What Do Slugs Hate?

There are a lot of things that slugs dislike, and we are able to use these things to deter slugs and to keep our plants safe from slug destruction. So what do slugs hate?  And how can you use this knowledge to deter slugs?

Slugs hate a range of things in the garden, surprisingly. There are smells they hate. There are textures and terrains they hate. There are even plants they hate.

What Things Do Slugs Hate?

Despite the fact that they appear to eat almost anything, there are still a surprising number of things that slugs dislike that you can use in your garden.

Most of the things that slugs dislike appear to fall in the following categories; smells, terrains and plants. 

We’re broken down each of these categories below so you know exactly what slugs hate:

What Smells Do Slugs Dislike?

Smell is one of the most useful senses that you can use to repel slugs. There are a large number of smells that they dislike and can be easily found and used.

Here is a list of some examples of these smells:

Pet Hair

Pet hair will obviously smell like your pets and to slugs, it will smell like a predator is nearby. This will therefore deter them as they will leave due to fear.

Simply get some of your pet hair clippings and sprinkle them over flower beds that you want to keep slug free, and this will help. 

The obvious disadvantage with this is that the wind is likely to disperse the hair and rain will wash the scent away so it is something that needs to be regularly reapplied. This is also only effective if you have a large, hairy pet.


The smell will drive them away and stop them from climbing up the pots and onto your flowers. Try planting a trailing rosemary species in a pot so that it deters slugs from even starting to climb up the pot.

Rosemary Deters Slugs


The same can be said for lavender. It may smell flagrantly relaxing to use humans but that strong scent is enough to put off most slugs.

It’s worth noting, as with most slug deterrents, lavender will work for most but not all slugs in the garden.

What Terrain Do Slugs Dislike?

Because of the way that slugs move, terrain can easily become difficult or uncomfortable for them to cross. We can use this greatly to our advantage to keep slugs out of our gardens.

Here is a list of some terrains you can use throughout your garden to drive slugs away:


There are many different types of gravel, and slugs do not like crossing them. This is because the small stone pieces are cold and sharp, which makes it uncomfortable on a slug and can sometimes even cause them damage.

Because of this, they will avoid travelling over gravel and placing it around the borders of your garden can keep slugs away from all areas. 


Slate is uncomfortable for slugs to travel for the same reason as gravel. It is cold and sharp and can be dangerous to them sometimes. Using slate flags on your garden is a good way to deter slugs from travelling across and to your plants. 


Mulch is made up of decaying plant matter, including bark shards, leaves and wood chippings. This terrain is very rough, and its inconsistency makes it very difficult for slugs to navigate, so they will usually avoid it.

Putting mulch on top of your plant soil is also good because it is designed to help plants grow quickly and healthy. 

Bark Chippings Deter Slugs

If slugs are desperate, then the chances are they will still try to cross these terrains in search of food. However, you will definitely at least slow them down if it does not deter them completely.

Combining different repelling methods is the best way to keep slugs out of your garden. 


Although official studies have been completed on eggshells debunking the theory that slugs hate eggshells, some gardeners continue to swear by their use.

If you’ve got excess eggshells or want to give them a go, then they’re cheap enough and will cause no harm to your plants or other wildlife and might just work.

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What Plants Do Slugs Hate?

Despite the fact that slugs appear to eat almost any plants, there are actually some types of plants that slugs will not eat and even go as far as disliking.

There are not too many of these plants, but here is a list of some plants that deter slugs from your garden:


Lavender makes a second appearance on this list. Lavender is a great plant to grow because it is pretty, smells nice, attracts pollinators throughout the warmer months, it is quite hardy and easy to grow.

Lavender is also great for deterring other pests whilst attracting beneficial insects to the garden.


Geraniums are brightly coloured flowers that can work as an absolute treat for deterring slugs when planted in flower beds. Slugs do not like these flowers because of their texture.

They have hairy stems which are not appetising and also is quite uncomfortable for them to cross.

Having geraniums will keep surrounding plants protected as slugs will not cross the geraniums to reach the other plants. 

Geraniums Deter Slugs


These plants are a good choice for your garden because they come in some beautiful shades and, again, can work to repel slugs.

Hydrangeas grow well when they are planted in close groups, so they can help to repel slugs from quite a large portion of your garden. 


Whilst ferns are most commonly used as indoor plants, slugs do not like them, and they will not eat them. This is great, really, as you don’t exactly want any plants that will attract slugs into your house. 


In summary, here are a few key points regarding what slugs hate. The main things that slugs hate seem to fall in the categories of smells, terrains and plants.

Some smells that slugs dislike include pet hair and rosemary. Terrains that slugs do not like to cross include gravel, slate and mulch. Plants that slugs hate and will not eat include geraniums, hydrangeas, lavender and ferns.

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