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Preventing Squirrels from Invading Flower Pots: Effective Strategies

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Squirrels are cute and a lot of fun to observe. However, that cuteness can quickly wane when you discover they are digging in your flower pots. If you have this problem, we’ll list several options to help keep them from your flower boxes.

Quick Take Away

A squirrel’s clever and persistent personality can be challenging, but it is not impossible to deter them from getting into flower pots. There are multiple methods to handle this issue, and finding the right one may be a frustrating process of trial and error. 

Getting Into Flower Pots – Understanding Squirrel Logic

Before you can solve an issue, especially where an animal is concerned, it is helpful to understand why a certain behavior is happening.

Why do squirrels love to get into your flower pots? That answer is fairly simple. Generally, the soil in a flower pot or planter box is easy to dig in, which makes them a great place for the squirrel to hide its winter stash of acorns and other assorted nuts. 

Another reason a squirrel may disrupt your flower display is that your flower pot has something that is tasty or smells good to them. 

The next section will discuss the plants and flowers that are known to attract squirrels to your flower pots. 

Plants and Flowers that Attract Squirrels

As previously mentioned, certain plants and flowers may be attractive to a curious squirrel. If you have some of the plants below, we’ll discuss how to make them less attractive for squirrels.

Here are the plants and flowers that squirrels are most attracted to: 

  • Forsythia
  • Hibiscus
  • Hostas
  • Hydrangea
  • Inpatients 
  • Knock-out Roses
  • Monkey Grass
  • Petunias
  • Rhododendron
  • Sunflower plants
  • Tulips

Ways to Deter Squirrels From Getting Into Your Flower Pots

There are multiple ways to deter a squirrel from digging in your flower pots or sampling what is growing. What works with one squirrel may not work for another, which can make it a bit of a tedious game until you find the right trick for your local furry clown. 

Add Distasteful Deterrents to the Potting Soil Mix

If you have a squirrel that thinks your flower pots are especially convenient for storing some wintertime snacks, it may be helpful to add some unpleasant things to the soil, such as: 

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Vinegar

Feel free to include more than one of these ingredients while mixing them into the soil. The more repulsive the scent and taste of the soil, the more likely you are to get rid of your pest. 

As a reminder, what works for one squirrel may not work on another, so be patient and try different combinations until you find what works for you. 

Avoid Planting Things That Attract Curious Squirrels

One very simple way to reduce the temptation for a squirrel to get into your flower pots is to avoid planting things that they are naturally attracted to. If you do not wish to compromise on your display, there are other methods you can try to stop a squirrel from disrupting your plants. 

Plants and Flowers that Squirrels Try to Avoid are as follows: 

  • Alliums
  • Daffodils
  • Dragonheads
  • Fritillaries
  • Geraniums
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Marigolds
  • Snowdrop

Create a Barrier Between the Soil and the Squirrel

Another natural way you can attempt to deter these destructive pests is to cover the top of the soil with a generous layer of:

  • Glass marbles
  • Gravel
  • Landscaping rocks
  • Other decorative materials 

Materials like the ones listed above can help to create a barrier between the dirt and the squirrel. This method may not stop a highly motivated squirrel from doing what it wants, but it can definitely help. 

Mix a Homemade Squirrel Repellent Spray

Make an all-natural squirrel repellent spray that has proven to be quite effective for some people. The trick is to use ingredients that are extremely repulsive and causes some discomfort without actually harming the squirrel. 

Once these ravaging rodents get a sample of your concoction once or twice, they will conclude that your flower pots equal unpleasant tastes, smells, and potential discomfort. 

These homemade squirrel repellents need to be sprayed regularly to keep the scent fresh so that the squirrels and other pests will leave your precious blooms alone. 

I’m trying out cayenne pepper and black pepper combination to keep our squirrels from eating our hibiscus blooms that sit on our deck.

Some people use the following ingredients in their squirrel repellent sprays:

  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chopped jalapeno pepper
  • Chopped onion
Making Homemade Squirrel Repellent Spray
After gathering all of the necessary ingredients, you will need to add them to boiling water for around 15 – 20 minutes. 
Turn off the burner. Once the mixture has cooled for a little bit, carefully drain it through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a spray bottle. 
The ingredients used in this solution will have an offensive scent and the potential to make the squirrel’s eyes and tongue burn. 

Keep in mind; this concoction can also burn your eyes or any open wounds you may have. It’s a good idea to wear eye protection and/or gloves while applying your repellent to the necessary areas.

Stick a Fork in Squirrels Digging in Your Flower Pots 

Another way to deter these disruptive diggers is to literally stick forks in your flower pots. Push the forks into the soil until only a small part of the tines are visible. 

Once your little friends begin to dig, they will find an uncomfortable surprise just below the surface. With this method, they will eventually equate pain with your flower pots and likely move on to a new target. 

Some gardeners lay vines or plant stems with thorns on the surface of the soil as a deterrent instead of forks. It doesn’t matter what objects you use as long as they are pointy and cause discomfort to the squirrels when digging in your flower pots. 

Let Your Flower Pots Shine

Sometimes the simplest solution can be the most effective. Some people have found that incorporating shiny objects and decorations that light up into their flower displays helps to scare the squirrels away. 

By incorporating these objects into the layout of your potted plants and flowers, you can create a visually pleasing display while accomplishing the task of dissuading some annoying squirrels from digging. 

Chicken Wire and Garden Fence to Keep Squirrels Out

This option may be suitable if all the options above fail. Use chicken wire or garden fencing to surround the area where your flower boxes are located. 

The problem with this method is it can take away from the beauty of your flower pots.

You may not want to put your flowers in a cage or have to deal with moving the wire when you want to maintain the display, but for some people, this is a good option. 

Trial and Error Paired With Patience Stop Digging Squirrels

As you can see, it can take a combination of methods to stop squirrels from digging in your flower pots. If you are creative and have patience, you will quickly find a way to deter them from digging in your flower pots.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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