Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Deer-resistant native ground cover for part sun in Lago Vista TX
May 01, 2010 - Looking for a ground cover in an area that gets partial sun, is level and good drainage. Area is 10' x 20'. Thought about Trachelospermun Asiaticum (Asiatic Jasmine) but what ever I go with it has t...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant groundcover for Tampa, Florida
June 06, 2009 - I live in Tampa, FL and have a deer problem. I was wondering if you would give me some suggestions for deer resistant ground covers that are hearty and flower but most of all "DEER RESISTANT"!!! ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Texas cherry tomato
April 24, 2005 - We just bought 2 Texas cherry tomato plants at the plant sale. We have to container garden in a walled courtyard due to deer. (Would deer be attracted to the plants in a garden with herbs and high de...
view the full question and answer

Non-native mimosa as deer food in Colerain, NC
June 20, 2009 - I was wondering if deer eat any part of the mimosa tree? I have three good sized trees in my yard with seedlings popping up everywhere. Would it be profitable to transplant for deer habitat?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.