Eight Popular Perennials Favored by Slugs

by DerdriuMarriner

Ten perennials which are enjoyed as ornamentals by gardeners are also favored by slugs.

Perennials find favor not only with gardeners but also with slugs.

Ornamental perennials prettify gardens and lawns with their predictable flowering.

Unfortunately, ornamentals may attract unwelcome visitors such as slugs.

Awareness of a plant's specific pest threats is key to strategizing for healthy ornamentals whose beauty remains unmarred by slug onslaughts.

Popular perennials which are sensitive to slug feeding frenzies include:
•Atkinsii snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis 'Atkinsii),
•black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta),
•blue cowslip or blue lungwort (Pulmonaria angustifolia),
•Brilliant showy stonecrop or showy stonecrop or ice plant (Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant' or Hylotelephium spectabile 'Brilliant'),
•heath aster (Aster ericoides),
•lamb's ears or woolly betony (Stachys byzantina),
•peach-leafed bellflower or willow bellflower (Campanula persicifolia), and
•Silver Light bergenia or elephant ears (Bergenia 'Silberlicht).

heath aster (Aster ericoides)

Portage, Kalamazoo County, southwestern Michigan
Portage, Kalamazoo County, southwestern Michigan

Zones 3 to 9 (-40 to 30 °F; -40 to - 1 °C): Full sun or partial shade

 

Aster ericoides, commonly known as heath aster, reaches a height of 32 to 40 inches (80 to 100 centimeters), with a spread of 20 to 32 inches (50 to 80 centimeters).

Flowers open as pink, yellow-eyed daisies atop leafy, slenderly branched stems.

Asters are disfavored by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and rabbits (family Leporidae).
Thus, although enticing to slugs, asters seclude garden treasures from forays by these four-legged, notorious garden munchers.

In 1993 the Royal Horticultural Society honored four cultivars of Aster ericoides with Awards of Garden Merit (AGM):

  • 'Blue Star'
  • 'Brimstone'
  • 'Golden Spray,' and
  • 'Pink Cloud.'

 

Bergenia 'Silberlicht

Vienna, northeastern Austria
Vienna, northeastern Austria

 

Bergenia 'Silberlicht, commonly known as Silver Light bergenia or elephant ears, reaches a height of 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 centimeters), with a spread of 16 to 32 inches (40 to 80 centimeters).

Leaves shine as glossy green beneath loosely clustered white flowers that age to pink.

Bergenia 'Silberlicht' is repugnant to whitetails so a garden which is disturbed by slugs at least will be abandoned quickly by deer with the addition of this plant.

Bergenia 'Silberlicht' received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993

 

blue cowslip (Pulmonaria angustifolia)

Circ de Colomérs, Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park (Catalan: Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici)
Catalan Pyrenees, northwestern Spain
Catalan Pyrenees, northwestern Spain

Zones 3 to 9 (-40 to 30 °F; -40 to - 1 °C): Partial shade or full shade

 

Pulmonaria angustifolia, commonly known as blue cowslip or blue lungwort, reaches a height of 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 centimeters), with an exuberant spread of 16 to 40 inches (40 to 100 centimeters).

Flowers open in nodding clusters of gentian-blue, tubular flowers.

Pulmonaria angustifolia received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993.

 

Atkinsii snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis 'Atkinsii')

Atkinsii snowdrops honor English nurseryman and early galanthophile James Atkins (1804–1884).
Atkinsii snowdrops honor English nurseryman and early galanthophile James Atkins (1804–1884).

Zones 4 to 8 (-30 to 20 °F; -34 to - 7 °C): Partial shade

 

Galanthus nivalis 'Atkinsii', commonly known as Atkinsii snowdrop, reaches a height of 8 inches (20 centimeters), with a spread of 7 inches (18 centimeters).

Flowers open as pure white, marked with green, in winter.

'Atkinsii' received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993.

Caution should be exercised, as:

  • contact with Galanthus bulbs may cause skin irritations;
  • ingestion of any part of Galanthus plant may provoke mild stomach upsets.

