6 bedding plants slugs hate – say goodbye to these pests in your garden

Experts reveal 6 bedding plants that slugs can't stand

A flower bed in a garden with a garden furniture set in the background
(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

As we find ourselves in the height of slug season - spring is their favourite due to the wet, rainy weather - it's prime time to find ways to protect your garden from these crop and plant-eating pests. And one way to stop them in their tracks is filling your flower beds with bedding plants that slugs hate.

Bedding plants are fast-growing, often flowering varieties which tend to be used to populate flower borders for colourful displays. And if you choose your bedding plants strategically, they can also be a great way to tackle how to get rid of slugs.

And it turns out that there are quite a few plants that slugs can’t stand and get turned off by, according to our garden experts. So we rounded up the most effective ones to keep those slugs at bay.

Garden borders with geraniums

(Image credit: Future PLC/Howard Walker)

6 bedding plants that slugs hate

‘It’s possible to design your garden in a way that will mitigate your pest problem by choosing plants that won’t attract slugs,’ says Jamie Shipley, gardening expert and managing director at Hedges Direct. ‘Slugs are most attracted to lucious, soft and moisture-laden leaves with large surface areas for them to eat through.’

Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening and plant expert, continues with slug-proof flower bed ideas, ‘Slugs and snails like chewing greenery to make a path for themselves, but there are certain plants they’ll avoid, specifically thick-leaf plants that are hard for them to chew through and highly fragrant ones.’

And these 6 bedding plants are at the top of the list.

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

1. Lavender

Borders of lavender lining a house entrance

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

While people love the relaxing smell of lavender, slugs on the hand don’t care for it (or any other strong fragrance for that matter) and will avoid it at all costs.

‘Slugs are known to dislike plants with a strong fragrance, such as lavender,’ Petar confirms. ‘If you place lavender strategically around the garden, it will help protect other plants from them and create a fragrant barrier against the gastropods.’

Jamie adds some tips on how to grow lavender, ‘English Lavender flowers in the summer and it’s important to prune your shrubs regularly to maintain the health and long life of the plant. Pruning should be done as soon as the flowers start to fade - usually in early September. Lavender is hardy and can handle a hard pruning so I recommend removing a third of the plant, even if this seems extreme.’

Where to buy lavender:

2. Foxgloves

Foxgloves in a flower bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Annaick Guitteny)

Foxgloves are the representation of any perfect cottage garden idea. But these beautiful, tall blooms are also great slug deterrents.

‘These plants have toxic leaves so slugs will give them a wide berth,’ Jamie says.

And spring is the perfect time if you're thinking about when to plant foxglove seeds so you'd better get to it.

Where to buy foxglove seeds:

3. Geranium

A flower bed in a garden with a garden furniture set in the background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Peter Chatterton)

Geraniums are some of the most popular bedding plants so it’s pretty handy that slugs are no fans of them.

‘Geraniums have hairy leaves which makes them hard for slugs to travel across and munch on. Geraniums are also very hardy and a great ground-covering plants that will help to suppress not only these garden pests but also weeds,’ Petar notes.

Two birds with one stone, as they say.

Opting for moist, well-draining soil is best when it comes to how to grow geraniums, according to Jamie. ‘Geraniums thrive in moist, well draining soil which receives plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day.’

Where to buy geraniums:

4. Rosemary

Garden plant pots with a mix of plants including rosemary and lavender

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Herbs in general are very good at putting slugs off. But rosemary works well in particular, thanks to its strong, beautiful fragrance which the pests again don’t like.

‘Slugs will stay clear of your herb garden due to the fragrance and tough foliage of plants like rosemary,’ Jamie says.

Petar continues with some tips on how to grow rosemary, ‘Rosemary is a simple-to-grow plant that flowers throughout the whole year. Its fragrance can be off-putting for slugs and snails, warding them away from the garden and a rosemary bush can live up to 20 years, offering two decades of slug-free garden.’

Where to buy rosemary:

5. Euphorbia


(Image credit: Getty Images/Olga Seifutdinova)

Euphorbia is a rough plant that is the perfect weapon against slugs due to its toxic sap and hard leaves which the pests can’t easily munch on.

‘Euphorbias are a hardy family of plants that can handle low temperatures really well while less hardy plants die out and go dormant,’ Petar says.

Where to buy euphorbia:

6. Hydrangea

A garden with a seating set and a bush of hydrangeas

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

‘Hydrangeas can create a barrier against these slimy pests and they are a wonderful addition to a back garden because of their ability to change colour in different soil types, making them very exciting shrubs,’ Petar says.

It’s lucky that hydrangeas and their big, bouncy blooms are so widely loved and admired. Not to mention the perfect timing since spring is the ideal season when to plant hydrangeas.

Where to buy hydrangeas:

Now, with these bedding plants in your borders, you shouldn’t be having any more slug issues in the near future.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.