Squirrels are known for their wild and unpredictable behavior, which rarely ends well, especially in places where they shouldn’t be, such as your pots. Squirrels dig deep to bury their food hoard, usually consisting of acorns or nuts.

Squirrel on a potted plant

Flowerpots are fantastic because potting soil is soft and accessible for squirrels to dig through. Continue reading to learn how to prevent these hairy little animals from messing with your plant pots.

Why Do Squirrels Dig in Plant Pots?

Squirrels dig in flower pots because they believe there is something valuable underneath the soil. They are sometimes inaccurate, but most of the time there is something that attracts the squirrels and chipmunks.

Squirrels dig in flower and plant containers. They can be attracted to the plants you’re growing. Potting soil may be causing squirrels to dig. Fish emulsion-based soil mixtures might be enticing.

Squirrels may be digging in late autumn to bury their nuts for the winter. As a result, squirrels may seek food caches stored over the winter and into the spring.

How To Keep Squirrels Out Of Potted Plants?

Squirrels can be kept out of plant pots in a variety of methods. Sprinkling cayenne pepper, using pre-ground coffee, spraying pepper spray, and spreading dog hair in and around the pots are promising approaches. It’s also an excellent idea to put up physical boundaries.

– Purchase A Dog

If you don’t have one already, getting a dog is the easiest solution to keep squirrels out of your plant pots. However, you’ll need to allow them out during the day so they can locate and chase squirrels away wholly. 

Squirrels are significantly less likely to return after your dog chases them away a few times. This technique can also keep squirrels away from mature plants such as tomatoes.

– Make Use Of Coffee Grounds

Another method that serves two purposes and effectively keeps squirrels away from your flower pots is to mix old grounds from the coffee pot with upper soil layers. Grounds are not only repulsive to squirrels, but they also provide a welcome boost of nutrients to most plants. 

Another method of keeping squirrels away from your garden patch is to plant mint near it. They will be scared away by the strong scent of mint.

– Use Cayenne Pepper

Another smart way to teach squirrels a lesson about not meddling with your plants is to sprinkle a tiny bit of pepper on them. They’ll think twice about squirting around in it again once they catch a whiff of the searing red material. 

This trick can also be used to keep cats away from your plants.

– Make Use Of Garlic Powder

Apply a small amount of garlic powder to the plants you’ve potted outside and around them. Like coffee and cayenne, Garlic will drive squirrels away from your flower pots and into the nearby tree.

– Using Blood Meal Or Bone Meal

Plants adore blood meal, which is frequently used to boost the nutritional value of potting soils. Squirrels, on the other hand, dislike the smell. So, like with coffee grounds, this squirrel repellent strategy kills two birds with one stone.

On the other hand, the latter is made primarily of ground-up phosphorus-rich animal bones. It has a weaker odor, making it less effective than these two meals.

– Use Hot Pepper Spray

Hot pepper spray is the most effective way to keep these critters out of your plants. A simple solution can be made with a couple of spoonfuls of dishwashing liquid, a tiny bottle of spicy pepper sauce, and some water.

Before spraying down the dirt in your plant pots, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and give it a good shake. For even more significant effects, squirt some pepper spray around the outside of the pots and the surrounding area. You can also purchase commercial hot pepper spray in stores or online if you’d prefer it.

– Make A Rock Barrier

As you use rocks, squirrels may also be discouraged from burrowing soil layers in your pots. Place some small stones in the pot around the plant to safeguard the bare soil. 

However, avoid using too many rocks, or huge ones generally, because they may reduce the plant’s quantity of water.

– Build A Wire Or Mesh Barrier

Putting a chicken wire barrier is another physical barrier for keeping squirrels away from your plants. 

If you don’t have chicken wire on hand and don’t want to buy some, you can wrap an old fishing net or other suitable material around the plant after cutting it to size.

Ensure the fencing you’re using is solid and that the cage has no vast holes because squirrels are small. They require particular wiring or cage to prevent them from entering your flower pots.

– Organic Fencing

If you don’t like the thought of using wire mesh to protect your plants, you can use plant stems to build organic barriers around plants.

