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How to keep squirrels out of potted plants

How to keep squirrels out of potted plants? Where there are not much ground to plant, plant lovers love to go for outdoor plants in container, it is a great of way small scale gardening. Planting in container is a great way of protecting the plants from insects or other variety of plant-eating pest.

For squirrel container is no match, they can easily get through it. Gardeners should take an extra mile to protect the plants from squirrel infesting, follow the steps to secure your potted plants and even in-ground outdoor plants.


For gardeners who are gardening for quite some time, it is quite natural that you have faced problem with squirrel and also chipmunks in certain area. Squirrels generals infest the potted plant to eat or bury their hard earned foods in the container.

Over years we utilized various ways to keep the squirrels away from the plants, in this article I will give the best way to answer, how to keep squirrels out of potted plants. Squirrels are an integral part of our ecosystem, it is best to not harm them and keep them away from our plants in most humane way possible.

In the beginning we will discuss about the most basic ways and will proceed further. It is inevitable to apply several methods together to keep squirrels out of our garden efficiently.

The best line of defense against squirrel attacks in physical barriers, it keeps the squirrels out of potted plants, there are others methods as well but they are not good enough to prevent the rodent out of our way. When you are preparing to stop squirrel problem from your garden you should keep in mind that squirrels are important part of our environment. The digging and caching of seeds and nuts to use later is quite important for our environment, it helps to aerate soil, and it enhance growth of new plants and provide food for other large animals and mammals.

It is quite needless to say that squirrels are clever animals that keep the gardeners at bay, especially during beginning of spring.

The most irritating segment of the entire thing is that they harm our beloved potted plants, but they stack their own food like peanuts, acorns.

There are some squirrel that turn the flowering pot in their personal littering ground, disgusting right.

So, if you are curious to learn few methods to protect the plants and keep the animals out without harming them, you are exactly where you should be.


In this article, the important question of gardeners is how to keep squirrels out of potted plants? The very reason you should go through this article. After lots of trial and error I came across some most effective tips.

There are lots of ways to keep squirrels out but it is best to follow the humane ones.

The article contains all possible ways to meet the demand of keeping squirrel out of garden.

Reason to worry about squirrel

During late summer and autumn squirrel are most active, and they stock food to eat during winter. Squirrels do not hibernate but they tend to lay low, so it is very useful for them to store food during winter. The instinct of squirrel regarding storing food is very intense, it helps them to survive. Gray squirrels are the one that spread their food all around the territory.

Generally squirrel gather foods like acorns, pinecones, nuts, bark fruits various kind of berries, fungi and insects, but they love to steal bird eggs and bulbs. Sometime squirrel destroy flowers in the garden just for fun, always keep an eye for them and try to follow the tips I listed in the article.

All about squirrel

Squirrels generally weigh around 16 to 24 ounce, common gray squirrel generally because most harm in our garden. The color of this rodent varies from brown, tan, to dark brown. The belly of squirrel varies from light, white to gray. The body of squirrel is almost around 8 to 11 inches and its tail varies from 8 to 10 inches. We can identify a gray squirrel from its bushy tail, and fur covered body to keep them warm and help in balancing their body.

Recognize a squirrel damage

When gardeners is growing flowers and vegetables in containers, it is a common sight that something is digging around in container soil. Squirrels and chipmunks dig the soil in search of insects or other foods in the containers, and can cause harm in the process.

Squirrels will attack and harm your garden, as well as bird feeders. If your bird’s food is missing quite frequently, it is quite natural that you are facing a squirrel problem.

How to keep squirrel away from plants, follow these steps.

  • Use taste and smell: One of the easiest to keep the squirrel out of garden is to make the plants unappealing. Try spoiling the taste and smell of the plants.

With the help of strong citrus oils or garlic sprays or sprinkling pepper on the leaves we can deter the squirrels from having it.

For squirrels fish emulsion is also unpleasant to smell and we can add to the soil of the plants.

We should also take care of the fact that it is high in nitrogen and often sold commercially as fertilizer. We should only apply it in our container plants if and only if we are sure that our soil can withstand extra nutrition.

  • Consider setting up a blockade: often owners ask, how to keep squirrel out of my garden? Consider blocking the exposed part of the soil in container. Squirrels with their excellent nibbling ability can still nibble but they cannot dig or uproot anything.

A layer of stone is an excellent choice but prevent from overdoing it and leave space for water. Owner can use large river stones for the purpose. River stones are enough to keep the animal out of garden pot but will leave enough space for water to flow down the pot.

  • Create distraction: This option is a kind of riskier and can increase the squirrel problem a lot. It is also a right solution if you know how to apply it.

How do I keep squirrel out of my garden and not harm them, consider the solution.

