What Plants Repel Squirrels?

Nobody wants a pesky intruder wreaking havoc when tending to a garden or nurturing a landscape. 

Unfortunately, many people struggle with the problem of squirrels. These small mammals, while adorable, can cause significant damage to a garden, munching on bulbs, digging up plants, and creating a nuisance. 

With many garden enthusiasts searching for solutions, turning to nature might be the answer. Certain plants have been found to repel these furry critters, offering a more organic and harmonious solution to the squirrel problem.

Having spent numerous years in gardening and pest management, I’ve had my fair share of battles with garden intruders. Over time, I’ve combined traditional gardening wisdom with modern research to find effective solutions. In this article, I’m excited to share a few plants that beautify your space and keep those squirrels at bay.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll explore various plants, including daffodils, alliums, and crown imperials. These green wonders have distinct characteristics that naturally deter squirrels, ensuring a peaceful coexistence.

Key Takeaways

Daffodils, alliums, crown imperials, and mint aren’t just pretty; they’re like kryptonite for squirrels. A win-win for your garden.
Don’t just arbitrarily locate plants. Strategically place them, create a dense “line” of these plants.
Be sure to keep your plants healthy with regular care.
Keep an eye on those squirrels, tweak your strategy if needed, and let your garden thrive naturally. It’s all about working with nature, not against it.
Contact a professional if your DIY methods aren’t working as well as you’d like.

Understanding the Issue of Squirrel Infestation

Squirrels, being natural diggers, can uproot bulbs, eat sprouts, and sometimes even gnaw on tree barks, causing significant distress to garden owners. The squirrel’s adaptability and agility make them formidable adversaries. 

Often, gardeners find that these creatures are not just attracted to food sources but also curious and like to explore. A squirrel’s intelligence and determination mean that simple barriers or threats are not enough to deter them. 

Close Up of Grey Squirrel in the Grass

Too Comfortable Around People

In urban settings, squirrels have become increasingly familiar with human environments, reducing their innate fear and increasing the challenges for homeowners. This evolving dynamic has made traditional methods less effective. 

As squirrels become more comfortable around humans, their confidence grows, prompting them to venture closer to homes and gardens. Because of that, physical barriers or scaring tactics may not work as well as they did in the past. 

Creatures of Habit

One must remember that squirrels are creatures of habit; they’re likely to return once they find a reliable food source. This makes plant-based repellents an essential component in the arsenal against these agile creatures.

Chemical repellents might work, but they aren’t always effective and can disrupt the garden’s ecosystem. Also, many gardeners prefer avoiding chemicals to maintain an organic environment. 

By incorporating specific plants known to repel squirrels, we can increase the chances our gardens remain undamaged while using a natural, eco-friendly solution.

The Consequences of Squirrel Damage

A garden represents more than just a piece of land; it is a labor of love, patience, and care. The consequences can be deeply disheartening when squirrels decide to make a meal or playground out of it. 

Destroyer of Plants

These little creatures can ravage a garden in no time. Their penchant for digging means freshly planted bulbs don’t stand a chance. 

Over time, this not only disrupts the overall aesthetic of a garden but also translates to substantial financial losses as gardeners need to reinvest in plants, bulbs, and sometimes even landscaping.

Squirrels forage and hide their food reserves, creating small holes throughout lawns and flowerbeds. For meticulous gardeners, this activity can disrupt the garden’s design and flow, leading to uneven terrains and disturbed plant roots.

More than the direct damage, squirrel activities can weaken the plants, making them more susceptible to diseases and other pests. Their habit of gnawing can damage young tree trunks, hindering growth or even causing the plant’s demise. 

Squirrels Bring Other Pests and Disease

It’s also worth noting that squirrels can act as carriers for ticks and fleas, posing health concerns to animals and humans alike. Beyond the direct damage they cause, their presence might increase the risk of vector-borne diseases entering the garden space, adding another layer of complexity to the pest management process.

This problem is not just about the visible, immediate destruction; the long-term health of the garden is at stake, emphasizing the urgency for preventive measures.

