How to Stop Slugs from Climbing Up Pots

Not even having your plants in tall pots will keep slugs from getting to them. But fear not, for there are some simple things that you can do. Here’s our guide on how to stop slugs from climbing up pots:

There are numerous ways to stop slugs from climbing up pots including making it tough to get to the pots, using slug traps and using smells to deter slugs.

What Methods Deter Slugs from Plant Pots?

There are many different types of ways you can keep slugs away from plant pots. You can deter them with smells, insecticides and rough terrain.

Below we have these sections broken down with some more specific examples of what you can use and how you can use them:

Using Rough Terrain

Because of the ways slugs travel, on their bodies, there are a lot of terrains and substances that are difficult for them to cross. Here are a few examples of terrains that slugs will avoid crossing. 


Gravel comes in many forms and can be quite sharp and can cause harm to slugs. Slugs will usually avoid crossing gravel if they can due to the discomfort it causes, but if they are desperate for food some have been known to take the risk.

To use this method, put gravel around the base of plant pots you want to protect. 

Gravel Deters Slugs


Similar to gravel, this stone is cold and sharp and therefore very uncomfortable for slugs to cross. Using slate flagging should keep slugs out of most areas of your garden.

But for targeting specific areas, you can get smaller pieces of slate and like with the gravel, simply put it around the base of pots you want to keep slug-free. 


Mulch is formed of decomposing organic matter. Inside of mulch, you are likely to find dried leaves, shredded bark, straw and other kinds of plant matter.

The inconsistency and roughness of this substance make it a very difficult terrain for slugs, so placing it around the base of pots will work like slate and gravel and prevent slugs from climbing. 

Another good thing about using any of these terrains is that you will also prevent snails from climbing up your pots and eating your plants. Like slugs, snails find these terrains difficult and uncomfortable to cross so they will avoid them. 

Using Smells to Deter Slugs

A lot of smells that slugs dislike come naturally from plants. Below are some plants that you can grow in your garden, as well as some other smells you can use, to help you to keep slugs from climbing up your plant pots. 


Lavender is a great plant to grow in your garden. It attracts beneficial insects and deters pests, including slugs. Growing lavender in the same pot as plants you want to keep from being disturbed is one way to use this.

Alternatively, you could rub lavender on the plant pot so that it smells of lavender and the slugs will avoid it. 

Lavender Deters Slugs


You can use rosemary in the same ways as lavender. You can either grow it in plant pots you want to protect, or you can rub it on the plant pot to give it a strong smell that will deter slugs.

Rosemary is quite a hardy plant, so it is a good one to grow that gives your garden lots of natural benefits. 

Pet Hair

This seems a bit weird, but the smell of cat or dog hair can deter slugs because they give off the smell of predators. Sprinkling clippings of cat or dog hair around the base of your pot is supposed to prevent slugs from climbing up.

You can also put these hairs on the top of the soil as an extra precaution and it will not do any harm to your plants. 

Use Slug Traps

Slug traps can be made easily and naturally. They work in a similar way to other pest traps, luring them in with something enticing but they do not contain insecticides as non-natural insecticides are very harmful to the environment and also other animals that you may find in your garden.

Below we’ll explain a couple of these natural slug traps and how you can use them. 


Slugs actually love beer, as odd as it sounds. If you leave a small dish with beer out overnight, then the slugs in your garden will crawl into the dish and leave your plants alone.

Once your beer trap has captured some slugs, you can then dispose of them and your garden will be left without those pesky slugs. 

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The grapefruit trap works very similarly to the beer trap. Save half of a grapefruit and place it outside with the skin facing up. Pierce some holes in the side and leave it, the slugs will crawl inside and eat the grapefruit.

After a few hours, you can scoop up the grapefruit and the slugs inside and then dispose of them. 

Grapefruit Slug Trap

How to Kill Slugs Who Climb Up Pots

If you are facing a persistent problem with slugs in your garden, then you may want to resort to more permanent measures. Below are a couple of ways to kill invading slugs, without using any harmful chemicals. 


Salt quickly dehydrates slugs and causes them to perish. Sprinkling salt around the base of your pots will primarily deter slugs as they recognise the substance.

That being said, if any do attempt to climb up your pot then you have something that makes sure they will not reach the top.


Vinegar works in the same way as salt. Using vinegar on your plant pots will primarily deter slugs as they recognise the smell. But if they come too close the contact can be fatal. 


To summarise, you can stop slugs climbing up your pots with several methods. You can use rough terrain, such as gravel. Smells such as lavender and pet hair. You can place traps like beer and grapefruit.

Or you can kill them if needs be with either salt or vinegar. 

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