Find my best tips on how to keep squirrels out of potted plants in this article. Squirrels have been a nuisance for many years until I tried these 11 things!
Have you ever heard the term “squirreling around”? If so, you probably already know where it comes from.
Squirrels are known for their quick and erratic behavior, which usually doesn’t end well. Especially in places they shouldn’t be in the first place, like your potted plants.
If you live in an area with many squirrels and potted plants outside, you need to know the best methods for keeping squirrels out of them.
Read on below to learn exactly how to keep these furry little critters from squirting around with your potted plants.
Table of Contents
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Potted Plants Outside?
The most effective methods to keep squirrels out of potted plants outside are get a dog, sprinkling cayenne pepper and coffee grounds, applying pepper spray, or scattering dog hair in and around the pots. Setting up physical barriers such as chicken wire and pebbles is also a good option.
1. Get a Dog
The simplest way to keep squirrels out of your potted plants is to get a dog if you don’t already have one. But you’ll have to let it outside during the daytime for it to spot and chase squirrels away.
Once your dog chases the squirrels away a few times, they are much less likely to return. This method also works for keeping squirrels away from vegetable plants.
2. Do Coffee Grounds Keep Squirrels Away?
Mixing used coffee grounds from your coffee pot with the top layer of soil is a dual-purpose and effective way to keep squirrels away from messing with your potted plants.
Not only do squirrels strongly dislike the scent and taste of coffee grounds, but most plants get a nice boost of nutrients from it.
3. Use Cayenne Pepper
Sprinkling potted plants with a small amount of cayenne pepper is another good method for teaching squirrels a lesson about messing with your flower pots. Once they get a whiff of the burning red substance, they will think twice before attempting to squirrel around in it again.
This tip is also great for keeping cats out of your plants!
4. Use Garlic Powder
Sprinkle a small amount of garlic powder on and around the plants to keep squirrels aways from plants. Like coffee and cayenne pepper, garlic will send squirrels running from your potted plants and up the nearest tree.
5. Use Blood Meal
Plants love blood meal, which is often used to increase potting mixes’ nutritional value. But squirrels happen to despise the smell of it. So, like with coffee grounds, you’re killing two birds with one stone by applying this squirrel-repelling method.
This will stop squirrles from digging up plants.
6. Apply Hot Pepper Spray
Hot pepper spray is one of the most effective techniques for keeping squirrels out of planters. You can make a simple solution from several spoonfuls of washing liquid and a small bottle of hot pepper sauce and water.
Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and shake it up nicely before spraying down the soil in your potted plants. You can also apply some pepper spray on the outside of the pots and the surrounding area for even better results.
You can also buy commercial hot pepper spray in the store or online if you prefer.
7. Create a Rock Barrier
Rocks may also help keep squirrels from digging up the soil in your pots. Simply put some small rocks around the plant in the pot to protect the exposed soil.
However, remember not to use too many rocks, or large ones in general, because they could affect the amount of water your plant receives.
8. Create a Wire or Mesh Barrier
Another excellent physical barrier for keeping squirrels from terrorizing your plants in pots is setting up a chicken wire barrier.
If you don’t have any and don’t want to buy any, you can use an old fishing net or similar material around the plant after you cut it down to the proper size.
9. Distract Squirrels with Food
An underhanded method, but one that might save your potted plants, is making a feeding spot for squirrels.
It may sound counter-productive, but if you feed them enough, as far away from your potted plants as possible (depending on the size of your yard), this method can work wonders.
Ensure that the food is easy for them to access, such as on a plate or in a bowl. Fill it up with plenty of their preferred snacks, which are all types of nuts and fruits. Keep the stash full; the squirrels should have no reason to search your potted plants for food.
10. Scare Squirrels Away with Noise and Decoys
Hanging old CDs or shiny plates close to your outdoor plants, the bright lights may discourage them from venturing further.
Likewise, try hanging windchimes or string-up tin cans, or empty soda cans. The clatter such hanging objects make will make the squirrels nervous.
If you want to get creative, hang up a small kite shaped like a hawk. Or, place a hawk statue near your pots. Hawks are natural predators that prey on squirrels. If they catch a glimpse of a hawk, they will surely run for cover.
11. Scatter Human or Dog Hair
It might sound gross, but you don’t need much. Just a few handfuls of human or dog hair around your potted plants can be enough to keep squirrels out of flowers.
Gather some hair from the brush or comb you use for your hair or your pet’s brush and scatter it over the soil in your pots.
12. Will Mothballs Keep Squirrels Away?
Mothballs will keep squirrels away if they contain naphthalene says Pests, Weeds and Problems. But mothballs are only a temporary solution. As the smell fades, the squirrels will return.
A downside of using mothballs is that they are toxic to cats, dogs and humans. In addition using mothballs is illegal in most countries and states. The gases can cause respiratory problems says Ask About Sports. Therefore using mothballs is not a good solution to keep squirrels away.
How to Keep Squirrels Away Naturally – The Organic Way
Organic methods to keep squirrels away are:
- Scents: Cayenne pepper, Garlic
- Predator urine: Foxes, Coyotes, or Bobcats
- Reflective Objects. Such as CDs
- Physical Barriers: Mesh and Pebbles
- Feeding Stations
- Ultrasonic Devices
The Best Squirrel Repellent – In My Opinion
The best squirrel repellent in my opinion is cayenne pepper. The reasons are that cayenne pepper is cheap, you most likely have it at home already and it is organic and non-toxic.
A downside of using cayenne pepper is that you will have to do it multiple times and refresh the scent once it is gone. It is only a temporary solution. The coverage area is also not huge and you risk skin irritations if you have sensitive skin.
How to Stop Squirrles From Digging Up Your Plants
The best way to stop squirrels from digging up your plants is using chicken wire secured with paddle wire. SanAs Garden says this way especially bulb cannot be dug out.
Other successful methods are using plastic spoons and forks and toothpicks around potted plants.
Why do Squirrels Dig in Flower Pots? Makes Sense!
Squirrels are known for diggin in dirt. As squirrles are omnivores and eat insects, the dig in the ground for prey. In addition squirrels are known to bury their food such as nuts to store excess food. This way they can store food for winter.
Squirrels also mark their territory that way and look for nesting material. They like to explore and are known for their erratic behavior especially when its mating season says Wildlife Troopers.
The last Scare
Squirrels are cute animals, but you don’t want them near your potted plants. Luckily there are several methods to keeping squirrles out of flower pots from using scents, a dog as well as barriers and decoys.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.