Can pot feet stop slugs from attacking your plants? Experts reveal the truth about the popular hack

Is this simple hack to good to be true?

A slug on a potted plant
(Image credit: Getty Images/nilapictures)

As we now find ourselves in the midst of slug season, an old slug-deterring hack has re-emerged over the past couple of weeks. The hack in question? Putting pot feet on your plant pots. But do pot feet really stop slugs in their tracks or is this a case of wishful thinking?

If you’re looking for an effective way how to get rid of slugs, we’re sorry to say that this one might not be it. According to our gardening experts, putting pot feet on your outdoor planters might slow slugs down in getting to your plants and make it a little more difficult, but it’s not enough of an obstacle. After all, having to figure out how to stop slugs coming in the house is a regular occurrence as these slimy pests won’t shy away from getting into our homes, even if it means climbing up a floor.

A slug on a potted plant

(Image credit: Getty Images/Justin Smith)

This method was popularised by an Instagram post from gardener and presenter Alan Titchmarsh originally shared in June 2022 where he credits dry spring conditions and pot feet on his hosta as the reasons why slugs haven’t attacked and made holes in his potted plant’s leaves. And this year, the Insta reel has resurfaced which has sent several media outlets and fans alike into an excited frenzy, thinking they found the answer to ridding their plants of slugs.

But fear not, as there are other ways in which you can banish slugs from your garden, many of which are just as easy as putting pot feet on the bottom of a planter – like using fertiliser against slugs or coffee grounds in the garden. And they come expert approved.

Potted plants next to a wicker garden chair on a sunny patio

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Do pot feet stop slugs?

‘Pot feet can slightly deter slugs, as they help create a barrier between the ground and the pot, which makes the pot harder to climb up,’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench. ‘However, slugs would still be able to climb up the feet and then the pot without worry.’

He adds another issue with using pot feet to deter slugs, ‘It opens up the underneath space of the pot, meaning that if you have any drainage holes, chances are they will now be more accessible to the slugs.’

Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

Potted plants on a sunny patio

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

But the hack of using pot feet to stop slugs could work under one condition – if the feet were made of copper. ‘Pot feet that are made of copper will deter slugs as this material gives slugs an electric shock when they come into contact with it. I recommend opting for wide copper pot feet that cover the whole area of the pot.’

And as genius as this idea is, there is one problem with that - copper pot feet are not exactly readily available on the market. It’s really a gap in the market that should be filled, if you ask us.

But luckily, there are other ways in which you can use copper against slugs. Like slug tape. ‘The best way to make your pots slug-resistant is to use copper tape and place it around the pot. The copper reacts with slug slime, giving a tiny electric shock each time slugs come into contact with it,’ says Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening expert.


What pots are slug resistant?

‘While no pots can truly ever be 100% slug resistant, as mentioned before, copper pots will give off an electric charge to slugs which could deter them,’ Steve explains.

Slug on a plant

(Image credit: Getty Images/snurge1)

How do slugs get into plant pots?

In order to figure out how to stop slugs from getting into your plant pots, you first need to know how they achieve such a feat.

‘Simply crawling up the side of them is one way, as well as using leaf bridges to get from plant to plant. If there are holes in your plant pots, then they can get in that way too, whether these are drainage holes or wear and tear holes,’ Steve warns.

So while everyday pot feet might not completely prevent slugs from getting to your plants, the fight is not over as there are other ways to achieve your goal.

Content Editor

Sara Hesikova has been a Content Editor at Ideal Home since June 2024, starting at the title as a News Writer in July 2023. Sara brings the Ideal Home’s readership features and news stories from the world of homes and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more, focusing on all things room decor, specialising in living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, home offices and dining rooms. 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.