deflask a lot of tissue-cultured orchid plants into small tubes
and grow them on. They are placed on a shelf in our shade houses.
Like everyone else, we get slugs and snails, which love the small
plants. Any slug bait placed on top of the plant tubes goes mouldy
when it gets wet and looks terrible. We have made traps from soft
drink bottles with the neck cut off and turned back inside the bottle.
Bait is placed inside the bottle. It works, but some snails still
get through to damage the plants. Is there a product which will
not go mouldy?
are several different types of slug and snail baits available these
days as well as home-made baits using materials like beer.
In my experience, the
best one for controlling slugs among valuable small nursery plants,
such as your young orchids, is Slug Out, which comes as relatively
small granules so is very easy to scatter evenly among plants and
it doesn't create the mould problem you describe. Unfortunately,
it seems to be only available in 5kg containers from horticultural
suppliers such as Veg-Gro Supplies and Wrightsons.
But you could also try
Baysol, which is available in garden centres, as it is also more
rain and mould resistant than some other types and is also in relatively
Although bait stations
can attract some slugs and snails, to give your tender young orchids
the best protection I recommend sprinkling the bait as evenly as
possible among the plants. Also sprinkle it on the floor beneath
the benches as that is where they must be coming from initially.
But take care. Although most slug baits contain animal deterrents,
some dogs and cats may still be attracted to them.
Perhaps also worth trying
is the technique of sprinkling a thin layer of coarse sand over
the top of the potting mix as this has proved in some circumstances
to be a great deterrent. Slugs and snails simply don't like crawling
on the rough surface.
Gardener, Issue 175, 2005, Page 30
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.