Plants that repel skunks prevent them from damaging your garden. Unfortunately, as skunks dig holes to look for worms, they eventually disrupt the root systems of different plants.

Plants That Repel Skunks

Our gardening team will tell you about 11 plant skunk repellent species that keep them away from your outdoor space to protect your precious landscape.

List of Skunk Repellent Plants

1. Peppermint

The minty scent of this herb is the best skunk repellent because it’s too overwhelming for the animals’ sensitive noses. Moreover, many other pests hate this strong smell, so you can use this plant as a natural pest deterrent or prepare a spray using its essential oil to keep your garden pest-free.

Peppermint best skunk repellent

Peppermint’s strong flavor comes from the concentrated oils in the leaves and pink flowers. Accelerating the plant’s growth using fertilizers will lead to leggy growth, and the herb won’t be flavorful. You can also grow this plant in a pot and keep it on the patio or next to a window sill as different bugs, like wasps, hate its scent.

– Growing Conditions

This herb is maintenance-free but can quickly become invasive if you don’t keep it under control. It survives in different soil types, but regular watering and good sun exposure are essential to keep it healthy. It can tolerate colder temperatures and grows aggressively in humid conditions.

2. Crown Imperial

Fritillaria imperialis is a prized flower that grows on a crown that sits on top of the glossy foliage. This plant grows from bulbs that should be planted in the fall, and they start blooming in the mid-spring.

Most flowers are orange, although some varieties are red and yellow, adding beauty to your spring garden with their warm shades.

Crown Imperial grows from bulbs

These plants prefer full sun exposure and grow in different types of soil. They can work for rocky gardens, as the growing conditions resemble their natural habitats along the slopes of the Himalayas. The plants need regular watering in the spring, and then they become drought-resistant.

– What You Need To Know

In addition to their ability to deter skunks, crown imperials are very potent at keeping other pests like voles away from your garden, so you can grow them as border or edging plants to protect your landscape. The bulbs have a unique shape and should be planted immediately because they can easily dry out. 

Although these flowers will be attractive in a flower bed, they go dormant when the temperature increases in the summer. Be careful of where you grow these plants because they’re toxic to humans and pets.

3. Bougainvillea

If you wonder how to keep skunks away from your house, the answer might be by growing bougainvillea vines. These plants can grow as vines, shrubs, or ground cover, depending on how you train them. Because they have thorns, skunks and other animals like squirrels and lizard will stay away from them. 

Bougainvillea keep skunks away from your house

The plant grows in well-draining soil and tolerates some shade, especially in hot summers. Regular watering is needed when the plant is blooming. Bougainvillea plants are heavy feeders, and fertilizing every other week in the summer is highly recommended. Regular pruning will help keep them in shape and encourage more growth.

– Special Features

The plant looks beautiful with its vibrant flowers that could be pink, red, purple, or yellow, but these are just colorful bracts that hide the plant’s true small little flowers.

The plants could be treated as annuals, or you can bring them inside for protection if the temperature drops significantly in the winter since these plants won’t tolerate cold weather.

4. Summer Squash

Dealing with skunks can be a nuisance in your vegetable garden. Although these animals feed on harmful bugs and invertebrates, they dig holes that ruin the look of your garden and can also feed on some of your veggies.

Different varieties of squash, like pattypan, zucchini, and crookneck squash, keep these animals away from your garden because the tiny hairs on the leaves hurt their feet and bodies.

Summer Squash natural barrier

These plants grow in rich, well-draining soil and require full sun exposure to grow properly. The seeds need to be grown in warm temperatures because they’re sensitive to the cold. At least eight hours of sunlight are required for the plant to bear fruits.

– How To Keep Skunks Away

Since skunks might try to attack the ripened fruits, you need to let the leaves grow on the ground. They will act as a natural barrier that repels them. You might even spread the leaves around the entry points in your garden to protect other vulnerable plants.

In addition, you can spray some coyote urine or set up a motion sensor to make sure that skunks will avoid your garden at all costs.

5. Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle is a fast-growing perennial that is grown as a garden plant but can also be considered a weed when it goes out of control. The plant is the food source of different butterfly larvae and is sometimes used for culinary purposes because the leaves contain nutritious amounts of Vitamins A and C.

Stinging Nettle popular skunk repellents

This plant thrives in loamy, well-draining, rich soil but can also survive in disturbed lots. It has moderate watering needs and prefers to grow in full sun. However, it can also tolerate some shade. Periodic feeding with nitrogen-rich fertilizer will keep this plant healthy.

– Why Skunks Dislike This Plant

It’s one of the most popular skunk repellents because the plant’s leaves are covered with tiny hairs that irritate their bodies when they touch them. Some leaves also emit a burning chemical that causes skin irritation, so they’ll avoid your garden if you grow this plant.

However, this chemical will also irritate your skin if you touch the plant, so you must handle it carefully. Moreover, it’s toxic to pets.

6. African Milk Tree

Choosing this plant for your hedge will be a smart decision if skunks usually attack your garden. The animals will be repelled by the thorns that cover the whole plant. This is a fast-growing plant that grows about one or two feet per year, so it will be a good choice if you want more privacy in your outdoor space.

highly toxic African Milk Tree

If you have pets and kids, you must ensure they don’t come near this plant. The sap is highly toxic and irritates the mouth, eyes, and skin. As a matter of fact, ingesting parts of the plant can lead to convulsions.

– Plant Care

Because of its vigorous growing habits, you need to prune and stake your African milk tree plant to keep it in shape. It can survive in any soil but prefers well-draining soil.

