Updated: January 9, 2023

Foliage plants are a great way to bring some greenery into your home, but they can also attract unwanted pests like slaters. Slaters, also known as pillbugs or roly-polies, are small crustaceans that feed on decaying organic matter and can be found in damp environments. While they don’t harm the plant itself, they can still be a nuisance and distract from the plant’s beauty. Here are some tips on how to get rid of slaters on foliage plants.

Identify the Problem

The first step in getting rid of slaters is to identify if they are really the problem. Slaters are usually found hiding in the soil or under the leaves of foliage plants. They are gray in color and have a hard, segmented shell. If you see these bugs crawling around your plant or soil, you likely have a slater infestation.

Remove Excess Moisture

Since slaters thrive in damp environments, it’s important to remove any excess moisture around your plant. Make sure the soil is well-draining and not constantly moist. Avoid overwatering your plant and make sure there is adequate air circulation around it. You can also gently wipe down the leaves of your plant with a dry cloth to remove any excess moisture.

Clean Up Around the Plant

Slaters are attracted to decaying organic matter, so make sure there isn’t any debris around your plant that could be attracting them. Remove any dead leaves or other plant debris from around the pot or planter. You can also add a layer of fresh soil or mulch on top of the existing soil to discourage slaters from burrowing into it.

Use Natural Remedies

There are several natural remedies you can use to get rid of slaters on foliage plants. One option is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant. This is a natural powder made from fossilized algae that will dehydrate and kill the slaters. You can also try placing cucumber or citrus peels around the plant, as slaters are repelled by these scents.

Use Chemicals

If natural remedies aren’t working, you may need to resort to using chemicals to get rid of slaters. Look for an insecticide specifically designed for crustaceans like slaters. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and apply the insecticide only to the affected areas of the plant. Keep in mind that using chemicals can harm beneficial insects and should be used as a last resort.


Can slaters harm my plant?

While slaters don’t harm the plant itself, they can still be a nuisance and distract from its beauty. Additionally, if there is a large infestation, they may start to feed on the roots of the plant.

Can I use vinegar to get rid of slaters?

While vinegar can be effective at killing slaters, it can also harm your foliage plant. It’s best to use natural remedies like diatomaceous earth or citrus peels instead.

How do I prevent slaters from coming back?

To prevent slaters from coming back, make sure to remove any decaying organic matter around your plant and avoid overwatering it. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant as a preventative measure.