En Español

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

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-resistant ground covers
November 29, 2007 - Are there any deer resistant ground covers? Our asiatic jasmine has been eaten up by the deer.
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant trees for privacy in Texas
January 09, 2015 - I need to find a deer resistant tall shrub or tree to plant and hide the deer fence my neighbor just put up on our property line. My property has full sun in parts and mostly shady in other parts and ...
view the full question and answer

Overwintering possumhaw seedlings indoors in Pflugerville, TX.
September 30, 2009 - Can possumhaw (Ilex decidua) seedlings be kept indoors over the winter? The goal is to protect them from deer and there is no other good option (i.e., no protected outdoor porch, etc.), unless you ca...
view the full question and answer

Identity of ball-shaped purple flower in Connecticut
July 13, 2015 - I am trying to identify a ball shaped purple/light purple flower with opposite leaves that look fern like. It has been in bloom since late May or early June. I have found it growing with what appear...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center