Slugs are one of the most frustrating pests in the garden. They cause havoc, eating everything in their path… Or is that actually the case? Let’s consider: Do slugs eat mint or not, for example?
Surprisingly, slugs do not eat mint usually. This doesn’t mean they will completely avoid it and there is a risk they will eat it if the scent is particularly muted.
If something has been eating your mint plants and you suspect it may be slugs, you might be wrong. Slugs are not drawn towards mint because of their strong smell.
Other plants with similar aromatic tones are also known to repel slugs. Slugs may take small bites of mint, but it is unlikely that they will destroy the whole plant.
Do Slugs Eat Mint Seedlings?
Unfortunately, most seedlings are susceptible to slug damage. Because they have not had time to develop their scents and textures, slugs will see them as easy prey.
If you are known to have ongoing slug issues in your garden but want to sow your own mint then it’s a good idea to do sow undercover, with protection, in a greenhouse or a cold frame where they will be protected from slugs while they develop.
Does Mint Deter Slugs?
Mint will deter slugs if it is strongly scented. Different mint plants have differing strengths. If your mint plant is subtle then, chances are, a slug will simply ignore it (and may even try to eat some of it).
If your mint is strong then a slug will do all it can to avoid going near it as slugs dislike strong, punchy odours.
What is Eating My Mint?
If you have recently planted mint but it’s already wilting, turning yellow and is full of holes then you may want to know what’s eating your mint. Below are some of the top mint attackers:
If you have flea beetles in your garden munching on your mint plants, you can easily tell. If you shake some of the leaves of your mint plant, you will notice the beetles jump. Flea beetles will damage your mint plants by making small holes in the leaves.
Do not worry if you have flea beetles, as you can get rid of them in various ways. You can dilute some rubbing alcohol in water and add liquid soap to the mixture.
You can easily keep the beetles away by spraying the mix on the mint plants.
You can also try dusting the leaves with some talcum powder. Neem oil is also known to repel beetles, and you can try spraying some on your mint plant.
An effective way to counter any flea beetles you may find is to use diatomaceous earth near your mint plant. Diatomaceous earth is known to kill any beetles that encounter it.
Aphids are tiny, green insects known to attack plant leaves, suck the sap and leave them yellow and curled. While tracking aphids with your naked eye is not easy, you can tell you have an infestation if you spot some mould on the leaves.
If you do not have an entire parade of aphids, you can just use pressured water and wash them off. In addition, you can also try spraying the leaves with some dish soap.
Perhaps the most common pest known to attack mint plants is spider mites. These mites are translucent and small. You can easily spot spider mites on the underside of mint leaves.
In addition, if you have a spider mite infestation, you will find that the leaves lose their colour, and there is a webbing similar to spiders’.
Like aphids, you can tackle spider mites by spraying water on them. If you prefer organic plant treatments, you can use a plant-based insecticide. Organic treatments are beneficial for organic gardeners and do not harm other animals.
Another way you can tackle this problem is by using rubbing alcohol on leaves which can kill the spider mites. In addition, introducing natural predators is always a good idea, like ladybugs which prey on spider mites.
Loopers love to consume foliage and are avid eaters of the mint plant. If you have loopers in your garden, you will notice the extensive damage they can do. Loopers not only eat the leaves but also attack the stems.
If you have a small number of loopers in your garden, you can get rid of most of them by hand-picking them. In addition, you can use organic pesticides, so you only harm loopers and no other creatures.
Cutworms are found in the soil or on the stems. These worms are the larvae of certain moth species. You can tell that you have a cutworm infestation by looking at the damage on the stems.
Like loopers, you can hand-pick the cutworms and then discard them. In addition, you can use diatomaceous earth around your plants to kill the worms.
Slugs consume a lot of plants, but they do not like to eat mint. So, if your mint plant is experiencing damage, it can be due to other reasons. Some pests that can eat your mint plants are spider mites, aphids, cutworms, loopers and flea beetles. To kill these pests, you can use plant-based insecticides, alcohol spray, and diatomaceous earth on your mint plants.
Apart from mint, there are other herbs that slugs do not eat. For instance, slugs do not eat chamomile, rue, rosemary, thyme, parsley and more. If you are looking to start an herb garden, these herbs are a good choice.
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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