Slugs will eat a large number of different plant species, both alive and dead. But do slugs eat dahlias? Or are they safe from the usual slug damage?
Yes, slugs do eat dahlias, unfortunately. Dahlias are not the easiest flower to grow so it can be depressing to come into the garden to see them all ruined by slugs.
Do Slugs like Dahlias?
You may be surprised to hear that there are actually a number of plant species that slugs dislike. However, dahlias are not one of these plants. Slugs love to eat dahlias and can, quite quickly, cause lots of damage to your plants.
If you already have lots of slugs in your garden, then even growing dahlias in the first place can be quite a difficult task. Now that we know that slugs like dahlias, let’s have a look at ways to try and protect them from these notorious garden pests.
How Can You Keep Slugs Away From Dahlias
There are a few main categories into which slug deterrents fall. We’ll divide the possible solutions into these categories and then look in further detail at the specific examples.
These categories are slug traps, deterrent terrain and repellent smells:
Using Slug Traps
Like with most traps, these are designed to lure slugs in. So, no, these slug traps don’t actually deter slugs, but they will drive them away from your dahlias and capture them so that you can properly remove them.
Here is a short list of some different slug trap ideas:
Slugs love beer, and we can easily use this fact against them. All you need is a small shallow dish and some beer. Fill the dish and place it outside, away from your dahlias preferably.
Leave it overnight and the smell will draw the slugs into the bowl of beer. Then in the morning, you will have a collection of slugs that you can properly remove from your garden.
Grapefruit is another thing that slugs love that we can use against them. when you are having a grapefruit, save half of it. Place it outside with the skin facing up and make a few holes in the fruit that will allow the slugs to get through.
They will quickly come to the fruit and begin eating it. After a few hours, use the skin to scoop up the slugs that are inside the grapefruit and then remove them once and for all.
Traps are a great way to catch slugs, but you may need to do them several times to make sure that you have removed all of the slugs that are lurking in your garden.
Because of the way that slugs move, a lot of terrain is difficult for them to cross. It can be uncomfortable or risk harm to the slugs. Below is a short list of a couple of different terrains that you can use to deter slugs from approaching your dahlias.
There are many types of gravel and all of them can be effective for driving slugs away. Because gravel is essentially made up of tiny pieces of stone, it is a difficult terrain for slugs to navigate.
The stone is cold and uncomfortable for them and the sharp edges risk causing them harm so they will avoid travelling across it. Whether your dahlias are in pots or flower beds, you can use this terrain by simply sprinkling gravel on top of the surrounding soil, making it slug-proof.
Mulch is made up of a variety of plant materials, some of which can be very sharp. These include wood shavings, pieces of bark and straw. Much like gravel, mulch is very difficult for slugs to cross because of the sharp textures, and it risks causing them a lot of damage.
Once again, all you need to do is sprinkle some mulch on the soil surrounding your dahlias and then the slugs will not travel across it to reach your plants. Another good thing about using mulch is that it is designed to keep your soil healthy and to help your plants grow.
Using scents is one of the best ways to deter any kind of pest. Most animals have a stronger sense of smell than we do, and many deterrent scents will often repel more than one kind of pest.
Here is a list of some fragrant items that will help to keep slugs away from your dahlias.
Whilst many humans like the bitter smell of coffee, slugs do not. Sprinkling wet coffee grounds on top of your soil will help to deter slugs as they do not like to be in contact with caffeinated soil.
Coffee can also provide good nutrients for the soil and help your plants to grow. The smell of coffee also helps to deter other garden pests, including squirrels and ants.
Lavender is great because it attracts many beneficial insects to your garden, such as bees and butterflies, but it works to deter unwanted pests such as the notorious slug. Lavender is a hardy plant, so it is good to grow in your garden as well.
You can easily intersperse this plant in flower beds and pots with your dahlias, the two will grow well and the smell of the lavender will keep the slugs away from where your dahlias are.
To summarise this article, here are a few key points to take away. Slugs like dahlias and are frequently attracted to them and can cause them a lot of damage.
To keep slugs away from your dahlias, you can use slug traps, difficult terrains and also smells. Some examples of slug traps include using beer and grapefruit.
Terrains that are difficult for slugs to cross include mulch and gravel. Smells that will help to deter slugs from your dahlias include coffee and lavender.
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