Pick some thorny stems from your rose or blueberry bushes and stick them into the soil around your plants. Other sharp things, such as plastic forks and bamboo sticks, can also be used. Even if the squirrels get inside, they won’t be able to burrow into your soil this way.

– Place Traps

Using fatal traps is a bit extreme, and some excellent live-trapping devices are on the market. First, give those a shot. This method also eliminates the possibility of accidentally killing another animal. Most home improvement stores and garden centers carry these types of traps.

Set one or two up in the vicinity of your pots, baited with peanuts or peanut butter. When you’ve caught a squirrel, transport it to a nearby forested area away from your house and release it.

– Use Food To Distract Them

Making a squirrel feeding station is a shady strategy, but it could preserve your potted plants.

This strategy may appear counter-productive, but if you feed them frequently and keep them as far enough from your pos as possible (depending on the size of your yard), it can work miracles.

Ensure the food is easily accessible on a plate or in a dish. Fill it with their favorite snacks, various nuts, and fruits. Keep the stockpile full; the squirrels will not need to raid your potted plants.

– Set Up Bird Feeders

You don’t need to spend a massive sum of money on a bird feeder to achieve your goal. Instead, put out an aluminum foil container with bird food and invite the birds to come by to keep the squirrels away.

Bird eggs can also drive squirrels away so that you can keep birds as pets in your garden. Make sure the bird feeder is at least 10 feet away from fences or trees where a squirrel could hop on the food.

– Scare Them With Noise

Squirrels dislike loud noises that are unusual to them. Unexpected noises irritate and disorient squirrels.

If you hang old CDs or glossy plates near your outside plants, the bright lights may prohibit them from going further. Similarly, windchimes, tin cans, or empty bottle cans can be hung.

The cacophony of such hanging objects will undoubtedly frighten squirrels. Hang a little hawk-shaped kite if you want to be inventive. 

Alternatively, put a hawk statue near your pots. Squirrels are prey for hawks, which are natural predators. If they see a hawk, they will undoubtedly flee for safety.

Another option to create sound is to have a radio near the potted plant. The sound of music and people conversing will give the squirrel the impression that other people are nearby.

– Remove Squirrel Attractions

Squirrels can be controlled and eliminated from your potted plant area by removing all the factors that attract them in the first place.

Squirrels will be attracted to garbage cans outside or food scraps left in the garden. If you opt to keep your garbage cans out, bring them inside or ensure they are tightly closed.

Acorn trees, as well as other nut-bearing plants, are particularly appealing to squirrels. However, growing the two plants together can be problematic; keeping your potted flowers away from them.

– Motion Sensor Sprinklers

Motion sensors are an excellent approach if you are interested in purchasing and installing motion sensor sprinklers.

Sprinklers should be placed all over your potted plants. The sprinkler system will activate when it detects movement. Water will almost certainly frighten the squirrels and drive them away.

– Mothballs

Close the lid on a plastic bottle with a handful of mothballs. Place the mothball-filled bottle next to the potted plants. Don’t be concerned since squirrels don’t eat mothballs.

– Scattering Human Or Dog Hair

It may sound disgusting, but you only need a small amount. Squirrels hate these and can be deterred by scattering only a few human or dog hair surrounding your potted plants. Collect hair from your hairbrush or comb and your pet’s brush, and distribute it over the soil in your pots.

Squirrel on a plant pot


Does Irish Spring soap keep squirrels out of potted plants?

Irish Spring soap may have a limited effect in deterring squirrels from potted plants, but it is not a foolproof solution.

Do lemon peels repel squirrels from potted plants?

Lemon peels may have a mild repelling effect on squirrels and could help deter them from potted plants to some extent.

Can aluminum foil keep squirrels out of potted plants?

Yes, aluminum foil can be an effective deterrent to keep squirrels out of potted plants. The shiny and reflective surface of the foil can startle and deter squirrels, making them less likely to approach the plants.


Some takeaways to leave here that help to prevent squirrels from invading and ruining your plants are:

  • Squirrels will often enter your yard and potted plants, searching for food or hiding their finds in preparation for the winter.
  • Place all leftovers in a garbage container with a tight lid.
  • You can also use a natural squirrel repellent spray or blood meal.
  • Building cages and barriers are also an efficient way.

We hope that this information assists you in getting rid of these pesky little invaders.

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