What Do Slugs Hate? ( Top 11 Most Hated Things By Slugs )

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When trying to get rid of slugs, it is always a good idea to figure out what these little pests like and most importantly what they hate. Odds are that there are a couple of areas in your garden that the slugs don’t seem to bother, either because they are not a fan of the plants growing there or there is something that they do not like.

Slugs are known to be deterred by the strong scents of certain plants such as Lavendula (Lavender), Rosemarinus (Rosemary), Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel), and Phlox paniculata (Perennial phlox). These plants have properties that slugs find unappealing, making them effective natural repellents. By incorporating these slug-hated plants into your garden, you can create a natural barrier against slug infestations.

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Slugs tend to be simple creatures, most of the day they are hiding and sleeping, only venturing outside during the evening or after rain to feed. Any slug’s main purpose is to eat as much as it can and to reproduce. Their constant search for food can be exploited by a smart gardener, and as long as you know what they hate it will be relatively easy to keep most of your plants safe.

Slugs tend to have a fairly good sense of smell, which they use to find food and avoid predators, and there are even a few smells that they simply hate. If you want a permanent solution to your slug problem then check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Slugs Permanently ( 6 Permanent Solutions ).

What Do Slugs Hate?

Slugs have certain aversions that can be used to deter them from your garden. They dislike substances with rough or abrasive textures, such as crushed eggshells, diatomaceous earth, or wood ashes. These materials create an uncomfortable surface for slugs to traverse, preventing them from reaching your plants. Slugs also dislike strong scents and flavors, so using natural repellents like garlic, onions, or chili peppers can be effective.

Additionally, certain plants are known to repel slugs due to their scent or texture, such as lavender, rosemary, or marigolds. Creating barriers using copper tape or strips is another method since slugs are deterred by the electric charge they receive when coming into contact with copper.


The one thing that all slugs hate is salt, although they do have a small amount of salt in their bodies, but if they come into contact with it they will die. Salt makes the slugs produce and eliminate a lot of slime, to the point where they simply die of dehydration. Even if you lightly sprinkle salt on the soil, the slugs will avoid even getting close to it. Although salt should not be used against slugs as it is a painful way for them to die, and salt will also damage your plants.


Slugs and all molluscs simply hate copper, it is deadly to them if they ingest it and even if they touch something made out of copper will harm them. When slugs come into contact with copper a chemical reaction occurs, or in some cases even a small static shock, which makes the slugs backpedal as fast as they can. This is why copper tape and rings are good at keeping slugs away from plants. If you want to get rid of slugs naturally then check out my recent article How To Get Rid Of Slugs Naturally? ( Top 15 Ways ).

Hot Surfaces

You will rarely see slugs in the middle of the day when the sun is up and shining. This is because during the day most slugs are hiding and probably sleeping. Slugs that do venture out on a hot day are desperate for food, and they will usually use the cover of plants to stay out of direct sunlight. If they have to cross hot surfaces like pavement they have to be desperate as the likelihood of them dying due to dehydration is fairly high.

Slippery Surfaces

Although it is not that slugs hate slippery surfaces, but they simply can not get a grip on them and will fall off. This is why Vaseline and WD40 tend to be so good against slugs for potted plants, the slugs will simply lose their grip and fall off. Just keep in mind that they only have a problem crawling up vertically on slippery surfaces, they can easily crawl on slippery surfaces horizontally due to gravity. You can even use instant coffee against slugs, for more information check out my recent article Can I Use Instant Coffee To Deter Slugs? ( Pros & Cons ).


I had to include eggshells as well in this list, but this doesn’t work. The idea behind eggshells is that slugs will get hurt while crossing the sharp edges of the eggshells. This is totally false, as slugs have no problem even crawling on the sharp edge of the razor blade. On the other hand, eggshells are excellent if you want to feed the slugs, as it is mostly made out of calcium which slugs really need.

Hair & Fur

Slugs really hate either the smell or the texture of fur and hair. Sheep’s wool is often used to protect plants against slugs, and although almost any animal fur will work, even your dog’s hair will do the job. Animal hair or fur can become ineffective once they get wet, as most slugs will have no problem crawling on them once they are.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is abrasive and very absorbent which is bad news for the slugs. Although diatomaceous earth will not directly kill slugs, but it seems that slugs do hate it. As diatomaceous earth is abrasive it might irritate the slugs, and as it is also absorbent it can suck out the slime right out of the slugs. Usually, when slugs come into contact with diatomaceous earth they will back down as fast as possible.


If there is one plant that slugs absolutely hate then it must be garlic. Garlic contains allicin which the slugs hate, and will avoid, this is why you can strategically plant some garlic in your flower beds and you will get rid of most slugs. You can even make a spray with garlic, and use it directly on your plants, as it kills both slugs and insects as well. Plants that are suffering from powdery mildew can be sprayed with garlic spray and the powdery mildew will be gone in a couple of days.

Hairy Leaves

If you have been growing flowers for some time already then you have probably noticed that slugs seem not to bother plants that have hairy leaves. Slugs have a really hard time getting to the juicy part of the leaves if they are covered by tiny hairs, and for the most part, they will just go and search for an easier food source. Although the hair on the leaves are relatively small you can really feel how strong they are if you press them with your finger.


Lavender is one of my favorite plants in my flower garden, not only it looks beautiful, but it also smells nice, and on top of it slugs seem to hate it. The sweat fragrance of the lavender must smell very different to slugs, and any plant that is growing next to the lavender will not be bothered by slugs. I have tested this out with one of the slug’s favorite plants the Dahlias, I planted 2 different types of lavender right next to it and the Dahlia had zero damage from slugs.


Rosemary is another plant that has a fairly strong fragrance to it, and much like in the case of lavender, the slugs absolutely hate it. The best part about rosemary is that it can be an excellent companion plant, especially for potted plants. So if your potted plants are being damaged by slugs, try and plant a couple of rosemaries next to them. Some say that a rosemary spray also works wonders against slugs, although I have not tried it, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Key Takeaways

  • Slugs hate anything that can hurt them, smells bad to them, or has a strange texture to them. Salt and copper are absolutely hated by slugs as they are both deadly to them. Plants that have hairy leaves and the ones with strong fragrances like garlic, lavender, and rosemary are also hated by slugs.
  • There are several plants that have strong fragrances and are absolutely hated by slugs.
  • Animal hair or fur is also on the hate list of most slugs, although it doesn’t really bother them that much if these become wet.