Squirrel repellent plants represent a valuable addition to your garden if you constantly suffer from damaged plants and flowers. Unfortunately, these rodents will view almost everything as food, so they will munch on your seedlings, plants, herbs, veggies, flowers, and bulbs, eventually destroying your garden.
With this problem in mind, our gardening team will share 19 plants that naturally deter squirrels without harming them, allowing you and your plants to live happily.
- List of Plants That Repel Squirrels
List of Plants That Repel Squirrels
1. Star Jasmine
The same appealing flowering aroma of star jasmine that people love is what repels squirrels, but it will attract bees to your pollinator garden. During its first year, the plant will dedicate its energy to establishing its root system, and the white flowers will start to appear in later seasons. It thrives in full sun and isn’t picky about the soil type as long as it’s watered regularly.
– Planting Ideas
This plant can be grown as a ground cover or on a trellis. Because it’s a short plant, you can grow it on your deck or on the patio, so it will work for you if you want to grow potted plants that repel squirrels. This beautiful plant will be a fragrant addition to your fence or trellis, so you can grow it with other vining plants, and it also succeeds as an indoor plant.
2. Cayenne Pepper
If you’re looking for a potent way to keep squirrels away from your vegetable garden, these spicy hot peppers won’t disappoint you. This bushy plant belongs to a species that include other plants like bell peppers and jalapeños.
It grows white flowers that turn into glossy red fruits with a wrinkly texture, which are characterized by being medium-heat. Due to the presence of capsaicin compounds, all the plant’s parts are toxic to people and can cause allergic reactions.
– Plant Care
This is a frost-tender perennial that should be grown in spring. You should grow it in a sunny spot in well-draining soil, away from larger plants that might shade it. Some varieties produce a lot of fruits, and they need staking to support their growth. The soil should be organically rich, and you need to avoid overwatering because the plant will suffer.
Bright daffodils are beautiful plants that repel squirrels and rabbits that attack your garden and steal food from bird feeders. Squirrels are repelled by the fragrance of these flowers, so they’ll stay away from your landscape.
They also avoid these plants because they contain phenanthridine alkaloids and calcium oxalate, which are toxic to humans and animals. These plants are self-sufficient unless you have inferior soil. In this case, fertilizing in spring will be a big plus.
– Special Features
Most daffodils are shades of yellow, but some flowers can be white, pink, orange, or bi-colored. Each flower has a trumpet-shaped corona, and the flowers will bloom once per season. When they dry up, you need to keep the foliage intact.
They like to be watered regularly during the growing season and prefer to receive at least six hours of sun per day. They’re immune to most pests and diseases but can suffer from bulb rot when grown in badly-drained soil.
Squirrels are fond of digging and will immediately be put off once they discover the fair maids of February bulbs in your garden. These flowers are probably the first ones to appear in your garden, and this is how they get their common nickname. They’re pretty hardy, so they’ll resist most diseases. Although they’re immune to most pests, they’re toxic to humans and pets.
– Growing Conditions
These plants grow in well-draining soil and can tolerate being watered less frequently in colder climates. They thrive in full sun but can survive in the shade of taller trees where other plants will struggle to grow.
Allow the yellowing foliage to fall to the ground and decompose to enrich the soil with nutrients for the next growing season. Adding a bulb fertilizer when they’re first planted will be a great addition to your plant.
Lemongrass is an appealing plant because it serves multiple purposes. It’s an excellent fast-growing plant that improves your curb appeal, and it’s also one of the edible herbs squirrels hate. It has beautiful gray-green slender leaves that turn red and burgundy when the temperature drops, adding beauty to your fall garden.
It thrives in full sun and prefers rich, loamy, moist soil. Lemongrass sensitive to cold temperatures, so if you live in a colder climate, you might consider growing it in an indoor pot.
– Why Squirrels Dislike It
When the leaves of lemongrass are crushed, they emit a fresh lemony fragrance that drives squirrels away. This fragrance also repels other pests like mosquitoes and wasps, so it’s a valuable addition to your garden. However, you should be careful with this plant because it tends to dry out faster, especially when grown in indoor pots.
6. Yellow Fritillary
Yellow fritillary is a slow-growing fragrant perennial that squirrels don’t like. The plant has bulbous roots that grow fleshy leaves and drooping yellow flowers. These flowers turn to reddish brown only a few days after they bloom, and the plant dies back shortly after this. The bulbs might bloom in their first season only if they’re of a good size. However, most bulbs take two seasons to mature and start flowering.
Fritillaries aren’t that easy to find at local nurseries, and if you want to grow them, you need to make sure that you can provide them with the needed growing requirements. The plant survives in low to mid-elevation locations and prefers rocky to sandy soil. It lives in partial shade and grows in areas where it receives spring rain. However, this plant prefers dry conditions throughout the year.
Peppermint is a natural squirrel deterrent because the strong and cool aroma of the essential oils overwhelms squirrels and makes them uncomfortable. Yet growing this plant will add a refreshing scent to your outdoor area, and you can use the leaves for cooking and medicinal purposes.
