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My poor dahlias are just green stumps with no leaves. They have been eaten down to the ground at least twice this years dispite me scattering ferric pellets around them. I am getting worried that they will just run out of steam if they dont develop foliage soon. One has been in the ground for two years and the second for one and I would be quite miffed if they would die not because of the weather but because of slugs! Thinking of bying some pet bottles just to be able to make some chaeap closhes for them. Previous years they have just outgrown the slugs but not this time.

So will they surive if they don't develop proper foliage this yaer?


 I would imagine they will survive one year without foliage but your biggest problem will be rotting, if it does not stop raining. I will be taking mine out of the ground this winter.

I have to admit to having dug up a few plants, such as a lobelia that was eaten back to a stump, potted them up and put them temporarily into protective custody in the garage (it's light in there)! I'm hoping that will give the victims time to recover a bit before I put them outdoors again.

I'm not sure if a cloche would be 100% protective because don't slugs also live below the soild and could tunnel up into the cosy cloche and nibble away in peace?

It's just such a dreadful summer and I do hope your poor dahlias make it through.

Emma Crawforth

Hello Swedboy,

You could try using some nematodes. They work really well, but they are expensive and they don't last forever. Now is the time to water them in though. They like warmth and wet soil. Hopefully you might get some foliage that way. You'll need it to photosynthesise and provide food for the tubers, even if you don't get any flowers this year.

Emma team




I think I wont go down the nematode route as it is a bit expensive. At least there are green stems and some very small leaves so some kind of photosynthesis is going on. I'll move the plastic bottles I use as closhes for my tomates next week as I think they are now so big they should be able to survive...



I know how you feel, I am so struggling keeping on top of the battle with snails and slugs. 

I have taken to going out and collecting them all in a bucket of salty water, its alarming how many I am collecting from my small garden

Maybe I should start the ale traps again. My slugs prefer that to lager.

The idea of real ale snobby slugs has cheered me up!

The best way to get rid of them is to go out at night with a torch and something sharp. Sounds horrible but in my limited experience it's the best and most effective way and you don't run the risk (or possible risk) of poisening any other wildlife (not that I'm against using the safer pellets).

In my first year as a gardener I had two Dahlia's completely stripped, I moved them to a drier part of the garden, took some action against the slugs, and the plants grew back and flowered that year.


I grow my 'best' dahlias in pots, after losing some in a 'normal' year, but even those are struggling this year with the slug/snail attack, despite copper rings around them.

Have pulled up the majority my 'bedding' ones- very inexpensive from Aldi- because they were just skeletons. I never planned to try & keep them over the winter, but it would have been nice to have had the choice.

Nematodes are on the list for next year. I've used them in the past with good results, but not cheap. J.

I agree with leggi. Picking slugs n snails off at night is best way. Incidentally, I have found a new compost to be very effective against slugs called Light and Easy It's a very dry absorbent texture.....I deliberately use it as dry as poss as a mulch and it worked brilliantly

You could try putting a ring of sharp stones around the plants,I have found that this works,Also the best tip I have been given,is....wait for it....broken eggs shells....yes this works.....when you get the egg shell,try and dry it out first,as when you break them into smaller pieces,the are sharper,slugs etc dont like to scratch their

I've never grown dahlias before but bought two in pots this year. They've flowered really well (apart from a few munched leaves!) but I'm not sure what to do with them over winter. Can I just leave them as they are in pots in the conservatory or do I have to take them out of the pots to keep them? I would be grateful for any advice.
Patrevlil wrote (see)
I've never grown dahlias before but bought two in pots this year. They've flowered really well (apart from a few munched leaves!) but I'm not sure what to do with them over winter. Can I just leave them as they are in pots in the conservatory or do I have to take them out of the pots to keep them? I would be grateful for any advice.

Leave them in their pots is my advice but let them dry out-also check for any nasties-slugs/snails that hide under the rim.

They should be ok till next year

Last winter was so awful, I didn't get the chance to lift mine and to my surprise, they grew this year fine - a bit slow to get started, but OK.   I had to cut one down because it was completely ravaged by tiny snails.   I hope it survives.   The other one is flowering now.   It has missed the earwigs that plagued me last year, and is a bit scruffy because of the snails, but otherwise OK.   I intend to mulch deeply with something sharp and to leave them in the ground again.(Twinings after eight)  The ones in pots came through the winter as well, but have not frown as strongly as the ones in the ground.

Thanks for your advice sotongeoff. I'll do as you advise and hopefully the dahlias will survive. The conservatory is really filling up now with pelargoniums, fuschias,various cuttings and now dahlias. Never thought we would use the conservatory when we bought this cottage as they always get SO hot but it's invaluable over winter for all the plants.


tuckshop gardener

My dahlias suffered the same terrible chomping this year, but one is still trying valiantly to flower.  The others just protrude their gnashed stumps to mock my determination not to use slug pellets.  Even my resolve is weakening, but I'll give the egg shells a whirl next year and pray for a drier year...

When I have previously tried, in a negligent kind of way, to lift and store dahlias over winter, I tend to find that they rot away, so I plan to leave mine in the ground, mulch their ragged stumps well and hope for the best.  I'm also going to sow some from seed next year to have some cheap and cheerful flowers for cutting.

If you dont wish to use slug pellets next year why not give copper rings a go? snails and slugs wont cross over copper, you can either buy a ring of copper online for this purpose or you can get a length of copper pipe and flatten it with a hammer then form a ring big enough to surround your dahlia or hosta as it grows

The best way is to put dead holly leaves around each plant.
That's a brilliant idea smada_1 - holly leaves, especially dead ones are lethal(as I've found to my cost whenever I've trodden on one with bare feet) I can understand why slugs and snails would be reluctant to crawl over them. Will certainly try this with my Dahlias and Hostas next year.

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