Passion flowers are some of the most exquisite blossoms with gorgeous trailing vines and long-blooming, large flowers. These vines are relatively pest-resistant, although some pests, such as snails and slugs, might make a meal out of your passion flowers if you don’t take measures to prevent them from invading your garden bed.
Slugs eat passion flowers. Snails and slugs are the biggest threats to passion flowers and their foliage. These pests consume passion flower leaves, blooms, and fruits and may eventually destroy the entire plant if you do not eradicate them.
If you want to protect your passion flowers from slugs and snails, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll teach you how to detect, repel, and eradicate slugs from your passion flowers, and I’ll also give you some tips to help you keep some other common passion flower pests away.
How To Detect Slugs and Snails on Passion Flowers
Snails and slugs can both be very tricky to spot. They usually feed on passion flowers as they begin to bloom in May, and they will continue to graze as long as the climate stays temperate and humid enough to remain above the ground.
Slugs and snails are more likely to consume young passion vines since they prefer to eat plants near the ground. In addition, if your passion flower vine is large and hearty, it will likely grow faster than the slugs can consume it, and you may not even notice if slugs live on a large and dense passion plant.
Damage from slugs looks like rough-edged holes in your plant’s leaves. If you want more help determining if the damage on your passion flower’s leaves and blossoms is from slugs, you might want to read my article on the types of damage slugs do to plants: What Damage Do Slugs Do to Plants?
Look for Snails and Slugs in Dark and Shady Spots
As part of the gastropod family, snails and slugs are nocturnal creatures. So, you will not often see them on your passion vine during the daytime.
Snails and slugs are also sensitive to sunlight. If you have ever felt one, you know that they are incredibly slimy. That’s because they excrete mucus through their skin, which helps them stay stuck to vertical surfaces such as vines and leaves.
However, this mucus makes snails and slugs particularly prone to overheating and dehydration. For that reason, you will rarely see these invertebrates on the top side of leaves or the topsoil. Instead, they usually hide in shady spots deep in foliage, debris, and rocks.
Investigate Your Passion Flower Plant for Snail Trails
One of the best ways to detect these elusive critters is to watch out for snail trails. These are the trails of mucus that snails and slugs leave behind as they glide around plants and dine, and you may be able to see them for several days after the slug has passed.
So, be sure to examine the leaves and stems of your passion flower vines closely if you suspect that there’s a pest eating your blooms. Check underneath the plant’s base, underneath as many leaves as possible, and on the top side of leaves for thin, shiny mucus trails and stray slugs.
How To Keep Slugs and Snails From Consuming Passion Flowers
Slugs and snails can be tricky to eliminate, especially if you plan to consume parts of your passion vine, such as the blooms or fruits. However, it is not impossible, and if you use one or more of the methods below—you’ll be gastropod-free in no time!
Manually Remove the Slugs and Snails
The best way to get rid of slugs and snails is to pick them off your plant by hand. Although harvesting slugs off your passion flower vine isn’t usually anyone’s favorite task, it will ensure they don’t return—and it’s simple and cost-effective.
Collecting the pests in a bucket full of weeds is best when picking the slugs and snails off your plant.
After you have collected the gastropods from the undersides of the leaves, the soil underneath the plant, and the stems, take them to a forested area and set them free or drown them.
I usually recommend setting the slugs and snails free since I can’t bring myself to kill them. Taking them to a forested area is an excellent way to eliminate them humanely since they will likely be happier living in the dense, cool, damp underbrush of a forest than in your garden.
However, killing the snails and slugs is simple. All you need to do is fill your collection container with water and wait a few minutes for the pests to drown. Then, dispose of them in your compost.
Use Snail Baits and Traps
If you want a hands-off way to eliminate the slugs and snails from your garden, you can set traps for them.
Slugs and snails drown easily, which you can use to your advantage. Most people place cups or containers of beer underneath their plants to attract and kill their pests. The fragrant scent of the beer will attract the slugs and snails, and they will climb into the container, promptly drowning.
To use this method, you will need a plastic cup or container—I use old yogurt containers from my recycling pile—and any old cheap beer. After you have your beer and container:
- Pour the beer into the cup, ensuring that the beer level is at least one inch from the bottom of the container.
- After that, dig a shallow hole underneath your passion plant and place the cup into the hole. The cup’s rim should be around 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) above the soil’s surface.
- Then, wait for the slugs to climb into the cup.
- Check on your trap every couple of days, emptying and refilling it if insects, slugs, or snails are in it.
- Empty and refill your trap until your slugs and snails are all gone.
Spray Your Passion Flower Vine With Coffee and Coffee Grounds
Coffee is one of the most underused yet effective methods for killing and repelling snails. Coffee has two main benefits when warding off gastropods from your garden:
- Coffee grounds are rough on snails’ and slug’s skin. Many gardeners recommend placing abrasive materials at the base of an infested plant since slugs and snails avoid crawling on abrasive materials such as coffee grounds. In most cases, abrasives won’t do much to repel slugs and snails, but they can be a valuable part of a pest control regimen.
- Caffeine kills slugs and snails. The caffeine in brewed and ground coffee is an effective and organic pesticide. According to Robert Hollingsworth of the USDA, coffee containing 1 to 2% caffeine repels slugs and eliminates them within two days of applying the coffee to a plant’s leaves and soil. Hollingsworth’s research on coffee for slug eradication also proved that coffee works better than metaldehyde.
So, look no further than your morning brew if you are in the market for an effective and inexpensive pesticide for slugs and snails. You can use coffee in these two ways:
- To slug-proof your passion vine, pour your coffee grounds at the base of the plant at least once a week.
- To kill the slugs on your plant, pour some lukewarm brewed coffee into a spray bottle, and mist your passion flower’s leaves once or twice a week.
If you keep up with your coffee application, you’ll be slug-free in no time.
Encourage Birds To Live in Your Garden
Birds can give professional exterminators a run for their money. Birds eat slugs and snails and consume many of the other most common passion flower pests, such as caterpillars, gnats, and flies.
Making your garden a welcoming environment for birds is simple. Just put out some feeders, birdhouses, and a birdbath, and you’ll have a flock of pest-controlling feathered friends in no time.
If you want the birds to spend more time picking slugs off your passion vine, place their feeders or bird bath next to the passion plant.
Slugs and snails are common pests of passion flowers, although they generally only eat passion plants when they are young and when the weather is humid and temperate. To detect and eradicate snails:
- Search for snail trails and stray slugs in your passion vine’s dark, shady areas, particularly underneath the leaves.
- Remove slugs and snails, set traps, or use coffee to deter and kill the slugs.
- Encourage birds to eat snails and slugs by making your garden more bird-friendly.