Snails & Slugs & Gardening

OK, that’s it – I have had enough of fighting the snails and slugs in the London garden and I cannot bear to put down chemicals and pick up the bodies afterwards. So I am going to find plants which they do not eat and only use those plants.

Plants which the snails don’t like are: alchemilla, ajuga, aquilegias, bergenias, brunnera, cornus, crocosmia, erysimum ‘E A Bowles’, euphorbias, ferns, fuchsias, grasses, hebe, geraniums, hellebores, Japanese anemones, libertia, nepeta, persicaria, philadelphus, saxifrage, sedums, verbena bonariensis, veronicastrum. Apparently they don’t like paeonies, anchusa, or potentilla either – paeonies would be an expensive experiment! I ought to be able to make an interesting garden with these plants, don’t you think? Now I am going to tackle each different garden area with the list in mind. I have different patches of garden: Hot & sunny, Partial sun, Dry shade, Damp shade, and Pots on the Patio.

I will start with something easy – Damp Shade – this is the main condition of the bed along the flint wall and these are plants which I could use and which are supposed to be snail-proof:
Bergenia ‘Abendglut’
Bergenia ‘Silberlicht’
Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ – 
variegated leaves, clouds of blue flowers; H – 0.5m
Japanese Anemone ‘Robustissima’ – pale pink single flowers; H – 1.5m
Japanese Anemone ‘Hadspens Abundance’ –
 pink, single flowers; H – 1.5m
Japanese Anemone ‘Queen Charlotte’ – pale pink, double flowers; H – 1.5m
Japanese Anemone ‘Pamina’ – 
dark pink, double flowers; H – 0.9m
Liriope Musari – purple flowers; H – 0.5m
Persicaria bistorta Superba – sugar pink flower heads; H – 0.9m
Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ – dark crimson flowers; H – 1.2m

I developed a plan and planted earlier in the year and the border has definitely grown!

Flint Wall Border, London
The border in March
The Flint Wall Border, London Garden
The border in early July
The Flint Wall Border, London Garden
The border in early July

I have contrast, but perhaps not enough. Maybe I should reduce the bergenias (Abendglut) and add more ferns or perhaps some Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ which would add height and colour later in the year. Or perhaps I should try more aquilegia throughout the bed? Or I could just wait – I know the Japanese Anemones will spread, and spread, and spread…

The Flint Wall Border, London Garden

And there is a disappointing corner where the aquilegias and liriope are just not flourishing. I have shaken the aquilegia seeds over the ground, and I am going to feed the plants in this corner, which is underneath a tree. It is watered regularly, but perhaps I need to have more nutrients in the soil.
The Flint Wall Border, London Garden

What do you think?

Further information
Plants resistant to snails – a listing
Tips for stopping snails, and a list of plants
Plants & shrubs
Slug-resistant plants


  1. Or adopt a bunch of hedgehogs!!! Seriously though what a useful plant list for slug resistant plants by the way they seem to love marigolds!

    • It just isn’t worth risking the snails here in London. And different varieties of the same plant appeal to them differently – Brunnera ‘Dawson’s White’ disappeared in two days, but ‘Jack Frost’ is ok. But it is hard work and needs a lot of determination to keep trying.

  2. useful list of non gastropod menu – your damp shade is perfect for them alas but looking good nonetheless. I think ferns are a good way forward – so many types that mass planting still looks interesting

    • I visited Winfield House today and the Head Gardener there is brilliant. All his gardening is backed with a ‘cunning plan’ and he plants reliable rather than difficult. He also repeats success!

  3. After a week of illness I finally managed to stagger into the garden this week and was met by a total wipeout of the seedlings I had been cultivating. Dwarf green beans – gone. Cosmos seedlings – gone. Courgette and squash plants – almost eaten to the ground. Having picked up too many slugs and snails to count and then having to chuck them into salt water (urghh…) I, like you, am looking to grow those plants that can resist the pests. I have geraniums, but notice that one new one does seem to be under attack. Grasses too have been bought, and the damp, shady border (yes I have one too) is full of ferns and geraniums and loosestrife (Lysimachia) which seems to thrive. I have copied your list and shall start to experiment with some of those to enhance this border. I wonder what you have done with the hot and sunny border?

    • Ah, a fellow sufferer! I didn’t know about lysimachia and will look out for ‘Firecracker’, which I have seen but I think the deep shade I have in the flint border will be too challenging. However, I have another spot which might suit. The Japanese Anemones, Bergenias (Abundglut), and Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ are thriving, and even a few aquilegia are taking – they are growing almost over the roots of a birch tree. Ferns are doing well, and even self-seeding in the wall – very gratifying. I will do a post on the border this w/e with further thoughts. Thank you for visiting!

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