If the problem is about squirrel eating plants pot for food, we can consider making a distraction by creating more appealing option elsewhere.

We can add squirrel feeder in a pot somewhere else in your yard, serve nuts, seeds, fruits and other variety of tasty squirrel treats. All of it can convince the pests to eat somewhere else.

  • Scare the pest away: Not like any other wildlife, squirrels are not that panicky and it is hard to scare the pest away when they are used to human interaction. It is more like standing guard and chasing the pest away, there are not many kind of things that can scare the pest away.

One of the most useful and classic way is to put few foil pie plates. , it will clatter them unpredictably in the breeze. There is another choice, mount a plastic owl or hawk model in nearby tree.

Owl and hawks are predators, their appearance will make the pest twice before approaching container plants.

  • Electronic devices: In online and offline store we can easily get electronic, solar or battery-powered to keep squirrel out of garden. One of the most common type of device that keep pest away is device that release ultrasonic sound waves that scares the squirrel away from our garden. There are some device that provide extra care by adding flashlight and there are some device that emit predator noise.

One of the most effective device is motion-activated sprinklers. The device release sudden burst of water at any movement that can scare the squirrel away. It is best to frequently change the device position for more effective protection.

  • Essential oil: We can use geranium, clove and peppermint, scent of these essential oil is something squirrel dislike a lot. Place soaked cotton in trays and remember to soak it in essential oils. We can also busy deterrents from store that uses this essential oils, consider spraying it around the garden to deter the pest.

Owners should keep their pets and children away from these essential oils, it is harmful.

  • Garlic: Human may enjoy the fragrance of garlic while cooking, but squirrels do not love the smell or taste of garlic. Try mixing garlic with equal part of water along with vinegar.

Keep the mix for at least few weeks and let the flavor mix and after that spray it over fence, stakes and flower pots. We should never spray the solution directly over our plants, it can harm them. Consider labeling the pot that contain leftover spray and place it in safe location far from children and pets.

We can easily get garlic spray from online store or garden supply and hardware store. Garlic deterrent is very effective in pest control but it is effective in keeping squirrels off.

We should reapply the spray in regular interval because the scent of the spray fade away after some time.

  • Keeping a dog: Our dogs are great in chasing squirrel, if you have a pet dog you are in advantage as squirrel cannot stand any chance against dogs.

Save your dog’s hairs while grooming them and spread it over your garden. Trust me squirrel avoid section that have evidence of dog’s presence.

Even human hair is effective to keep squirrel out of garden.

During daytime let your dog out in garden, it will chase the squirrel out whenever they spot them.

Once the dog chased out the squirrel for couple of time it is very unlikely that squirrel will return.

  • Consider using coffee ground: you can spread leftover coffee ground from your coffee pot and spread it over the soil. Spreading coffee ground will serve dual purpose and will keep the squirrel out.

Squirrels strongly dislike the smell and taste of coffee ground, and it also enrich the soil and make it fertile.

  • Consider using blood meal: blood meal is very useful for plants, it enriches the soil. Squirrels hates the smell of blood meal. Just like coffee grounds, using blood meal can help in both grounds it will repel the pest and enrich the soil.
  • Noise can keep squirrel away: Owners can consider hanging old CDs or shiny plates near outdoor plants, the bright light from them will keep the squirrel away from moving further.

We can also hang wind chimes or cans and empty soda cans. Placing a hawk statue near the pots will scare the pest away. Hawks are natural predators of squirrels and sight of them will for sure scare them.

  • How and what bulb to plant: There are certain bulbs that squirrels hate like daffodils, snowdrops and ornamentals alliums. The unpleasant taste of the bulbs deter not only squirrels but deer’s and rabbits. We can try planting the bulbs in pots, planters, and containers.

To improve the protection of your plants, plant the flowers along with wire mesh. There are some gardeners that claims that planting the flowers along with crushed gravel keep the squirrel’s way. Consider using rock stone to improve water flow.

When gardeners are planning to plant lot of bulbs, we can lay down chicken mesh. Gardeners place the one-inch mesh just below and above the bulbs. The plants can easily propagate through wire but squirrels cannot get through it.

We can also consider covering the surface of the bed with plastic net, it is inexpensive and invincible.

Clean the flowering area and get rid of papery bits of bulb debris. Clean the area and do not keep the bulbs while planting the bulbs- squirrels can easily smell their favorite food.


How to keep squirrels out of potted plants? It is a problems that’s put every owner in turmoil. Squirrels are a great threat for our beloved garden, but they play an important role in our ecosystem. In this article there are several ways to protect garden from squirrel.

Important note:

There are several ways to keep squirrels out of garden, some are humane and some are harmful. In this article we will discuss the most humane way that will scare them away, protect our garden and maintain ecosystem.

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