Peppermint is pretty easy to maintain, and in summer, it grows little pink flowers. You can make a homemade squirrel repellent by mixing peppermint oil with some pepper and spraying it around vulnerable plants in your garden to protect them from squirrels.
– Plant Care
This plant is highly adaptable and can survive in several soil types. Moist soil will boost its flavor and keep it healthy. Unlike most herbs, this one will tolerate dappled shade. Take note that unless grown with soil barriers or in containers, this plant can become invasive.
Bougainvillea vines can also be grown as shrubs with sometimes variegated leaves and vibrant bracts that come in shades of yellow, purple, pink, and red. These colorful bracts actually hide the plant’s true blooms, which are tiny white flowers. Although this plant has a nice fragrance, this smell will drive squirrels away from your garden. It thrives full sun but withstands some shade and should be watered regularly, especially when the plant is blooming.
– Planting Ideas
The bougainvillea vines are usually grown against walls, trellises, and other structures that support them. However, they can spread like a ground cover without a supporting structure. In this case, they should be kept away from heavily-trafficked areas because they have thorns.
You can also grow them next to the solidago or goldenrod flowers because squirrels won’t like their taste. These plants are sensitive to the cold, so you should consider growing them in indoor pots if you live in a cold climate.
9. Bleeding Heart
Although this plant represents an attractive addition to your landscape, the foliage and the flowers won’t tempt squirrels to munch on them. They also contain alkaloids that make them plants squirrels won’t near. These shade-loving woodland plants grow pink, red, and white flowers that appear in spring and then disappear during summer with intense heat.
They either regrow in the fall or in the following spring. These plants are moderate-growers, reaching their full height only sixty days after being planted. But be careful of where you choose to grow them because they’re toxic to humans and pets.
– Care Tips
This plant is sensitive to heat and is harder to establish in warmer climates. But once established, it will be easy to take care of. It prefers humus-rich well-draining soil and doesn’t tolerate soggy or dry soil. If you already have soil that is rich in organic soil, fertilization won’t be necessary.
These cheerful annuals grow flowers of different single or double-petalled varieties. They come in shades of yellow, orange, and red, and some types can be bi-colored. Squirrels dislike their pungent smell, so planting them will keep your garden free of these rodents.
They’re fast-growing plants that add vibrant colors to your garden within months and bloom nonstop throughout summer. These plants are known to repel different pests like wasps, mosquitoes, and cabbage worms, protecting different plants in your garden.
– Growing Conditions
These plants can grow in any soil as long as it’s not too acidic. They need daily watering, especially in hotter climates, and need full sun exposure to stay healthy. Deadheading will boost blooming throughout summer; however, flowering might decrease in mid-summer. Because they’re resistant to most pests, these flowers are grown next to nearby plants that are usually attacked by squirrels, like tulips and hostas.
Garlic is usually grown from a bulb in the fall to deliver a harvest by spring or summer. However, in warmer climates, it can be planted in spring. You should grow garlic in a sunny spot where the soil is well-draining and loose, as this will allow the bulbs to grow. Don’t grow it in a place where alliums or any onions have been growing for the past three years to avoid competing for nutrients.
– Why Squirrels Dislike It
The pungent aroma of garlic is extremely repulsive to squirrels and other rodents, so they will try to find food away from your garden. This aroma masks other nearby plants, flowers, and vegetables, protecting them from squirrel damage.
Even if you can’t grow garlic in your garden, you can prepare a natural squirrel repellent spray made of pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, and garlic and spray it around your plants to protect them from munching animals.
From a distance, you’ll be able to notice the strong fragrance of these showy flowers. Luckily, squirrels feel different about them because this aroma will be too much for their sensitive noses. These are considered among the easiest-to-grow perennial flower bulbs, but they’re toxic to humans and pets. These plants thrive in well-draining, slightly acidic soil and should be watered regularly, especially if there is no regular rain. They grow in full sun but can tolerate some shade.
– Special Features
The spiky flower stalks grow white, blue, red, pink, and purple tubular flowers that appear in spring. They’re considered deer and squirrel resistant flowers because they contain calcium oxalate, which irritates these animals and will discourage them from considering these plants as food sources. The bulbs are relatively large and should be spaced adequately to allow the roots to spread and establish.
13. Lily of the Valley
Although not a true lily, this flower will be an excellent choice for your garden, especially if you have tall trees that deprive other plants of sunlight. The plant has lily-like foliage, and small fragrant white flowers appear in spring. After that, small orange-red berries appear.
The strong smell of these flowers is very potent for keeping squirrels away from your garden. The plants prefer organically-rich soil with constant moisture and thrive in partial shade.
These plants contain glycosides and saponins, which are toxic to humans, horses, and house pets. These chemicals can cause digestive issues and cardiac symptoms. The attractive berries are fatal if ingested in large amounts, so you should keep the plant away from children and pets. The plant’s rhizomes easily spread and can take over your garden, forming a large colony in no time.
Lantanas are annual flowers that squirrels hate because they don’t taste good. They grow from vine-like branches, with rounded clusters of colored blooms that come in shades of yellow, orange, blue, purple, white, and pink, usually creating a bi-colored effect.
