How To Stop Slugs Eating Lupins

If you have ever grown lupins then you will be well aware of just how much slugs love them, so what do you do? How do you stop slugs from eating lupins? Well worry not, I have some top tips and tricks for you to try.

How To Stop Slugs Eating Lupins
How To Stop Slugs Eating Lupins

How Do I Stop Slugs From Eating My Lupins?

I’m just going to come out and say what you don’t want to hear but what you were probably expecting. There is no easy simple solution to just stop slugs from eating your lupins.

What works for me with slugs is a holistic approach. You need to come at the problem from multiple angles.

You can’t just scatter some slugs pellets down and expect that to save your plants, although it will help.

If you are gardening organically, as I do, then you don’t even have this option. This does make life harder in some ways but easier in others.

Natural Balance

One thing I am a big believer in is trying to achieve a natural balance in your garden. What I mean by this is trying to get things into equilibrium.

If you just go chucking a load of slug pellets down they may well kill your slugs. But what often happens is that the slugs then die and lie on the ground.

They are then picked up and eaten by their natural predators. The poison then hurts and or kills your precious slug predators.

So then next year you have even fewer natural predators which then means you have more slugs which means you need more pellets, it’s a vicious circle, and one that its all too easy to get stuck in.

The Sluggy Wheel of Death
The Sluggy Wheel of Death

So What Do You Do?

When it comes to lupins and slugs the most important thing you can do is protect the plants when they are young.

Established lupins can shrug off a slug problem. You can have a few of them munching away on a big lupin and not even be able to notice. They grow so big and so fast that slugs aren’t a problem once they have gotten going.

Where slugs are a problem is with young lupins. This is true for new seedling lupins and also existing lupins that are just poking their heads above ground in spring.

Slug Collars

This is exactly what it sounds like, a collar that goes around your plant to keep the slugs off. These can be free and recycled or incredibly expensive, that depends on your budget.

The general idea is very basic, slugs cant eat what they cant get to. But how do you stop slugs from getting to plants that are in the ground? You put a barrier around them.

Free Slug Collars

A pop bottle cut up makes an ideal slugs collar, its free and you get more than one collar out of each bottle, win win win!

Just just a pop bottle up into rings using scissors or a knife. I like to use a knife to try and get more jagged rather than clean edges. I think this makes it a bit sharper and more likely to stop slugs crawling over it.

Slug Collars
Slug Collars

Out of one pop bottle, I have ended up with four collars. Two that are enclosed and two that are open. The enclosed ones obviously stand more chance of keeping slugs off your lupins but they also only work with smaller plants.

With the fully enclosed ones will you also need to lift them to water your lupins and also be around to remove them on really hot spring days, which does happen every now and again I promise!

Slug Collars in Action
Slug Collars in Action

Buying Slug Collars

There are also slug collars that you can buy. They come in two main flavours, plastic (cheap) and copper (expensive).

The plastic ones work in much the same way as the pop bottle but are larger and sturdier. They also sometimes feature a straight bend on the edge, apparently, slugs won’t go overhangs like this.

So that brings us to the copper slug collars. These are much more expensive but work in two ways. Obviously, there is a physical barrier but also the copper itself stops slugs.

Slugs don’t like crawling over copper. But there has to be enough copper (that’s why the sticky copper slug tape often doesn’t work).

And as with anything made of out of a solid pure metal these collars can get expensive.

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06/25/2022 12:41 pm GMT

Nematodes

Nematodes are tiny little worms that live in your soil naturally. There are all different kinds that have completely different life cycles.

One nematode likes to kill slugs, so it has obviously become a hit with gardeners. This nematode gets inside the slug as a parasite.

They kill the slug but before doing so rewire its brain and make the slug bury into the ground. This is a double win for gardeners as we don’t end up with a load of dead slugs lying around on our soil.

They can be bought online or from garden centres and come as a sort of power. You dilute this powder with water before applying it to your soil using a watering can.

These nematodes are completely natural and already live in your soil, by adding more we are just increasing the number and therefore killing more slugs.

These things really work and I apply them twice a year to my entire allotment. Once in the spring and then once again in the autumn.

Organic Slug Killer
Slug Nematodes 12million (Treats 40sq.m)
£13.45

Control slugs NATURALLY by applying Nemaslug Slug Killer, which contains natural nematodes, that are effective at controlling slugs, but unlike chemical controls, are safe for children, pets, birds and wildlife.


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06/25/2022 06:35 pm GMT

Traps

There are lots of ways you can trap slugs in your garden. One of the more common ones that get mentioned all the time online is beer traps.

essentially you bait the slugs with beer into a container that they can’t get out of and therefore drown.

They are simple and effective, but I don’t use them. Why not you ask? Because they are too effective, but how can that be? Let me explain.

Beer is a potent bait for slugs, a bit too potent in fact. Studies have shown that slugs will travel over 200m for a nice pint.

What this means is you are attracting slugs from outside your garden into your newly established slug pub.

In my mind, not all of these slugs will meet a delicious demise in your beer trap. Some will never find it, some might get themselves back out of the trap. So all you are doing is inviting more slugs into your garden.

What I like to do is leave some wood or cardboard on a path in your garden. The slugs will be attracted to it, and then you simply pick it up after a couple of days and you will have some slugs to get rid of.

Slug on my cardboard trap
Slug on my cardboard trap

If you are really lucky you will find a few clumps of these little white eggs on your trap too. Just leave this upturned somewhere in the garden and the birds will soon be down to eat them.

I like to do this as I believe in time it will attract more birds to your garden which will naturally pray on these eggs and other pests.

This obviously depends on what you are growing, if slugs are already a problem for some of your crops then you probably don’t want to invite more in!

Slug Eggs
Slug Eggs

Torch and Bucket

The manual method, and as is often the case with the manual method, this is very effective but time-consuming. Wait until dark and go out into the garden with a torch, some gloves and a bucket and start collecting slugs.

This is best done on a damp night after heavy rain as then the slugs will be everywhere, happy hunting!

It Works For Me

There are tonnes of different ideas about slug prevention and destruction banded about online. There are many popular ones I haven’t mentioned.

These methods above are what I do and it works for me. I manage to grow lupins really successfully on an organic allotment plot.

Let me know in the comments below which ideas work for you, I am always on the hunt for new slug control methods!

My Lupin Border
My Lupin Border

Daniel

Daniel

Hey, I'm Daniel. Having worked as a professional gardener for years as well as keeping a private allotment I decided to create this website to help spread my knowledge. I love gardening and hope to show you just how rewarding it can be!

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