and the cosmos are no exception.
Hence, if you are starting to grow cosmos, you will have to be careful in the beginning stages as the seedlings are susceptible to slug attacks. This is why it is usually recommended to go for cosmos plants rather than seedlings for gardens.
Slugs do not consume cosmos plants because of the rough texture. The plant has hairy foliage, rough leaves, and a strong smell that drives slugs away. However, your cosmos seedlings are still at risk of getting eaten by slugs.
You can protect the seedlings by creating a separate space for them, using copper around the pots, or opting for organic slug pellets.
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