How to Keep Squirrels Out of Flower Pots (8 Tips)

After taking the time to prepare potted plants or grow your flowers, the last thing you need is a squirrel coming around and messing it all up. They may look adorable, but squirrels can be a big nuisance when they bury their food, dig up bulbs, or chew on tender plants. Knowing how to keep squirrels out of flower pots and other things around your patio or deck, can ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Here are 8 ways to deter these animals from wreaking havoc in your garden.

How to keep squirrels out of flower pots – 8 tips

1. Plant squirrel-repelling flowers

Crocus and Snowdrops
Crocus and Snowdrops | image by Bernhard Friess via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

There are some plants where squirrels naturally dislike the smell of and can be used as a repellent in your garden. Plant these flowers in between or near the plants you want to protect to keep squirrels away from the area. These include:

  • Scented marigolds
  • Snow crocus
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Daffodils
  • Kaiser’s crown
  • Jonquils
  • Mint

If you need a quick remedy as you wait for these repellent flowers grow, try using a peppermint oil spray on your soil in the meantime.

2. Fertilize using bone meal

Another scent squirrels dislike is bone meal. This organic fertilizer made from ground-up bones is also beneficial for your flowers, as long as you don’t add too much.

Luckily you just need to sprinkle a little bit on top of the soil. Don’t mix it up into the soil since you want the squirrels to smell it right away and not even attempt to dig.

3. Cover your soil with a barrier

White picket fence
Image by Peter Brown from Pixabay

To prevent squirrels from digging in the soft soil, you can cover it with a barrier that squirrels can’t get through. For example, place flat rocks, pottery pieces, or wire mesh on the soil.

Make sure rocks are heavy enough where the squirrels can’t lift it and you bury wire mesh around 6 inches deep.

4. Add barriers covering your flowers

Yard Barrier
Yard Barrier by Kerryanna Kershner from Pixabay

Some squirrels will also eat your young plants, so you’ll want to keep them away from more than just the soil. Using this barrier method can also be a temporary strategy while you wait for your other methods to take effect.

Some plant barrier ideas include:

  • Wire farm baskets for low-growing plants
  • Draping a mesh screening over tall plants
  • Planting your flowers in birdcages where the bottom is removed
  • Using a floating row cover
  • Adding a chicken wire cage around your plant

5. Use your pet’s fur

This method only works if you are a dog owner or know someone who is. Collect some of your dog’s fur after you groom them or collect it from your vacuum cleaner. Simply sprinkle the fur onto the soil around the plants you want to protect.

Squirrels will pick up the scent of your dog and keep a distance assuming a predator is nearby. For the same reason, you can also encourage your pets to urine near your plants so their scent scares squirrels away.

6. Use a homemade repellent

Cayenne Pepper on a clear bowl
Cayenne Pepper on a clear bowl | image by Alabama Extension via Flickr

While there are commercial squirrel repellants you can purchase, you can also make your own homemade remedies. You can sprinkle some cayenne pepper or black pepper on the soil.

The strong smell and spiciness of the cayenne peppers on their paws will discourage them from interacting with your flowers further. Another squirrel repellant is coffee grounds. They dislike the smell, so you just have to sprinkle the grounds on the soil surrounding your plants.

You can also make a simple spray with:

  • A bottle of water
  • A tablespoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • A drop of dish detergent

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and lightly spray the soil with this mixture. Make sure to reapply your home remedy frequently so it doesn’t wear off, especially after it rains.

7. Install an ultrasonic device

If you don’t have any pets, consider using an ultrasonic squirrel repellent device like this one. This device produces a high-pitched sound that squirrels can hear but is outside the range of humans. The noise will irritate them and encourage them to leave your garden and flowers alone.

There are waterproof ultrasonic repellents with motion detectors that you can easily install outdoors using multiple mounting options. You can also get devices that emit sounds continuously.

However, since other animals like cats and dogs can hear this sound, you probably won’t want to use this option if you or your neighbors have pets.

8. Tidy your outdoor space

Woman florist gardener in the backyard
Woman florist gardener in the backyard | image by Mariakray via Pixabay

Another way to keep away squirrels is to make sure your yard doesn’t have anything to attract them initially to your outdoor area. Squirrels like the smell of food in your yard so make sure to seal your trash cans tightly and clean your grill immediately after you use it. Also, remove any berries, acorns, or nuts that have fallen and are their food source.

To discourage squirrels from creating nests in your trees or entering your garden through tree branches, make sure to trim your tree branches regularly. You can also install a piece of sheet metal on tree trunks around 4 feet above the ground to deter them from climbing.

You can also add squirrel baffles to your bird feeders to prevent squirrels from entering your garden after first being attracted to the bird seeds. The baffles prevent squirrels from climbing up a feeder or jumping down onto one.