; Does Potting Soil Have Snails? Here’s What to do – Flourishing Plants

Does Potting Soil Have Snails? Here’s What to do


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The snails in the potting soil will climb trees and plants to ingest young foliage and destroy roots. Potted plants may or may not contain snails, and there are natural and chemical ways to get rid of them.

Potting soil with a moist environment can have snails. The effects of these snails can be controlled by spreading eggshells and ashes on the soil, which creates an unsuitable environment for them to exist. Chemical means can also be used, such as Iron phosphate, Metaldehyde, and EDTA based baits which act as irritants to prevent snails from coming around.

There are natural and chemical means of deterring snails from the soil that don’t affect neighboring plants and are safe to use. If you are establishing your new garden and want to take preventive measures to keep them out of your lawn, here I have some fantastic and natural tips to keep them out. 

So, let’s dig in.

How to Identify Snails in Soil?

Snails are the most common pests of the plants that love to reside and dine on the plants.

If you never had snails in your indoor potted plants but now feeling something different, chances are the plants have taken snails from any new plant. 

You can quickly identify snails in the soil for their specific body form. They are a close relative of slugs and are shell-bound with sticky nature. 

One of the easiest signs to trace the presence of snails is a silvery film in the morning.

As they move and feed at night, they produce a slimy trail that dries till morning and gives a silvery appearance. 

Brown garden snail is most commonly found in soil.

You can also get an idea of the presents of snails in the garden with irregular holes on the foliage, chewed shoots, flowers, soft fruits, and the young plants’ bark.

Snail in potted soil

How to Get Rid of snails from potting soil?

If you want to keep your pants safe and healthy, don’t ignore snails and work to eliminate them. 

You can use natural ways that must be your first choice, second, chemical means. 

Here are some ways to get rid of snails naturally and chemically.

Natural means 

  • Use a beer trap

    Snails are attracted to beer, and you can use it to trap garden snails. It’s actually the smell of yeast that makes beer attractive for snails. 

    If you want to use this baiting trick, bury a mug or small container in soil with the opening out of the ground and fill it with beer. 

    Make the path clear to the trap and leave it overnight. Carry out a check in the morning, you will notice that snails will be in the beer container. 
  • Eggshells

    The body of snails is very soft and slimy. They avoid sharp obstacles and do not move on such objects. 

    You can benefit from the structure of the broken egg shells and use it to get rid of snails from the potting soil.

    Just crush the shells and sprinkle around pots or wherever you need protection. 

    They will avoid coming in contact with shells, and your plants will remain safe.

    This strategy will also benefit your plants as the bodies are made up of calcium and will nourish by adding calcium to the soil. 
  • Coffee

    Snails have developed taste buds, and they like coffee. Just like beer, you can also use coffee to get rid of snails. 

    You can use it and sprinkle around the vulnerable plants or spray chilled coffee on the leaves, stems, or soil. 

    If you see any snail bypassing your plants then you know that it has worked.
  • Ashes

    You can collect ashes from the fireplace or burn a piece of bark tree to use ashes against snails. 

    They will act as a desiccant and dry out snails. Place these ashes around pots or make a boundary on the ground and build a barrier for ashes. 

    When snails are dehydrated they will not come around and your soil and plants will grow healthy.  
  • Diatomaceous earth

    Diatomaceous earth is a fantastic powder made from the fossils of tiny sea organisms. 

    You can use this powder as a natural way to get rid of snails. But when using this plan, be sure you are using the non-toxic and food-grade powder in dry form as it loses effectiveness if moist.

    The powder consists of fine particles with sharp edges that destroy snails. 

I use this Miracle-Gro Potting Mix from amazon, which ensures my plants stay healthy long after repotting. You can find it by clicking here.

Chemical means

  • Iron phosphate baits

    Iron phosphate baits are among the safest pesticides to get rid of pests.

    You can use it in the garden, around children, pets, fish, birds, or other domestic animals. 

    It is an excellent choice to be used for Integrated Pest Control management in your garden. 

    It affects the feeding of the snails, and they do not abruptly die. After consuming, they hide and take about one week to die.
  • EDTA based baits 

    These baits are somewhat similar to the Iron baits but have more abrupt killing power. 

    The snails die within three days after consuming but do not use for organic use. 
  • Sulfur Products

    Baits containing Sulphur as active ingredients reduce the feeding capacity of snails and results in their death. 

    The extent of killing is less than iron-based products. You can use it for less damaging effects. 
  • Metaldehyde baits

    Metaldehyde baits are also useful against snails, but they are poisonous to children and pets.

    If you want to use a bait with metaldehyde ingredients, do not use it in the garden where children and dogs play.

    It is also not suitable for vegetable plants.

    Some of these baits also contain active ingredients that are harmful to beneficial insects and spiders.

    Therefore, it is better to analyze any product before applying it to your garden. 

Does Potting Soil Come with Snails?

It is not absolute that potting soil comes with snails all the time. 

They can grow in potting soil and inhabit the moisture.

If you want to keep the snails out of your garden, ensure the soil before purchasing and use soil free from the snails. 

Yellow miracle grow potting mix

Preventative measures: How to Keep them Out?

If you made your garden free from snails and want to keep them out, you can try these preventive measures. 

You will get a safe and healthy garden without damaging snails.

  • The first thing you can do is add a layer of bark, wood chips, or gravel to your garden. 

    It is difficult for them to get around the slide. So, adding such materials around plants helps to prevent your plants from snails.
  • Water your lawn or garden in the morning. Snails do not like moisture and they go in search of food at night.

    When soil is dried at night, there will be no chance of snail.
  • Grow fruit trees and attract birds to your garden.

    Most birds eat snails and when they come to your garden for fruits, consume snails, if there are any.
  • You can deceive snails with sacrificial plants. These are plants that are used to divert snails from the main garden bed and protect plants. 
Snail eggs in soil

Identifying those Yellow or Orange Balls in Potting soil

Have you ever noticed the pale yellow or orange balls in the potting soil? What are these balls? There are two possibilities for these balls. 

First, they could be either fertilizer balls or the eggs of the snails.

You can quickly identify those yellow or orange balls in the potting soil as the eggs of these insects are slightly pointed while the fertilizer balls are spherical. 

Secondly, if these balls are of snails, they would not be scattered in the pot rather they would placed around the same spot.

Another good identification tip is the eggs of snails are transparent and paler than the fertilizer balls. 

So, if you find these balls in our pots or the garden, you can quickly analyze whether these are mare fertilizer leftovers, perlite or snails are residing at your place.

Are Snails Good for Plants?

When you count on snails’ good and bad sides, you get they give more harm than benefits in the garden. So, this is the case with plants. 

As far as they are on the ground, they will not harm, but when they climb on plants, consume leaves and make big holes. 

They climb trees and shrubs to eat flowering buds. Ripen fruits are their favorite, and the bark of young trees is also their prime target.  

Most of the snails burrow underground holes and destroy the roots of the plants. 

If they come to your garden in spring or sow seeds, they feast on sprouting grass and kill the growing plants. 

If your garden has snails and you move indoor plants, they can enter potted plants and make hiding places.

Can you Use Potting Soil for Snails?

Snails love to grow in moisture, and potting soil is good at retaining water. So, you can use potting soil for snails. This is also cheap, and snails make holes to live deep in the ground. 

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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