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I have a garden-centre-bought lupin that is growing well, except from the usual slug and snail problems.  I have sorted that, but it is still being devoured by woodlice! Does anyone know how I can prevent this as they're nibbling the flower bud as well as the leaves?

I'm also growing some lupins from seed and have several baby plants. I pricked out a few on Monday, but they're shrivelling (they're in a greenhouse). Might it be they're a bit tender? They have two sets of 'proper' leaves so I thought they'd be ok. I'm also concerned that they'll get eaten by woodlice once I plant them out!



Hi Yellow Daisy,

Sorry, no answer, but I have the same unsolved problem with lupins leaves and flower bud eaten by some pest, and would hope there is an organic way of solving it. (Relaunching the debate on the forum may bring it to the attention of a problem-solver expert...)


Firstly, Woodlice don't eat the growing parts of plants. They are nature's dustmen and are actually surviving on the dead and rotting material such as fallen leaves that quite naturally occur on even the healthiest plants.

Secondly, seedlings should be allowed to grow on in pots or a nursery bed somewhere sheltered out of full sun, watered well and left undisturbed until next spring, when they will be big enough to join the garden. Perhaps the GH is too hot?

Thirdly, and most importantly, slugs and snails are the cause of your nibbled flower buds, if my personal experience serves me well. Lupins are a favourite dinner and as much as you think you are dealing with the problem, evidently some slugs are managing to avoid your methods of control.

I would heap grit onto the crown of the plant in a diameter that equals the outer most leaf touching ground, in the case of Lupins which are mostly upright, this shouldn't be too tricky. But slugs and snails hide inside the rosettes where the flower buds are forming, the same as with Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) and Kniphofia (Redhot Poker) and you must be vigilant at this time or you will have no flowers to speak of, let alone much plant left.

A small sprinkling of blue pellets will help matters if that idea doesn't offend you and you might also try some late night slug runs with a torch and/or garlic spray on the leaves and buds until the problem is within normal bounds.

Good luck!


its ironic how we struggle and fuss over growingcertain  plants in our gardens, and at times u go out on the trains and country walks and these same plants grow happily on railway verges without a care in the world. i travel between london bridge and east croydon often, and just before u arrive at east croydon ( on the slow line)  there are loads of lupins standing tall among all the brambles and weeds. it always brings a cheer to my face. i guess, its nature trying to tell me it can do it better and in a spectacular way too. lol


@franco6832, That is indeed a wonder and can only be the result of less intervention! Whilst we would like to think our gardens are wildlife attractions, the real ecosystems are going on right under our noses in hedgerows and meadows where pests are very evidently kept in check!



Indeed, pests are kept in check in nature, by birds, and other insects which eat thier neighbours.  We love to intervene, kill  anything that we don't like the look of, and then wonder why we have every bug known, and a few that weren't a few years ago (lily beetle for example).   Since I stopped using sprays and things a few years ago, my plants are healthier, I have lots of garden birds and fewer pests.  I do have to say the first couple of years were awful as a balance was brought about - and I do use copper tape and grit to discourage creeping things.  I also give up on plants that are just obviously not happy here, no good growing something that you watch die for the next three years.  

I am not now totally organic, which makes me sad, but there is nothing local to use for lily beetle, as it is an import and nothing here will eat it.  For the lilies in pots, and nowhere else, I do use a bug killer. Had I known what I know now I may never have started with lilies, but a hundred or so later it is rather too late for that.  Having said that, I have not used bug killer this year yet, not because we don't have lily beetle, we do, but we also have hundreds of ladybirds and I certainly do not want to kill those, or their strange looking young. 


I prefer to grow lilies in pots of which I had two white and two orange up until last year when I decided to test the garden with a pot of each variety, but I am quite disappointed with the attack on their foliage from slugs and snails (my bad for not using grit) that has left them very tatty and whilst I have only seen 2 lily beetle this year despite rigorous checks, the awkward position of the lilies in the ground doesn't assist me in daily inspections.

Mine are going straight back in comfy pots at the end of summer with a good feed and a cheery place on my patio...and maybe another variety to join them. The garden is just too cruel for a lily's beauty!

Sorry pellets dont work what can we spray I once heard of soapy water



This year my lupin leaves and top of buds were shredded by those little shiny green leaf eater bugs, i did resort to spraying, they fall down instantly. Now the little buggers have bred, the ones that escaped, that is, and the tiny catterpiller like worms are off shredding again.

This has to be my worst pest this year.

For me, lupins have 2 main enemies.....slugs/snails and lupin aphid.

Controlling these pests is hard, for snails etc., and easy for aphid.  My lupins are now looking quite majestic, I think, after a few weeks of picking off slugs and snails.  The lupin aphid, not a problem for me this year, is best comtrolled by a spray before flowering. 

I could not garden without lupins but I do remove most of them after flowerimg to divide or pot up.  

Agree with Wintersong....woodlice won't be eating living plant tissue 

I have seen the woodlice eating the lupin buds. I checked under a hand-lens that they were't eating debris. I swept under all pots and such to remove the woodlice, and the problem has been resolved.

I have heard garden experts argue about woodlice.....they dont eat plants.  They do eat plants.  

My feeling now is that they do.  Ant killer works against them but try leaving a flat stone next to your lupins.  Check under it every day or two.  Woodlice will gather there so dispose of them


Are you absolutely sure they were woodlice? I have never seen a woodlouse climb a plant, they are always skulking around in the moist stuff at the bottom of pots.

I have several lupins growing but one plant just never develops into flower. The buds form well then just fall off. I have sprayed them for the dreaded white fly although there is no sign of it. In fact, the plant looks quite healthy and is about 4ft. tall with good looking buds.

Thanks for any help.


Helen Constant


i watched a woodlice eating my yellow daisy flower last night by torchlight, there is plenty of dead stuff to eat but it was definitely munching the petals.

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