It doesn’t require a lot of water as it’s drought tolerant and prefers bright indirect sunlight. More watering will be needed if it’s kept in the sun all day.

7. Wild Cucumber

Wild cucumber vines can be a beautiful addition to your garden, germinating from seeds that grow after the last frost. It has smooth fleshy stems and opposite leaves and grows as it attaches itself to different structures in your landscape, sometimes taking over your garden. In the summer, the plant will grow pretty white flowers.

Skunks hate the spines and lobes of Wild Cucumber

Skunks hate the spines and lobes of this plant, and although the fruit looks interesting, it’s toxic to humans. The plant thrives in areas with high moisture and requires regular watering. It can be a good choice if you have a support structure near a water feature in your garden, and it can tolerate full sun and partial shade.

– Issues

Despite their attractive look, wild cucumbers can do considerable damage in your garden by blocking the sunlight and depriving nearby shrubs and trees of sun exposure.

In addition, the plant can quickly become invasive, so you need to control it by pulling the plants as soon as they start emerging in the spring.

8. Oregon Grape

This broadleaf evergreen shrub is an all-year-round attraction in the shady spots of your garden. It has bright foliage that turns burgundy in fall, and in the summer, it grows vibrant yellow flowers.

The flowers then become edible purple-blue fruits. These fruits attract several birds like robins and pheasants, but they can also attract other animals like foxes.

Oregon Grape skunk deterrent plant

The plant is the best skunk deterrent because it attracts the skunks’ natural predators and the leaves are covered by sharp thorns. Because of this, they will avoid your garden if you grow them as a hedge. Also known as mountain grapes, these plants thrive in moist soil and prefer partial shade.

– What You Need To Know

You can grow this plant in your pollinator garden, as the flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

The fruit is tart, so it’s usually used to make jams and preserves. This plant can become invasive in your garden if you don’t keep it under control, as the suckers are able to grow new plants. Yet, this can be a useful feature if you’re growing a native garden.

9. American Holly

Hollies are among the most potent trees that repel skunks, as these animals hate their spiky leaves. As a matter of fact, if you’re trying to find a natural pest control method, you can scatter the leaves at your garden’s entry points or wrap them around your hedge.

American Holly spiky leaves

In the summer, the plant grows whitish-green flowers that attract pollinators. The famous red berries of the American holly are toxic to humans and pets, so you need to be careful about growing them. Yet, they attract different birds like cardinals and goldfinches to your garden. In optimal conditions, these trees can grow to be more than 30 feet tall.

– Growing Conditions

If your purpose is to enjoy the bright red berries of the hollies, then you need to have male and female trees in your garden, and the birds and bees will help with the pollination process. The plants can grow in sunny and shady spots as long as the soil is moist and well-draining.

10. Lavender

Skunks and humans have different tastes when it comes to the scents they both like. People love the soothing scent of lavender, but skunks find it extremely irritating, so they will avoid your garden if you grow this natural skunk deterrent.

These shrubs have purple flowers that bloom in summer and contrast beautifully with the gray-green foliage.

skunks find Lavender extremely irritating

This plant is an excellent addition to your pollinator garden as it attracts bees. It tolerates various soil conditions but will thrive in well-draining soil with full sun exposure. Just like most aromatic herbs, lean soil that doesn’t contain too many nutrients will increase the concentration of the oils, so the plant will be more fragrant. You can use the oils to prepare a deterrent spray to drive skunks away. 

– Special Features

Lavender grows from a compact shrub that should be planted after the last frost. It has a moderate growth rate and can be used as a border or hedging plant.

The scent is deterring to most pests and will keep deer away from your garden. However, this plant is toxic to pets, so you can keep it in a flower bed to prevent access to it.

11. Daffodil

These perennial spring bulbs are toxic to skunks because they contain calcium oxalate crystals and phenanthridine alkaloids, so they will look for food in other places if you grow them in your garden.

They also repel other animals like squirrels and rabbits, so you should grow them if you want a natural pest deterrent barrier that adds beauty to your garden and protects you from frequent pest attacks.

Daffodil bulbs are toxic to skunks

The plants start blooming in late winter or early spring, growing beautiful flowers that are mostly yellow, although some varieties can grow pink, white, orange, or bi-colored blooms. The bulbs thrive in well-draining, moist soil and are usually maintenance-free.

– Issues

Daffodils are toxic to pets and humans, so you need to think carefully before picking the right spot to grow them in your garden. The bulbs need at least five inches of space, but providing more space is recommended.

The flowers will bloom once in the season, and some gardeners prefer to dig up the bulbs to keep them for the next winter, so they can have more space for late-season bloomers. In boggy soil, this plant can suffer from bulb rot.


Skunk smell and damage can be a real nuisance, and plants that attract skunks can tempt these animals to attack your garden repeatedly. Luckily, there are other plants that will help keep them away.

  • Plants with thorns or hairs such as bougainvillea vines or stinging nettles will repel these animals because they hurt their feet and bodies.
  • Skunks hate certain smells, so you can grow fragrant plants such as peppermint or lavender or use their oils to prepare a homemade skunk-repellent spray.
  • Some plants are toxic to skunks, so they won’t attack them.
  • If you have vulnerable plants that they love, grow some deterring plants such as daffodils, and combine them with predator urine to drive skunks away.

Growing different plants will guarantee that skunks will avoid looking for food in your garden. At the same time, you’ll be enjoying the gorgeous atmosphere created by these amazing plants in your outdoor space.

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