The leaves have a citrusy smell that deters several animals and pests. You can also double its impact by planting it in a pot surrounded by coffee grounds and keeping it close to vulnerable plants that squirrels, deer, and other animals usually attack.
– Planting Ideas
Lantanas can grow as a ground cover or border plant, protecting nearby plants from curious animals. They can also tolerate salty soil, which other plants might not tolerate, and in colder climates, you can grow them in hanging baskets. These plants can become invasive in optimal conditions where they receive constant moisture and full sun.
Ornamental onions’ leaves emit an onion-like smell when crushed, but this plant isn’t edible. Yet, planting it in your garden will be a good idea if you want squirrels to stir away from it. The strong odor from this plant is too much for squirrels to handle, so they won’t feed on nearby plants.
Some alliums grow from rhizomes, although the majority grow from bulbs. They are cold-hardy, deer, and drought-resistant plants. The flowers are usually pom-pom shaped, but some varieties grow star-shaped or cup-shaped flowers. They can be purple, pink, yellow, white, or green, and they typically bloom in spring, but some varieties are fall bloomers.
– Growing Conditions
These plants withstand partial shade but will bloom best when planted in a sunny spot. They prefer slightly acidic soil with some organic matter and don’t need frequent watering. The bulbs usually bloom right after the early spring blooms have faded. In very wet soil, these plants will be prone to bulb rot.
16. Elephant Ears
These beautiful tropical perennials are grown for their outstanding foliage, as the leaves can grow to be three feet tall in the plant’s natural habitat. This plant will be a lot smaller in your garden, but it will still have impressively large leaves.
It rarely flowers, and when it does, it grows yellowish-white flowers that bloom from late spring to early fall. The leaves cause severe mouth irritation to squirrels, so they won’t eat them. This plant is also toxic to pets.
– Plant Care
Elephant ears thrive when they receive a lot of water, so they represent a good choice for boggy soil. They grow in different types of soil but prefer partially acidic soil. Just like most large-leaved plants, these plants are heavy feeders, and applying a nitrogen fertilizer will keep them healthy. However, this plant can deprive native plants of the sun because of its big leaves, so it should be monitored.
Geraniums are flowering perennials that form a large family of different cultivars and hybrids. Most of these plants are low-growing plants with carpet-like foliage and stalks of flowers that float on top of the plants. The flowers are white, pink, purple, or blue, and the blooming time varies according to the species.
These are low-maintenance drought-resistance plants that can tolerate full sun to partial shade. When grown from nursery plants, geraniums can quickly reach their mature size. However, plants started from seed will take a few years to bloom.
– Why Squirrels Stay Away From Them
Geraniums have a special mechanism that protects them from animals and pests by producing volatile phytochemicals. These include different types of alcohols, esters, phenols, and ketones, and their strong smell will keep your garden squirrel-free. They’re also resistant to deer, wasps, mosquitoes, leafhoppers, and other pests.
The epazote is an edible herb that squirrels aren’t fond of, so it won’t attack your garden if you choose to grow it. It has a strong taste and a skunk-like smell that squirrels can detect and really hate. It’s a suitable herb for beginners because it’s easy to grow and take care of. It can withstand many soil types, and once established, it’s drought resistant. However, providing full sun exposure is essential to support its growth.
– Special Features
A lot of people think that epazote smells like gasoline, but those who like it say that the leaves have a citrusy smell. The leaves come in different colors ranging from yellowish green to reddish green, but growing this plant in acidic soil will make the leaves more purplish.
The plant grows small yellow-green flowers from summer to fall, and it contains the ascaridole compound, which inhibits the growth of nearby plants. Only the leaves are edible, but the seeds are toxic to humans and pets.
Catmint is a perennial herb with a strong odor that squirrels and other animals like deer won’t tolerate. It’s an easy-to-grow plant that works for beginners and has delicate, lace-like gray-green foliage. In summer, the plant grows small flowers that come in shades of pink, white, or lavender-blue, and they stay in bloom throughout the season.
It grows well in full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. This plant isn’t picky about the type of soil, but first-year plants need continuous watering.
– Planting Ideas
Different varieties of catmint plants have a sprawling growth habit, so they can be grown as edging plants or along borders and paths. However, some tall types will grow upright, acting like a backdrop for shorter plants in your garden. If you grow a floppy variety, staking might be needed, or you can grow it against a wall to provide some support.
If squirrels represent a constant problem in your garden, feeding on your precious plants and destroying your landscape, you can grow several plant varieties that will keep them away.
- Yellow fritillary is a slow-growing fragrant perennial that squirrels don’t like.
- Epazote has a strong taste and a skunk-like smell that squirrels can detect and will repel them.
- Catmint is a perennial herb with a strong odor that squirrels and other animals like deer won’t tolerate.
- Squirrels are repelled by strong-scented plants that bother their sensitive noses, and some fragrant flowers and herbs produce pungent smells that irritate these animals.
- Some plants contain toxic compounds that push squirrels away, and these animals won’t attack several bulbs and leaves if they don’t taste nice, so they’ll look for food somewhere else.
It’s important to think of humane ways to keep your garden squirrel-free, and with all the varieties our gardening experts suggested, we hope your problem is now solved!
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