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Coffee Tips

Do Coffee Grounds Repel Slugs?

A lot of farmers struggle with snails and slugs in their gardens. Seedlings and succulent plants are the most affected. You’ll rarely see snails during the day, not unless it’s raining. However, the damage caused by these creatures at night will be evident. You can look for the mucous trail that they leave behind.

coffee grounds repel slugs

These slimy creatures eat plants such as vegetables and make holes in stems, leaves, tubers, flowers, and bulbs of some plants. Additionally, snails make beddings in plants that are on low soil. Not to mention, snails may also carry harmful diseases and parasites that can pose harm to plants in your garden and your body if you eat the vegetables and fruits from the plants.

These creatures can be a perennial problem for many farmers if control measures aren’t applied. A lot of home remedies have been developed to deter snails and slugs from the gardens. Among them is the use of coffee grounds. Some gardeners have reported success using the method, while others claim the method is a myth. So the main question remains, do coffee grounds repel slugs? Let’s find out!


Do Coffee Grounds Repel Slugs?

The simple answer is no. Coffee grounds in your garden or home will not repel slugs. These creatures are not bothered by the grounds. They’ll happily crawl over them and destroy the plants in the garden. Quite the contrary, a coffee solution (double espresso) will repel away slugs and snails from your garden. According to studies, a caffeine solution proves much more effective. An experiment conducted by some scientists who used caffeine solution spray on snails killed almost all of them.

Snails hate caffeine and they’ll immediately turn back after contacting caffeinated soil. While coffee grounds contain caffeine, the amount is not enough to repel slugs. Furthermore, it’s the caffeine that kills the slugs and not the coffee grounds’ physical texture. An instant coffee cup contains approximately 0.05% caffeine concentration that’s enough to repel snails and slugs. During the experiment, researchers noticed that caffeine concentrations that are as low as 0.01% repelled the slugs and snails, while solutions containing 1 to 2% caffeine solutions killed them within two days.

Instead of using coffee grounds to repel slugs (which may not work), you can use them as fertilizer, compost, or to keep away cats as well as other garden pests. On the other hand, you can use cooled-down freshly brewed coffee that’s highly concentrated with caffeine to repel slugs. Furthermore, coffee will easily soak in the soil. All you have to do is spray it around your plants or pour the beverage directly on the soil. However, keep in mind that the toxic effects of caffeine may have an effect on some beneficial insects. Additionally, not all plants react well with coffee. While acid-loving plants like blueberries, carrots, roses, cabbage, lilies, and radishes will benefit from coffee, plants like tomatoes, alfalfa, and clovers won’t. Therefore, don’t use coffee on these plants. Also, don’t use coffee on soil that’s already acidic. Here are some other natural alternative slug repellents that will work.


Alternative Slug Repellents

Crushed Eggshells

When scattered around your plants, crushed eggshells will help repel snails and slugs. However, you’ll need them dry. When dry, crushed eggshells will cut the slugs through the sharp edges thus avoiding further contact between the slugs and plants. When wet, the edges are no longer sharp.

Bait and Traps

Another method of repelling slugs is using bait and traps such as beer cans, store-bought snail traps, and homemade traps such as grapefruit halves. Usually, snails are attracted by yeast in the beer can or bottle so they’ll crawl in. To use this method, fill a wide-mouthed beer bottle or can halfway with beer and bury it slightly in the dirt for easy access by snails. They’ll easily crawl in and drown.

Copper Barriers

Copper is an ideal snail barrier since it creates electric shocks thus making it hard for snails to pass through. You can place a copper strip around your garden or home or sprinkle copper fragments.

Snail Resistant Plants

Some plants such as lavender, poppy, rosemary, sage, and euphorbia are less attractive to snails and can therefore be used to repel them. This is a more natural method since it’s non-toxic, eco-friendly, and safe for kids and pets.

Introduce Predators

Introducing predators such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, beetles, and geese can help repel slugs since they are natural predators of slugs. This method is eco-friendly, effective, and safe for kids and pets.



While coffee grounds won’t repel slugs, highly caffeine-concentrated brewed coffee will. You can use coffee grounds for other uses in the garden such as fertilizer and compost. If you’re looking to use the coffee method to repel slugs, keep in mind that not all plants are coffee lovers. You can spray coffee on acid-loving plants such as carrots, blueberries, roses, cabbage, azaleas, hollies, and rhododendrons but not on plants like tomatoes, alfalfa, and clovers. Equally important, you can use alternative slug repellents to keep away snails and slugs from your garden.


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