 

lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina)

a sprig fresh from the garden: soft and colorful
a sprig fresh from the garden: soft and colorful

Zones 4 to 8 (-30 to 20 °F; -34 to - 7 °C): Full sun

 

Stachys byzantina, commonly known as lamb's ears or woolly betony, reaches a height of 18 inches (45 centimeters) with a spread of 24 inches (60 centimeters).

Grey-green leaves highlight pink to purple flowers.

This plant is repugnant to whitetails so a garden which is grazed by deer quickly will be disencumbered of its four-legged visitors by a barrier of lamb's ears.

 

black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Gallagator Trail, Bozeman, Gallatin County, southwestern Montana
Gallagator Trail, Bozeman, Gallatin County, southwestern Montana

Zones 4 to 9 (-30 to 30 °F; -34 to - 1 °C): Partial shade or full sun

 

Rudbeckia hirta, commonly known as black-eyed Susan, reaches a height of 5 to 7 feet (1.5 to 2 meters), with a spread of 32 to 48 inches (80 to 120 centimeters).

Yellow ray florets encircle purple-brown disc florets as flowerheads open above narrowly long, lance-shaped leaves.

Rudbeckia are also profoundly unappetizing to white-tailed deer so the addition of this plant shoos away deer.

Two black-eyed Susan cultivars, 'Indian Summer' and 'Toto,' received the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 2000.

 

Peach-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia)

one of the most popular campanulas
one of the most popular campanulas

Zones 4 to 9 (-30 to 30 °F; -34 to - 1 °C): Full sun

 

Campanula persicifolia, commonly known as peach-leafed bellflower or willow bellflower, reaches a height of 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 centimeters) with a spread of 18 inches (45 centimeters).

Blue, bell-shaped flowers open widely to about 2 inches (5 centimeters) against dramatic rosettes of narrow, wavy-edged leaves.

 

showy stonecrop (Sedum spectabile)

In addition to its spectacular flowers, Sedum spectabile is valued for its resistance to drought.
In addition to its spectacular flowers, Sedum spectabile is valued for its resistance to drought.

Zones 6 to 10 (-10 to 40 °F; -23 to 4 °C): Full sun

 

Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant' has the scientific synonym of Hylotelephium spectabile 'Brilliant'. Its common names include showy stonecrop or Brilliant showy stonecrop or ice plant. 'Brilliant' reaches a height of 27 inches (70 centimeters), with a spread of 16 to 32 inches (40 to 80 centimeters).

Flowers open as pink to rosy magenta.

Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant' garnered an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993.

Caution should be exercised, as:

  • contact with Sedum sap may cause skin irritations;
  • ingestion of any part of Sedum plants may provoke mild stomach upsets.

 

Leopard slugs (Limax maximus) are brazen garden invaders.

Olomouc, Moravia, eastern Czech Republic
Olomouc, Moravia, eastern Czech Republic

Conclusion: Perennials with sluggish allure

 

Perennials brighten landscapes and enchant with their predictable recurrence. Unfortunately, gardeners are not alone in appreciation of returning perennials. Other garden lovers, such as slugs, also are attracted to certain perennials.

In planning yearly gardens, identification of potential problems, such as plant-specific pests, is essential for success. Eight perennials which are popular ornamentals bring with them the worrisome baggage of undesirable attention from slugs:

  • Atkinsii snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis 'Atkinsii),
  • black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta),
  • blue cowslip or blue lungwort (Pulmonaria angustifolia),
  • Brilliant showy stonecrop or showy stonecrop or ice plant (Sedum spectabile 'Brilliant' or Hylotelephium spectabile 'Brilliant'),
  • heath aster (Aster ericoides),
  • lamb's ears or woolly betony (Stachys byzantina),
  • peach-leafed bellflower or willow bellflower (Campanula persicifolia), and
  • Silver Light bergenia or elephant ears (Bergenia 'Silberlicht).

Nevertheless, these perennials do not have to be banned from gardens. Instead, their healthy enjoyment may be assured by incorporating strategies for slug repellents into garden designs and plans.

