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How to Keep Squirrels out of Potted Plants — 11 Great Hacks

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 that has lots of squirrels, and you have potted plants outside, you need to know the best methods for keeping squirrels out of them.

Read on below to find out exactly how to keep these furry little critters from squirreling around with your potted plants.


How to Keep Squirrels Out of Potted Plants?

There are a plethora of great ways to keep squirrels out of potted plants. The most effective methods include everything from sprinkling cayenne pepper and coffee grounds, to applying pepper spray or scattering dog hair in and around the pots. Setting up physical barriers is also a good option.


1. Get a Dog 

The most simple 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 them outside during the daytime in order for them 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 larger plants like tomatoes.


2. Use Coffee Grounds

Mixing used coffee ground 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 potted plants. Once they get a whiff of the burning red substance they will definitely 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 you have potted outside. Like coffee and cayenne pepper, garlic is sure to send squirrels running from your potted plants and up the nearest tree.


5. Use Blood Meal

Plants love blood meal, as it is often used for increasing the nutritional value of potting mixes. 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.


6. Apply Hot Pepper Spray

The use of hot pepper spray is one of the most effective techniques for keeping squirrels out of your potted plants. You can make a simple solution out of a couple of 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 of the pepper spray on the outside of the pots and the surrounding area for even better results.

Additionally, 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, keep in mind 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 opt for using an old fishing net or some other similar material around the plant after you cut it down to the proper size.


9. Distract Them with Food

An underhanded method, but one that might just 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. 

Make sure 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 happen to be all types of nuts and fruits. Keep the stash full and the squirrels should have no reason to search your potted plants for food. 


10. Scare Them Away with Noise

Hanging old CD-s 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 definitely make the squirrels nervous.

If you really 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 at bay. 

Simply 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.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.