Garlic has been quite often used by gardeners as a method of deterring a variety of pests. But does this work with snails and, if so, how can we use garlic to keep our gardens free of these pesky molluscs?
Will Garlic Deter Snails?
Garlic does actually work well at deterring snails. Its strong smell is very off-putting for them and the presence of garlic will drive them away from certain areas. Garlic is from a family of plants called alliums and they have become well known for deterring pests due to their strong fragrances.
To be more specific, garlic produces a compound called allicin which is what gives it its strong odour. This compound is what repels snails, and it is released when garlic is crushed or chopped.
Do All Alliums Deter Snails?
Other alliums include onions and leeks, and these also seem to work well at deterring snails as well as other pests. However, they do not appear to be as effective as garlic, likely due to the fact that they do not smell as strongly as the other herb.
That being said, if you’re in a pinch, using alliums other than garlic will still help you to an extent with snails.
It is also worth stating that ornamental alliums are unlikely to have any impact on snails or slugs in the garden as they rarely smell strong.
How to Use Garlic to Deter Snails
There are a couple of different ways in which you can use garlic around your garden to deter snails. All of them are simple and work effectively. They are detailed in a list below for you to choose the best method for your garden.
Make a Garlic Spray
Making a garlic spray is easier than it sounds. All you need to do is add two bulbs, not cloves, of garlic to one litre of water. You can either put the mixture in a blender or crush the garlic prior to adding it to the water.
After you have mixed the two, transfer the contents into a spray bottle. You can then spray this solution directly onto your plants and it will not only repel snails from the area, but it will make your plants unappetising to them as well.
Use Crushed Cloves
You can simply crush or chop garlic cloves into small pieces and sprinkle them on top of the soil in your garden. The smell will deter snails and they will also not want to travel over the soil as it has come into contact with the compound allicin.
Sprinkle Garlic Salt
Garlic salt combines the repellent smell of garlic with the lethality of salt. If you want or need to take a more aggressive approach with your snail repellents, then this is what you should use. Simply sprinkle the garlic salt around your plant pots and flower beds.
But be careful when adding it to the soil as too much salt can cause harm to your plants.
If you are fancying growing garlic, this is a great reason to do so. Simply growing the bulb will help to keep snails away from your other plants. You can utilise this by planting garlic in between plants that are commonly targeted by snails to keep them safe.
Is Garlic Safe to Use On Plants?
Yes, garlic is safe for you to use on your plants so you do not need to worry about any damages that may occur in using it to repel slugs. In fact, garlic actually provides some really good benefits to your plants, so there is more to this bulbous plant than simply being a snail repellent.
One of the benefits that garlic brings when added to plants is that it acts as a root stimulant.
This means that it encourages the roots to take up more water and nutrients that help your plants to grow quickly and healthily and it also helps the roots to grow at a faster rate.
This means that it is great for young plants. However, in fully grown plants, this stimulant can cause too the wrong amount of uptake in water if it is used in excess, so be careful.
Garlic can be used effectively to repel snails. They repel snails because of a protective compound they produce called allicin, which is what gives garlic its odour. You can repel snails using garlic by either making a garlic spray, using garlic salt or planting garlic in your garden.
Garlic is safe for your plants and helps them by acting as a root stimulant. Other pests that are deterred by garlic include slugs and aphids.
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