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Snails are a common and unsightly nuisance in many gardens and plant collections. They’re not fussy and will eat almost any plant, chewing straight through tender leaves and causing significant holes to form. Indoor plants are typically safe from snails, but if you place them outside during the warmer seasons then, unfortunately, snails can be a likely unwelcome visitor.
SYMPTOMS & IDENTIFICATION
Snails are a type of gastropod mollusk, meaning that they do not have internal skeletons. However, they are protected by (and are easily identified by) their shells. They can cause a fair amount of damage to your plants.
Snails mainly harm the leaves of your plants, causing holes to form where they have fed on the plant
They can be found on the underside of leaves, on the stem, in the soil or under the pot - they tend to like to find places to hide
You can also look out for slime trails on or around your plants
The easiest and fastest way is to manually remove the snails and place them somewhere else. Make sure to place them at least 20 feet (roughly 6m) away from your plants.
Make sure to also check for hidden snails - look in dark, tight spaces like in buckets or around your pots. Try to allow for good air circulation between your plants and avoid crowding them together.
Note that they are more likely to be active at night time, especially in wet conditions.
But in more serious cases:
There are many different types of bacteria you can mix in the soil that will kill intruders like this.
If this doesn't work you can always use traps, barriers and repellents that are specialized for keeping snails away and in the worst-case scenario, there are many different types of effective pesticides.
CAN I AVOID THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN?
Try to water your plants in the morning so that they have the chance to dry out properly before snails become active in the evening/night. You can also sprinkle grit around your plants, which will deter snails from approaching the plant.
QUESTIONS ABOUT SNAILS
ARE MY PLANTS AT RISK? If you keep your plants indoors all year round, then snails shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, if you have plants outside at any point then you run the risk of having a snail attack. Because they’re not picky about what types of plants they feed on, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on all of your outdoor plants for snail damage.
HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE? Most common land snails live for around 1-3 years, however, they are known to live much longer in captivity, and their lifespan varies depending on the type of snail.
WHAT DO THEY EAT? Snails feed on the leaves and tender parts of plants: young snails begin feeding immediately. However, they do seem to usually avoid plants with strong-smelling foliage, or those that have waxy or hairy coverings.