Q&A: Signs of Slugs

I know that slugs love hostas, but are there other plants they especially like? Also, what does slug damage look like?—TO, N.Y.

Answer: It may be easier to list what slugs won’t eat! Slugs like juicy foliage, so they particularly love the leaves and stems of seedlings of many vegetable and flowering plants. Herbaceous perennials are also a favorite food. They munch certain ripening fruits, including strawberries, artichokes and tomatoes that are close to the ground.

The telltale sign is smooth-edged roundish holes in leaves and fruit. The holes make the plant or fruit unsightly and leave it more susceptible to rot and disease. Earwigs and caterpillars also chew such holes, so look for silvery, slimy trails on the ground to confirm the culprit was a slug.

Slugs relish very moist environments: under rocks and containers, under mulch, in damp shade gardens, amid thick vegetation—and of course near plants that likewise relish moist soil.

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