Friday, April 2, 2010

The slug sacrifice and the Cordyline slayer

Two completely unrelated garden stories…

First...the the slug sacrifice is in the backyard, the area I refer to as the jungle as it’s largely left to it’s own devices. I planted this Petasites japonicus years ago, before we brought in the bamboo stock-tanks that now almost completely obscure it. It is a beautiful plant that has become my official sacrifice to the slugs.In another month these leaves will be nearly all eaten, or at least more disfigured than they currently are. As new leaves emerge they too become a slug snack. But I figure if it keeps the slimy creatures away from the other plants then I can sacrifice this one.
And though the tag said nothing about it being a spreader it certainly is, even though it’s pretty much ignored it only slows down in the dry hot summer months. If it was in an area that got regular water it would definitely be an invasive pest.
Second...the wind was blowing pretty strong the other day and when my husband returned from walking the dog he asked if I knew one of the Cordylines had fallen over. They’ve been on a death watch so I wasn’t surprised. Here he is posing as the Cordyline slayer after chopping it off. It looks like a healthy plant right? But looks can be deceiving.
Two remain, and it’s only a matter of time for them…after all the centers (where the new leaves emerge) look like this…
And this…
Not to promising eh? The front yard is pretty barren these days. Ready for a make-over, just as soon as another sunny day comes around.


  1. Hi Loree~~ I knew Petasites had invasive tendencies but I didn't know there was a variegated variety. Yum. Slugs aren't the only ones that love it. It sucks about your Cordyline. I look forward to seeing your replacements. I really love that gravel.

  2. I think the slugs come with the petasites(I have the hybridus) but somehow I've gotten used to the tatters. So sorry about your cordylines - they are such nice plants.

  3. My Petasites is slug food tag said lots of eating (edible in Japan) or careful placement..

  4. I know someone who swears by copper strips to protect emerging leaves of hosta, ligularia, and other slug-tempting plants. Have you tried that? I know it is spendy but maybe can be reused for years if it works? I guess if the plant replicates itself, it's no biggie, but with one that you really wanted to keep, might be worth trying?? Sorry about your cordylines, they were victims of the cold huh? :( Fun about the makeover, though! Can't wait to see what you plant.

  5. jury is still out here re things that look like goners. love your can-do attitude, and i, too, look forward to your makeover.

    last couple of times i tried, there was no way to leave a comment, so that's why you haven't had any from me for a couple of posts.

  6. I wonder if the slugs help keep the Petasites from spreading as far as it otherwise would. Do you think it works to protect the other plants? I'm thinking I need to get on the slug protection this year, they're really out in full force this year. I dug out some lambs ears a couple weeks ago, I was surprised to find that plant was such a slug haven. I found a HUGE one hiding out in there.
    Too bad about the front yard losses. If it weren't for those few cold days, we had such a mild winter. On the bright side, it could make for some fun plant shopping to fill up the newly vacant space.

  7. The petasites looks like a tasty snack for slugs (and snails: suddenly I seem to have oodles of them!) Sad about your cordylines, but look forward to seeing your made-over front yard - oh right, you said when you have a sunny day...wonder when that might finally be for us!

  8. Grace, you know I am so happy with our decision to go with this gravel. Years later and I'm still loving it!

    Cyndy, I like your theory! And yes! Cordylines are such nice plants. These were replacements for the ones that the winter of '08 killed...those were over 6ft tall and very beautiful!

    linda, ah well. Careful placement be damned, I do still enjoy them.

    Karen, I've heard that too about the copper strips but where these are it isn't really worth it to be. But joking aside I am really lucky in the rest of the garden and they haven't been to evil. Yes, we wrapped the Cordy's but for the second year in a row...they keeled over. We should (hopefully) have some regrowth from the roots but it's the height I'm after.

    ricki, right now tomorrow is looking promising for getting out there and making it (makeover) happen...I hope so!

    Megan, it sounds silly but I really do think it helps. Plus they have to travel across the dry hot patio to get to Hosta land, I'm sure that is a detractor. I just got rid of a clump of grassy business that was a slug hostel. There were so many fat and happy guys hiding in there, ha! Now they have nowhere to hide!!!

    Jane, I've been lucky with the snails and only seen a few (knock on wood). Sunny day...tomorrow!? I'm counting on it!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!