Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Perennial plants native to northeastern Pennsylvania
May 12, 2005 - What perennial plants are native to northeastern Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, deciduous plants for New Braunfels, TX
March 28, 2010 - I have three acres of filtered sunlight/mostly shade. What deer resistant, flowering, deciduous plants are best for the New Braunfels area. I have had split leaf phyladendruns for twenty years, but th...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Holly after Deer Browse
January 16, 2010 - Deer have been eating my Holly Bushes. Can I prune now in January? I live in the North of New Jersey. Will they come back fuller? I just planted them in spring last year. How can I get them fuller
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, deer resistant native plants for Kerrville, TX
April 28, 2008 - I'm looking for a plant that will spread quickly and thickly on a very steep slope. The area to be covered is 60'long x 5'high and is crumbly limestone with full sun and very dry. We have a large...
view the full question and answer

Does deer repellant really work from Hope NJ
November 10, 2009 - Does Deer Stopper by Messina Wildlife really work as an organic pest repellent?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.