Plants that Repel Squirrels

Nature has provided us with solutions to the problem. There are specific plants that squirrels find unappealing due to their scent, taste, or texture. Integrating these into your garden can serve as a natural deterrent.

Daffodils: A spring favorite, these beautiful flowers are toxic to squirrels. Their bulbs contain a compound called lycorine that squirrels find unappetizing.

Alliums: This family of plants, which includes onions, garlic, and chives, emit a strong scent that squirrels dislike. Plus, their tall, globe-like flowers add a touch of drama to gardens.

Crown Imperials: Not only are these flowers striking in appearance, but their skunky smell is a potent squirrel deterrent. However, the aroma is only detectable up close, ensuring they won’t impact the overall fragrance of your garden.

Mint: This fragrant herb can double as a squirrel repellent. Its strong aroma, loved by many gardeners, is not a favorite among squirrels.

Hyacinths: These vibrant and fragrant flowers deter squirrels due to their alkaloid content. Planting them in groups can create a barrier that squirrels will think twice about crossing.

Galanthus: Also known as snowdrops, these early bloomers have a toxin that squirrels find off-putting. Their delicate white flowers also add a touch of elegance to gardens in the colder months.

Capsaicin-rich plants: Think of chili peppers. While they might not be the primary choice for many gardens, they contain capsaicin, a compound that squirrels despise. Scattering a few chili flakes can help deter them, but growing the plant offers a more prolonged solution.

Another consideration is the color and texture of plants. Squirrels, being visually-oriented creatures, are sometimes deterred by bright or unusual colors. Incorporating visually striking plants that are also aromatic can be a double-edged sword in repelling these pesky intruders.

Solutions and Implementation

Successfully keeping squirrels at bay involves more than just planting a few deterrent plants and hoping for the best. A strategic approach can maximize the repellent properties of these plants.

Companion Planting: Integrating squirrel-repellent plants among your prized plants can shield them. For instance, surrounding a patch of tulip bulbs (a squirrel favorite) with alliums can discourage digging.

Placement: Squirrels dislike trekking through dense vegetation. Consider creating thick plant borders with squirrel-repellent plants around areas you want to protect.

Care and Maintenance: Like all plants, the ones that repel squirrels also need proper care. Regular watering, fertilization, and pruning will ensure they grow healthy and strong, releasing the potent scents or tastes that deter squirrels.

Monitoring and Adaptation: As you observe your garden’s dynamics over time, you might notice certain patterns in squirrel behavior. They may avoid specific areas more than others, or some deterrents seem ineffective. 

This continuous observation allows for timely adjustments. For example, if a certain plant seems particularly effective, consider planting more of it in strategic areas. On the other hand, if a strategy isn’t working as expected, you can adapt and try something new, ensuring the protection of your garden remains robust.

Fencing with Plants: While physical fences can be scaled by determined squirrels, a dense ‘fence’ of repellent plants can be more effective. Layering such plants in a thick, border-like arrangement can serve as a deterrent wall. Combining this with other strategies can amplify the effects, ensuring squirrels remain at bay.

Incorporating these strategies and plants can lead to a harmonious coexistence where your garden thrives, and squirrels find their sustenance elsewhere. The beauty of this approach is that it complements the ecosystem rather than disrupting it, ensuring a thriving, vibrant garden space.

Work With Nature To Keep Squirrels at Bay

Gardens are sanctuaries where nature’s beauty is celebrated, cultivated, and enjoyed. However, the persistent intrusion of squirrels can diminish this joy, especially when the outcome is visible damage. 

By incorporating squirrel-repelling plants such as daffodils, alliums, crown imperials, and mint, gardeners can enjoy the double benefit of a vibrant garden space while naturally fending off unwanted guests.

It’s heartening to know that such a diverse range of plants, each with its unique aesthetic and fragrance, can collectively contribute to a squirrel-free garden.

If squirrels have been your unwelcome guests, consider weaving some of these plants into your garden tapestry. Beyond just these options, nature is abundant with solutions; there’s always more to explore in natural pest management. 

Every step towards understanding and aligning with nature ensures a healthier, more harmonious garden space. So, let’s harness the power of these plants and pave the way for gardens that we and the environment can cherish.

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.