How to Get Rid of Snails in Potted Plants

Even when your plants are protected from the elements because of their pots, they are not protected from the dangers of snails. Snails getting into plant pots is a big problem for gardeners, so we’re going to discuss a variety of methods for keeping snails out of your plant pots.

How to Snail-Proof your Pots

You can take precautions that are specific to protecting your pots. There are many simple methods that you can use to make sure that your pots cannot be trailed by slugs. Here are a couple of ways you can get rid of snails in potted plants be adapting the pots you use:

Use Rough-Textured Pots

Whilst this is not a guarantee to get rid of snails, it is certainly going to help you with them. Snails are rather fussy when it comes to crossing certain textures. Textures that are rough or uncomfortable on them are difficult to climb and therefore they will usually not make the journey.

So, if the side of your pots are rough then the snails will not want to make the difficult journey to reach your plants.

Use Vaseline

Rubbing a substance such as Vaseline along the side of your pots will make it challenging for snails to get to your plants.

The substance prevents the snails from getting any type of grip on the side of the plant pots, meaning that they are unable to climb up it. This method also works great for repelling slugs. Bear in mind that you will need to continue reapplying Vaseline to your pots for this to work.

Use Rough Terrain

By either topping your plant pot soil or surrounding it with rough terrain, you can easily deter snails, and also slugs, from your plant pots. Here are some examples of rough terrain you can use to prevent snails from getting into your plant pots. 


There are many types of gravel, all of which are quite sharp and can be harmful to snails. Snails will usually avoid crossing gravel if they can due to the discomfort it causes, but some may take the risk of crossing gravel if they are desperate for food.

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

Gravel Deters Snails


Whilst it is bigger than gravel, this stone is cold and sharp and therefore very uncomfortable for snails to cross. Using slate flagging will help keep snails 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 snail-free.


Mulch is formed of decomposing organic matter and it is used to help plants grow. Inside of mulch, you may find dried leaves, shredded bark, straw and other kinds of plant matter.

The inconsistency and roughness of this substance makes it very difficult terrain for snails as it sticks to them. So, placing it around the base of pots will work like slate and gravel and prevent snails from climbing.

Use Snail Traps

Traps for snails can be made easily and naturally. They work in a similar way to other pest traps, luring them in with something enticing and are a great way to get rid of snails in your potted plants.

However, 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 snail traps and how you can use them.


As odd as it sounds, snails are actually attracted to beer. If you leave a small dish with beer out overnight, then the snails in your garden will crawl into the dish and leave your plants alone.

You can also buy commercial beer traps designed for snails and slugs. Once your beer trap has captured the pesky molluscs, you can then dispose of them and your garden will be left without snails and slugs.

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The grapefruit trap works similar to the beer trap. Save half of a grapefruit and place it outside with the skin facing up. Pierce some holes in the side to make sure that the snails can get past the skin and to the fruit.

Leave it for several hours and the snails will crawl inside and eat the grapefruit. After a few hours, you can scoop up the grapefruit and the snails inside and then dispose of them.

How to Kill Snails Surrounding Your Pots

If you are facing a persistent problem with snails and slugs in your garden, then you may want to resort to more permanent measures. Below are a couple of ways to kill invading snails, without using any insecticides that are bad for the environment.


Salt works quickly by dehydrating snails and causes them to perish. Sprinkling salt around the base of your pots will primarily deter snails 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.

The same can be said for bicarbonate of soda or baking soda. Baking soda kills snails in much the same way as salt by dehydrating the snail through osmosis. 


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


When it comes to trying to get rid of snails in potted plants, there are a number of tips and tricks you can use.

Using plant pots that are covered in a rough texture or use rough terrain to prevent snails from being able to climb up your pots. You can also use beer or grapefruit as snail traps to lure them away from your plant pots and then you can remove them.

For more permanent solutions to your snail problem, you can use salt or vinegar to kill them if necessary.

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