Natural repellents are things that come from nature that repel snails. They are not manmade or manufactured, meaning that they are better for the environment and for your garden. There are many different types of natural snail repellents which we will explore.
Natural Snail Repellents: Plants
Whilst snails feast on a large number of plant species, there are actually quite a few that work to repel snails. These are, of course, a natural snail repellent as they are simply plants.
Here is a short list of some examples of plants and flowers that snails hate:
Many people love lavender for its sweet smell, but this strong smell is not a favourite of snails, and they will leave the area due to the presence of lavender. Lavender is great for repelling pests as its smell also repels slugs too.
You can plant lavender quite strategically around your garden, either interspersing it with plants in pots or flower beds that are vulnerable to snail infestation, or simply creating a barrier around a particular area of the garden that you want to keep safe.
Whilst rosemary is a herb, it does actually produce lovely little flowers when in season. And, as well as acting as a tasty herb, it helps to repel snails with its strong scent.
This scent is also believed to deter other similar pests such as slugs. Rosemary is quite a hardy herb, and you can grow it outside to keep snails away from certain plants, or inside on a windowsill to deter snails from coming into your house.
If you have a cat, you may already know this, but catmint flowers have a very strong odour that snails greatly dislike. However, there are many varieties of this plant, and you should be careful when picking which one to grow.
All of them have strong odours that repel slugs and snails, but some of them can grow rapidly and be a bit difficult to maintain.
The stems of geraniums are best described as ‘furry’. The fur on their stems is quite thick and short and is not a nice sensation to snails, so they will not climb up geraniums to reach their flowers.
Geraniums are very useful for repelling snails as some have leaves and stalks that stay quite close to the ground.
This means that snails would be forced to cross them if they wanted to get to neighbouring plants, so geraniums can act great as a barrier, and some strains work really well in flower beds.
Jacob’s ladder plants are beautiful little flowers that can be difficult to grow, but they are great for being snail resistant. The reason for their resistance to these molluscs is their hairy texture.
The stems of Jacob’s ladder plants have long, thin and wiry hairs that grow from them and make it extremely difficult for slugs to climb.
Because of this hair, they also dislike the texture of the leaves, so they will not eat them. You can use these flowers to make a lovely walkway through your garden that will also act to keep slugs out.
Snapdragons have hairy textured stems, very similar to geraniums. As well as their stalks being furry, their petals have a similar texture.
This means that even if snails didn’t have difficulty climbing them, they would have no desire to feed on their flowers. Slugs are also deterred from these flowers for the same reason.
As you can probably tell, the primary reason for a snail’s dislike of each of these flowers is either due to their smell or their texture. Thankfully this is good for us as it opens up many ideas for new snail-free flowers we can plant.
Natural Snail Repellents: Food and Drink
While man alters many food and drinks, some food items work great as a natural snail repellent. Here is a list of a couple of examples of natural snail repellents:
Coffee grounds work really well to repel snails. This is because the caffeine in the coffee can make snails sick if they come into contact with it. This means that they will leave the area immediately if they smell coffee.
All you need to do is sprinkle some wet coffee grounds onto the soil of plants that you want to protect, and the snails will be driven away.
Whilst coffee can actually help plants to grow and stay healthy, you should be careful as an excess of coffee can actually damage your plants.
The eggs themselves do not actually deter snails, but instead, they are deterred by the shells. The eggshells have very sharp edges and can stick to the mucus of snails, which means that it is not comfortable for them to cross, and they will try to avoid them.
When you use an egg, all you need to do is peel the shell off into small pieces and sprinkle them on top of your soil. They can also help your plants to grow as eggshells act as a calcium fertiliser.
There are other food substances that can be used against snails, but these two will not actually kill the snails they will just repel them. Most other food substances will kill snails, such as salt.
To summarise, there are a number of natural snail repellent options. Natural repellents are better for the environment and other garden wildlife. Plants are a common natural repellent, and repellent plants include geraniums, rosemary and snapdragons.
You can also use food and drinks to repel snails. These include coffee grounds and eggshells. Other foodstuffs, such as baking soda, work, but this will kill the snails rather than simply deterring them.
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