 

Dusky slug (Arion subfucsus) consuming dandelion (Taraxacum):

Nearby diversionary plants such as dandelions may divert slugs from gardens.
Boulevard Park, Seattle, northwestern Washington
Boulevard Park, Seattle, northwestern Washington

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Peach-leaved bellflowers open as pure white or gentle pastels of lilac:

understandably enticing to wildlife, not only to slugs but also to butterflies such as golden hued Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)
peach-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia): also known as willow bellflower
peach-leaved bellflower (Campanula persicifolia): also known as willow bellflower

Sources Consulted

 

"Bergenia 'Silberlicht' AGM." Royal Horticultural Society > Plants > Plant Selector. 2011. The Royal Horticultural. Web. www.rhs.org.uk

  • Available at: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=242 

Brickell, Christopher, and Judith D. Zuk, eds. The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. New York: DK Publishing, 1996.

Flora: A Gardener’s Encyclopedia. Volumes I-II. Portland OR: Timber Press, 2003.

"Galanthus 'Atkinsii' AGM." Royal Horticultural Society > Plants > Plant Selector. 2011. The Royal Horticultural. Web. www.rhs.org.uk

  • Available at: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=828

Lancaster, Roy. Perfect Plant Perfect Place: The Surest Way to Select the Right Outdoor and Indoor Plants. London-New York-Sydney-Moscow: Dorling Kindersley, 2002.

"Pulmonaria angustifolia AGM." Royal Horticultural Society > Plants > Plant Selector. 2011. The Royal Horticultural Society. Web. www.rhs.org.uk

  • Available at: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=3477

"RHS AGM Listing May 2013 (Ornamentals)." Royal Horticultural Society > Plant Awards > List of plants with the AGM. May 2013. The Royal Horticultural Society. Web. www.rhs.org.uk

  • Available at: http://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/Plant-trials-and-awards/Plant-awards/AGM-plants

"Sedum spectabile (Brilliant Group) 'Brilliant' AGM." Royal Horticultural Society > Plants > Plant Selector. 2011. The Royal Horticultural. Web. www.rhs.org.uk

  • Available at: http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/plant?plantid=1819

Symondson, William O.C. “Slug Control.” Cardiff School of Bioscences > StaffInfo > Slugs. October 1996. Cardiff University. Web. www.cardiff.ac.uk

  • Available at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/biosi/staffinfo/wocs2.html

 

landscape of snowdrops (Galanthus)

Kingston Lacy NT gardens near Wimborne, Dorset.
Kingston Lacy NT gardens near Wimborne, Dorset.
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

VW Slug Bugs: a welcome "slug"!

Comes packaged in a Limited Edition Collectors Storage Box! Cuff link size: Approximately 3/4" x 1/2"
Vintage Pink Slug Bug VW Beetle Car Volkswagen Automobile Cufflinks...

Two volume set covering more than 20,000 plants from all around the world. Beautifully illustrated.

accompanying CD-ROM enables a gardener to choose plants by group, hardiness zone, flower, color, and flowering season.
Flora: A Gardener's Encyclopedia 2 volume set , vol 1 A-K vol 2 L-Z

Garden with Sunflowers, 1905-1906: black t-shirt ~ A healthy garden is a cheery garden.

image of oil painting by Gustave Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918)
Garden with Sunflowers, 1905-6
Ad AllPosters

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 08/20/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?
4

Comments


   Login
DerdriuMarriner on 01/17/2014

cmoneyspinner, Can you imagine the difficulty which I encountered in selecting one photo to display for this article on my profile page?!

cmoneyspinner on 01/16/2014

Oh! Oh! I like the Bergenia 'Silberlicht!
No! No! The blue cowslip!
No! No! Um … lamb's ears?
Wait a minute. The peach-leaved bellflower.
That's my final answer.

No it's not. Forget it! I'll take 'em all!!

I agree with you perennials brighten landscapes and enchant. Any one of them can work that kind of magic. Love this Wizzle!!

You might also like

Three Annoying Garden Dwelling Slugs: Old World Invaders of Ne...

Gardens worldwide are invaded persistently by three Old World native slugs: d...

Slug Proof Garden: Slug Resistant Perennials for a Slug Free G...

Prettifying gardens with perennials which are repellent to slugs is an easy, ...


Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...
Error!