En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 06, 2007

From: Edinboro, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Control for slugs and snails in Arisaema triphyllum
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I had a beautiful Jack In The Pulpit growing and something has eaten it. What can I do to help prevent that next year? I live in Northwestern PA.

ANSWER:

Slugs or snails are the likely culprits. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), contains chemical compounds which most herbivores - including deer and rabbits - find unpalatable. Of course, deer are famous for eating plants which common knowledge says they won't eat, but deer typically browse such plants only when other, preferred food sources are scarce and when the normally-distasteful plant is producing new, tender growth with low cellular concentrations of the offending chemical compound. Snails and slugs are not that picky and Jack-in-the-pulpit seems to be a preferred plant for them.

The best way to forestall another slug attack next year is to remove the things in your garden that attract them. Since you will want to keep your Jack-in-the-pulpit plants, you will want to take a different strategy. The most attractive garden elements for snails and slugs are good hiding places. These creatures spend most of their time lurking in moist sheltered spots and do their hunting and feeding during nighttime hours. If you remove or otherwise make unsuitable the places snails like to hide, they will simply go elsewhere.

There are several non-toxic (to humans and other vertebrates) control strategies that you might employ to kill or repel your garden snails. Here is a link to an excellent article from The University of California on snail and slug management. One of the copper-based strategies described in the article, along with removal of hiding places, will likely yield the best results for you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Jack in the pulpit
Arisaema triphyllum

More Deer Resistant Questions

Leaves being eaten off columbines
May 30, 2011 - Hi, We recently planted some columbines and they have been doing quite well. Just today, we noticed that something has eaten all the leaves off a couple of the plants. Several that are planted clo...
view the full question and answer

Deer eating Non-native Asiatic Jasmine in Georgetown, TX
October 22, 2015 - Is there a spray or granular material that will prevent deer from eating asiatic jasmine?
view the full question and answer

Critter-Proof Native Plants for Virginia Lawn
April 02, 2015 - We live in a gated community that was part of the Wilderness Battlefield during the Civil War. Our home is on a narrow lot, fully treed except for a postage stamp-sized lawn at lake side. We have de...
view the full question and answer

Deer deterrent for Texas Persimmon
September 23, 2004 - The deer have destroyed my Texas Persimmon by standing on their hind legs and pulling down the branches--either ripping them off entirely or twisting them. I didn't realize the persimmon fruit would...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant plants for steep hillside erosion control
June 03, 2008 - Hello, I am looking for advice on native plants to control erosion on a steep hillside in the western cross timbers. This is a shady area under post oaks and cedar elms, in shallow sandy soil mixed w...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center