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How to Keep Squirrels out of Potted Plants

Last Updated: 05.12.23


There are many plants that repel squirrels and plenty of people choose to use them as they consider them a natural way to get rid of these annoying creatures. Just like us, humans, squirrels have their own preferences when it comes to plants. While they love to munch on certain plants, there are others whose taste and smell they find quite repelling

Squirrels love to dig holes looking for food and they chew on almost anything they find hoping to discover something delicious. What is worse about these clever little creatures is that they will dig out the bulbs as they are not happy with only eating fruits from your fruit trees. That is why many gardeners fear them and they will do anything to keep them away from their garden.

Furthermore, squirrels will not step back when it comes to your potted plants and they prove to be very destructive. They can knock off pots and they expose the roots of the plants to hot sun all day and most of the times the plants cannot be salvaged. Also, they are very good at digging up sprouts. Let’s learn how to keep squirrels away from our potted plants.


The reason squirrels dig in potted plants

Squirrels are persistent little creatures that will dig a tunnel through your potted plant if this is what they want to do. You might think that it is impossible to keep these pests away, but luckily for you there are certain methods that can help you with that. But first, we should learn more about their behavior in order to understand why they choose to dig in flower pots.

The main reason squirrels dig is to bury food such as nuts or acorns that they found in various places. They choose flower pots because it is easy for them to dig the soft soil so they can hide their precious findings. If you have dealt with squirrels before, you might have found many of their tasty treasures buried deep in your flower pots.

Moreover, there are times when you are not that lucky and besides finding their treats hidden in your containers you might also discover that they’ve dug up all your bulbs and your sprouts. This is the nightmare of every plant lover as we all know how much hard work is involved in taking care of plants and also some plants can be quite expensive.

That is why you need to be careful if you’re used to taking your plants on the deck in the summer as they can be attacked by unwelcome guests. If you know that there are squirrels around your area, you need to make sure that you protect your plants from them as they will do anything to get to chew on those tender potted plants that you love so much.

DIY squirrel repellents

There are many ways to protect your plants against these destructive little creatures, and it is only up to you to choose the one that you consider most suitable for your needs. While some methods have proved to work and many people have declared themselves satisfied with the results, there are others that haven’t received too many positive reviews.

We recommend trusting your choices as you know your situation best, and that is why you will know exactly what you need. Squirrels eat almost anything and they are constantly on the search for food, but even if they aren’t sensitive, they too have certain things they dislike. They hate certain smells and tastes, and you can take advantage of that.

What you can do to put these rodents on the run and away from your plant containers is to add something that tastes bad for them in the potting soil. You can use natural repellents such as cayenne pepper, vinegar, peppermint oil, or garlic as they are not favorites among squirrels. Another ingredient that you can add in the soil that squirrels hate is crushed red pepper.

Also, you can make your own squirrel repellent mixing 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, one chopped jalapeno pepper, and one chopped onion. You just need to boil all of these ingredients for 15 to 20 minutes and then put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the soil from your potted plants with it.


Ways to protect your flower containers

There are other ways to keep squirrels out of your flower containers and an easy one you can start with is to add dry blood to the potting mix. Be careful as blood meal is considered a high-nitrogen fertilizer and if you apply too much of it, it can affect your plants. You need to use enough of it to disturb squirrels and to drive them as far as possible from your container plants.

You can also use rocks on the surface of the potting soil – one layer should be enough to make squirrels change their mind and to stop digging and destroying your plants. You have to be very cautious as in the summer when it gets hot outside, the rocks can get really hot and they can cause significant damage to your plants.

A safer option would be to add a layer of mulch as it will manage to keep squirrels away from your flower pots without affecting your flowers in any way. If you have tried these options and you want to try something new, you should consider placing decorative and shiny elements around your plant containers in order to frighten squirrels and make them leave your premises.

Another way to protect your plants is to cover them with a cage made from chicken wire, bird netting, or hardware cloth. This method will help you keep those destructive intruders far away from your plants. Squirrels hide their food in your plant containers, but they will not forget about them and they will return for them and that is when they cause the most damage.

Smells squirrels hate

When it comes to squirrels it is recommended that you take advantage of the fact that they are sensitive to certain smells. Even if they are cute little creatures, they can destroy your plants, and that is why you want to keep them out of your house.

Sometimes it can be hard to deal with squirrels, but lucky for you, you can use certain smells to drive them away. Cider vinegar has a strong smell and squirrels hate it and they will stay as far as possible from it.

This means that you can use this in your favor and put an end to your squirrel problem with this ingredient. What you can do is to soak some fabric in cider vinegar and then place it in various key areas.

Squirrels also avoid places that smell like animal urine and this means that you can use products that mimic this smell to put them on the run. They can be easily found in multiple stores in spray forms which make it easy for you to spray in essential parts of your property.




1) Garden Plants That Repel Squirrels

2) How to Stop Squirrels from Eating Flower Bulbs

3) Bulbs Avoided by Squirrels

4) Why Do Squirrels Bury Nuts?



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