The easiest ways to get rid of snails in potted plants

The easiest ways to get rid of snails in potted plants

With all due respect and love for snails and slugs, I prefer to encounter them in the middle of the street and not in the potted plants inside my house. It’s not personal against them, but they can cause real damage to our plants and, in extreme cases, the house members. The following article will comprehensively review several easy ways to remove snails from potted plants, Why It Is Important To Get Rid of Snails and prevent them from returning.

To get rid of snails in potted plants, we can use various methods, including Vinegar Spray, Epsom Salt Solution, handpicking, copper barriers, beer traps, eggshells, grit barriers, natural predators, nematodes, commercial baits, cultural practices, or copper mesh and foil. Each of us will want to use the method that will be the best for his case to learn how to get rid of the snails by any of the methods I mentioned; keep reading the article.

12 ways to get rid of snails in potted plants

Several relatively easy and effective methods exist to eliminate snails in potted plants. Here are some methods you can try:

Vinegar Spray

One of the best ways to get rid of snails is by using vinegar spray. Mix equal vinegar and water and spray the solution onto snails or around the plants. The pungent smell and acidity can repel snails.

Epsom Salt Solution

Another effective way to help you get rid of snails with the help of organic materials is the use of salt. Dissolve Epsom salt in water and spray it on your potted plants. The solution can deter snails and provide a magnesium boost to your plants.


Handpicking is a labor-intensive yet effective way to control snail infestations in potted plants. The best time to do this is during the evening or early morning when snails are most active. As you inspect your potted plants, carefully remove the snails by hand and relocate them far away from your garden. This hands-on approach is often preferred by gardeners who embrace natural ways of pest management.

Copper Barriers

Employing copper barriers, such as copper wire or tape, is another organic way to keep snails at bay. These metallic deterrents create an effective barrier that snails are reluctant to cross. You can attach copper wire around the rim of your pots or wind copper tape around the base of the plant. The snails’ aversion to copper makes it one of the best ways to protect your new plants from snail damage.

how to get rid of snails in potted plants
how to get rid of snails in potted plants

Beer Traps

Setting up beer traps is a popular and effective way to lure and eliminate snails. Dig a shallow container into the soil near your potted plants and fill it with beer. Snails are attracted to the scent and will crawl into the container. Once inside, they will drown in the beer. Regularly empty and refill the traps to ensure their effectiveness in managing snail populations.

Eggshell or Grit Barrier

Creating a barrier using crushed eggshells, diatomaceous earth, or coarse sand is a natural and environmentally friendly method to deter snails. Sprinkle these materials around the base of your plants to create a gritty surface that snails find difficult to crawl across. This approach serves as a deterrent and recycles organic matter, making it a sustainable choice for gardeners.

Natural Predators

Introducing natural predators into your garden is one of the best ways to establish a balanced ecosystem that keeps snail populations in check. Ground beetles, frogs, toads, and birds are excellent natural predators of snails. Encouraging these creatures to inhabit your garden can be an effective long-term strategy for controlling snail infestations while minimizing the need for intervention.


Beneficial nematodes offer an effective biological control method against snails. These microscopic organisms can be added to the soil around your potted plants. Once introduced, they actively seek out snails and infect them with bacteria, ultimately leading to their demise. This natural way of pest control helps maintain a healthy balance in your garden and is particularly useful when dealing with persistent snail issues.

Handmade Repellents

Crafting your repellent using water, vinegar, garlic, or chili peppers can potently deter snails. Combine these ingredients to create a spray you can apply to your plants and their surroundings. This organic concoction not only wards off snails but also enriches your garden’s soil by introducing organic matter.

Commercial Baits

​Commercial snails and slug baits containing iron phosphate effectively target these pests without harming other garden inhabitants. These baits are safe for pets and wildlife and are reliable for reducing snail populations. Following the instructions on the label ensures that you use the bait correctly for the best results in safeguarding your potted plants.

Cultural Practices

Practicing good garden hygiene by regularly removing debris and organic matter can create an environment less conducive to snails. Controlling moisture levels through mindful watering can discourage snails from residing in potted plants. Combining these cultural practices with other organic methods reinforces a holistic approach to snail management.

Copper Mesh or Foil

Placing copper mesh or foil around your plants’ base is an effective physical barrier against snails. This method prevents snails from accessing your plants, making it one of the best ways to shield new plants from potential snail damage. The inherent properties of copper make it an ideal material for creating a protective boundary while maintaining an organic and eco-friendly garden space.

Why Is It Important To Get Rid of Snails In Plant Pots?

Trust me, you don't want a gang of snails in your houseplants.
Trust me; You don’t want a gang of snails in your houseplants.

