Are they really bad?
Toads are a part of the garden. We know that. But will they damage your plants?
Toads will hurt potted plants when they dig into the soil. They prefer moist soil to lay their eggs and find food such as snails, slugs, worms, and other insects. Raising your potted plants can prevent a toad from easy access to them.
According to Island Scene, toads love gardens because they have everything they need to survive and thrive. If you have loads of potted plants low to the ground, they’re fair game for local toads to sleep, eat, and reproduce. A buried toad can uproot your plants, prevent seedlings from growing, and disrupt a new layer of fertilizer.
In this post, I’ll help you understand why toads can be bad (or good) for your potted plants. If you really want to keep them away, I’ll give you 7 simple tips you can implement.
So keep reading.
Are Toads Good for Potted Plants?
Toads are good for potted plants if you have many insects and other pests eating the leaves or flowers. They’re natural predators to these pests, so inviting toads can be a beneficial decision.
That being said, ensure you have a deep, wide pot for the plant. Shallow or narrow potted plants don’t have enough strength to withstand a toad constantly burying into the soil.
Another reason toads can harm small potted plants is they can be knocked over. Toads are known for being clumsy and not paying attention to the plants they live near. They’re in it for the soil, food, and moisture, but a pot can be a comfortable home since it has everything they need.
If you notice a toad in your potted plant, keep a close eye on it. Monitor how it interacts with the soil and handles the local bug population.
Is a Toad in the Garden Good or Bad?
A toad in the garden can be good and bad. Many people let a toad or two live in their garden because they handle local pests that eat the plants. Toads are carnivores, so they won’t eat your flowers, leaves, stems, or roots. The downside is that they pay no mind to the plants and can create chaos by the burrowing issue.
If your plants are close together and the soil is moist, you’ll more than likely notice toads playing in the mud. They love to find hidden insects, so you might find them quite beneficial. Keep an eye on your plants to see if they’re partially uprooted or pushed to the side. Managing a toad’s behavior could mean continuously repairing your plants when they get removed.
Do Toads Eat Plant Roots?
Birds and Blooms point out that toads won’t eat your plant roots, stems, leaves, or any other part of them. Toads are carnivorous and only stay near your plants because they provide shelter for their real food: Snails, worms, etc.
That doesn’t mean toads can’t destroy your plant roots. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Toads often bury themselves to stay hidden and jump on their prey. When they dig below the surface, they can disrupt your plant roots, cracking or bending them beyond repair.
Other insects that eat your plant roots won’t be around as much once you have a toad in the garden. For this reason, adding a toad could actually save the roots. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of toads!
Can Toads Live in Potting Soil?
Toads can live in potting soil because it’s insulated, retains moisture, and provides enough cover to let them hunt their prey. Whether you have a pet toad in a tank or you’re trying to encourage local toads to make a home out of your garden, adding soil can be an effective way to invite them over.
What Plants Do Toads Like?
Toads like native grasses more than any other plant because it’s what they’re used to. Low-sitting aquatic plants provide enough shelter, but it’s important to ensure they’re not the types that repel the toads. Also, check if the plants are poisonous to frogs and toads before adding them to your garden.
The best way to know what plants your neighborhood’s toads will like is to find them in the wild. What plants are sitting around their natural habitat? Drive to the hills or grasslands by your home and find the toads and identify the local flora.
What Plants Repel Toads?
Balcony Garden Web claims toads are repelled by honeysuckle, oleander, daffodils, and a handful of other plants. However, they’re usually repelled because these plants are toxic to them. This problem could mean they’ll die rather than stay away from the garden. Most toads don’t stay away from plants unless they’re surrounded by rocks or sand.
Speaking of which, you could add a dry sand moat around your garden to prevent toads and frogs from entering the area. Sand is quite abrasive and uncomfortable to many amphibians, so it’s a great, aesthetically pleasing addition to the yard.
As long as there’s moisture, dirt, and food, toads will do whatever they can to find a home nearby. Keep in mind that toads are often a sign that your garden is healthy. They won’t come near the garden if it has chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides.
How Do I Get Rid of Toads From Potted Plants?
1. Place the potted plants at a height
The simplest thing you can try is to keep the potted plants at a height. The toads are unable to climb into the plant.
You can either make use of a hanging basket or keep the potted plant on a table or elevated stand.
2. Add a layer of inorganic mulch
Toads can’t reach the potting soil if you add inorganic mulch such as pebbles on top of the soil. They are unable to dig into the potting soil and will stay away.
3. Provide sacrificial potted plants
If you want to live and let live, you can keep a few potted plants closer to the water source for the toads.
They will make these potted plants their home and not come to the other potted plants you want undisturbed.
Make sure these pots have sufficient potting soil that the toads can dig into. The plants should have good foliage that the toads use as cover from predators.
You could even place some plant materials like dried leaves and branches near the potted plants to attract the toads.
Placing a light source near the potted plants will attract insects, and the toads will be happy to stay there and feast on them.
4. Remove toad eggs from water sources
If the toads are coming to your potted plants from water sources nearby, you can get rid of their eggs and reduce their population.
You can use an aquarium net to collect the eggs and place them under sunlight or bury them.
5. Keep the potted plants away from a water source
The toads that will reach your potted plants will come from a water source nearby. You want to keep your potted plants as far from this source as possible.
As I already mentioned, you can grow some sacrificial plants close to the water source, so they leave your potted plants alone.
6. Keep your garden free from clutter
Toads prefer living in moist areas of the garden that is protected from predators. If your garden has plant matter and debris lying around, that is their preferred place.
Make sure to remove such plant debris from your garden and keep it clean. Remove any weeds growing in your garden.
Make sure to turn off light sources near your potted plants that can attract insects that toads feast on.
7. Trap and release the toads
You can always trap and release toads to a faraway location but make sure this is allowed in your region. Toads can be protected by wildlife conservation laws that you don’t want to break.
Here are some of my favorite container gardening tools
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it helps you with your gardening needs. I’ve listed some tools below that can help you with container gardening. These are affiliate links so I’ll earn a commission if you use them.
Gardening Gloves – I find the Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gardening Gloves really good for both men and women. It’s made from bamboo so helps absorb perspiration. They are also comfortable and fit very well.
Containers – You know picking the right container is crucial for your container gardening. I’ve written a detailed post on the best containers you can choose from. If you’re happy with a plastic container, you can check out the Bloem Saturn Planter.
Watering Can – This is a must-have tool when you’re growing plants in pots or grow bags. It helps to water the potting soil without splashing on the foliage. The Kensington Watering Can is stylish, strong, and can provide precision when watering potted plants.
Trowel – Garden Guru Trowel is my favorite because it’s durable and comfortable to use. My gardening friends really love having a trowel because they use it for digging soil, mixing fertilizer, moving seeds, leveling out the soil, mixing compost or mulch, and also dividing tubers
Bypass Pruner – I really like the Corona Bypass Pruner because it’s durable and gives a clean cut that helps plants recover faster. If you’re looking for something cheap, get the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that is really good as well.
To see an extensive list of the best container gardening tools gardeners recommend, check out this resource that I made for you.
Kevin is the founder of Gardening Mentor, a website that aims to teach people to grow their own food in a limited space. As a self-taught gardener, Kevin has spent several years growing plants and creating gardening content on the website. He is certified in Home Horticulture and Organic Gardening by expert gardeners from Oregon State University.