Getting rid of snails that are in potted plants is essential for several reasons:

  1. Plant Health: Snails can wreak havoc on the well-being of your potted plants, including indoor plants, by feeding on their leaves, stems, and flowers. Snail damage can be disheartening for plant enthusiasts who cherish their indoor plants. The loss of valuable foliage from snail feeding weakens the plant’s overall health and can hinder its growth, leading to stunted and lackluster indoor specimens.
  2. Aesthetic Appeal: Indoor plants are often chosen for their ability to enhance the ambiance of living spaces. When gardeners bring their love of gardening indoors, they expect these plants to contribute to the aesthetic charm of their surroundings. However, snail damage can quickly tarnish the appeal of indoor plants. The sight of chewed leaves, silvery trails, and small holes can mar the visual allure of your indoor garden, diminishing the beauty you intended to showcase.
  3. Container Limitations: Potted plants, whether indoors or in an organic garden, have limited space and resources compared to their counterparts growing in the ground. Snails in flower pots can have a disproportionately large impact on the plant’s health due to these space constraints. Potted plants may struggle to recover from extensive snail damage with nowhere to escape, making effective snail control in containers especially critical.
  4. Potentially Invasive Species: Indoor and potted plants in an organic garden can sometimes harbor non-native or invasive snail species. Allowing these snails to establish themselves in your containers could inadvertently introduce them to outdoor or indoor spaces, posing a significant problem for your entire garden or home ecosystem. Preventing the spread of these potential invaders is crucial for maintaining the balance and health of your plant collection.
  5. Protection of Valuable Plants: Indoor plants often include valuable specimens with sentimental or financial significance. Whether you’ve collected rare orchids or unique succulents, protecting these cherished indoor plants from snail damage is essential to preserve your investments and maintain their beauty.
  6. Disease Prevention: Snails can carry diseases harmful to indoor and garden plants. Indoor gardeners who bring outdoor plants inside during colder months may unknowingly introduce snails carrying pathogens to their indoor plant collection. Snails’ silvery trails can act as conduits for these diseases, and their presence can contribute to the spread of infections among your indoor greenery.
  7. Pest Attraction: Snails in indoor plants can attract secondary pests like ants or rodents drawn to the snails or their eggs. This undesirable cycle can amplify your challenges in maintaining your indoor garden, potentially leading to further damage and making pest control more complex.
  8. Gardening Enjoyment: For plant enthusiasts who take pride in their indoor plants, the presence of snails can disrupt the joy of tending to your collection. Discovering snails in your pots can be disheartening as you care for your indoor plants and revel in their growth. It may dampen the overall enjoyment of your indoor gardening activities.
  9. Preventing Reproduction: Snails are prolific reproducers; even a few individuals can quickly multiply. Gardeners who discovered snails in their indoor plants last year may face a more substantial population this year. Effectively addressing snail control is essential to prevent their unchecked reproduction and subsequent population explosion.
  10. Eco-Friendly Practices: Embracing organic ways of managing snails in indoor plants aligns with sustainable gardening principles. Consider utilizing self-adhesive copper tape around the base of your flower pots to create a barrier that snails avoid due to the electric shock it provides. This eco-friendly solution works well in small gardens and indoor plants, promoting snail control while minimizing the use of chemical pesticides.

Will snails kill my potted plants?

Snails can harm potted plants, including indoor ones, by feeding on leaves and flowers. This can lead to stunted growth, spread of diseases, and attract other pests like slugs. Their damage impacts aesthetics and weakens plants, making them vulnerable to environmental stressors. Preventing invasive species, maintaining beneficial insects, and using caffeine sprays can help control snail populations and protect your potted plants.

What can I do to prevent snails from returning to my pot?

Preventing the return of snails to your pots involves a multifaceted approach that addresses their habits and vulnerabilities. Elevating pots with pot feet or stands can make it challenging for snails to access your plants, while applying copper rings is a deterrent to crossing. Utilizing beer or slug traps effectively trap snails, reducing their population. Employing a spray bottle to distribute a solution of water and vinegar can repel snails and erase their slimy trails, reducing their allure to other snails. Regularly cleaning your gardening area eliminates potential hiding places and removes dead snails that can attract more of these pests. By keeping the surroundings free of debris and creating a hostile environment, you can discourage the return of snails to your pots. Inspecting your pots and plants for signs of snail activity is crucial, particularly in areas where the brown garden snail is prevalent. Removing any snails and their slime trails promptly can disrupt their presence and minimize the chance of infestation. Be vigilant when introducing new plants, primarily ornamental and leafy greens, as they can unwittingly bring snails. During dry weather, when snails seek moisture, employing preventive measures such as copper rings and slug pellets can be the best way to ensure that snails don’t find their way back to your pots. By eliminating potential food sources and implementing these strategies, you can create a less appealing environment for snails and ultimately prevent their return.


Hey, My name is Liat and I am addicted to house plants! I have at home more than 50 different types of plants of all kinds - succulents, cactus, tropical plants, orchids and more! Feel free to share the blog with friends on social networks.

Recent Posts