7 Ways on How to Keep Squirrels Out of Potted Plants

How many times have you gone outside to tend to your plant pots, only to find your garden in mayhem with pots knocked over and the plants uprooted?

Needless to say, squirrels are clever critters that make life difficult for gardeners, especially during the beginning of spring.

The worst part is, not only do they remove your beloved planting bulbs, but they also bury their own food supply, such as whole peanuts and acorns, into the pots.

Moreover, some of them even turn your pots into their litter box, the audacity!

So, do you want to learn how to keep squirrels out of potted plants without without hurting them or your yard?

Read further in this post for seven techniques to keep squirrels from digging up your garden, along with quick tips on common questions on each method.

Let’s get started.

Related post: How to Get Rid of Ants in Potted Plants

Ideas How To Keep Squirrels Out Of Potted Plants That Work

Let’s face it, no matter how much we hate squirrels digging into our gardens; we can’t bring ourselves to kill these furry creatures.

Besides that, using mainstream pesticides to kill ground squirrels might lead to the gradual degradation of your flower pots.

That’s why preparing a natural squirrel repellent is one of the ideal ways to keep squirrels out without harming them or damaging your flower pots.

Method 1 – Prepare A Natural Squirrel Repellent

You’ll be surprised to know that natural repellents such as ground cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, peppermint oil, garlic, and pepper flakes are ideal to chase squirrels out.

natural way to keep squirrels out of potted plantsPin

Use these ingredients to create a customized repellent spray. It won’t kill the squirrels but only create a putrid smell that will chase them away.

Start by adding some black pepper, cayenne pepper, chopped onion, and jalapeno into the container and bring it to boil.

After this hot pepper sauce is done cooking, strain it using a cheesecloth and store it in a spray bottle. Now, spray it around your flower pots to stop squirrels from damaging them.

Remember to be cautious while using the mixture as it can irritate your skin and eyes as well.

Method 2 – Use Blood Meal or Other Food Products

A dried blood meal or bone meal is an excellent fertilizer and a productive deterrent for animals and pests.

You can combine it with your potting mix and fill it in your flower pot.

It will help your potted plants grow well while keeping your squirrel problem at bay.

Besides that, you can add other natural substances to your container plants to provide a natural food supply and repel squirrels.

These include coffee grounds, sunflower seeds, human hair, peanut butter, and mothballs. Their strong smell will keep squirrels away and promote healthy growth in your plants.

Also, these substances work to keep other types of pests away as well.

We’ve used this particular blood meal fertilizer in our own garden. It’s a fantastic fertilizer and we haven’t seen any pests in our garden!

Burpee Organic Blood Meal Fertilizer | Add to Potting Soil | Excellent Natural Source of...
  • GROW STRONGER PLANTS: Blood meal is an effective starter fertilizer and...
  • ORGANIC GARDENING HELPER: Our blood meal fertilizer is OMRI Listed for...
  • SUPPORTS SOIL HEALTH: Burpee Blood Meal 12-0-0 formulation is a...

Method 3 – Set Up Bird Feeders

Squirrels love container plants but absolutely hate birds. So all you have to do is set up bird feeders in your vegetable garden to prevent squirrels from digging holes in your pots.

You don’t have to invest in an expensive bird feeder to fulfill your purpose.

Instead, place an aluminum foil container with bird food and let them come by to repel squirrels.

You can even keep birds as pets in your garden, as bird eggs can scare off squirrels as well.

Thought the birds will scare off the squirrels, the bird food will attract the squirrels.

Just make sure you place the bird feeder at least 10 feet away from fences or trees where a squirrel may jump onto the feed itself.

Don’t have the time or skills to build your own bird feeder – we certainly aren’t handy enough. We just bought this bird feeder and it’s been awesome to watch how many birds it attracts.

Twinkle Star Wild Bird Feeder Hanging for Garden Yard Outside Decoration, Hexagon Shaped...
  • GREEN PLASTIC CLASSIC BIRD FEEDER: Designed to attract birds outdoors, this...
  • CONSIDERATE DESIGN: Assembled and ready to hang, this bird feeder features...
  • LARGE CAPACITY: With a 2.15 lb seed capacity, this cardinal bird feeder...

Method 4 – Prevent Digging By Layering Rocks

someone adding rocks into the potted plantPin

Another way to keep squirrels and other critters out of your garden is by creating some physical barriers in your pots.

For example, try layering rocks over your potting soil to stop them from digging holes in your flower pots.

However, rocks can get quite hot and damage your plants during summer, so search for an alternative when the season changes.

Method 5 – Decorate Your Garden!

It might sound astounding, but decorating your garden can actually help in keeping squirrels away.

Shiny objects and other decorative items generally work to scare squirrels off.

You can hang objects like colorful pinwheels and spinners or even use old CDs and aluminum pans to chase pests away.

This will prevent squirrels from entering your garden during daylight hours.

This garden or lawn wind spinner wheel is not only good looking but it completely scares off pesky pests. A couple of our neighbors have similar wind spinners and they look great in their yard.

Method 6 – Construct A Protective Cage Using Chicken Wire

Laying chicken wire or wire mesh across your garden is an effective way to stop new squirrels from entering your backyard.

You can either cover your pots or construct a cage using chicken wire or bird netting and place it in the surrounding soil of your plants.

This way, even if squirrels have already buried their food supply in your plants, they won’t find a way to come back for it.

You can even set up wire baskets in your backyard to trap the little pests if they come by.

If you’re looking for some chicken wire, then start with this brand of chicken wire. No need to go fancy on this.

Method 7 – Turn Extra Plant Stems Into Organic Fencing

beautiful rose fencingPin

If you don’t like the idea of placing wire mesh around your plants, you can create organic barriers in your backyard using plant stems.

Especially if you have rose or blueberry bushes, remove some thorny stems and poke them into the soil around your plants.

You can even use other sharp objects like plastic forks and bamboo skewers.

This way, even if the squirrels come in, they won’t be able to dig into your soil.

Related post: 14 Amazing Indoor and Outdoor Plants that Repel Flies Naturally


What Do Squirrels Hate The Most?

Squirrels hate a lot of substances that you can add to your pot soil and keep them away.

These include sharp scents of spices like black pepper and cayenne pepper. Besides that, they also hate the sweet smell of peppermint and the putrid scent of garlic.

Do Coffee Grounds And Cayenne Pepper Keep Squirrels Away?

Yes, coffee grounds and cayenne pepper are effective in keeping squirrels away.

You can mix them in your potting soil or place them around your plant bulbs.
Due to the smell, squirrels will keep away from your plants without hurting themselves.

How To Make Homemade Squirrel Repellent?

Making homemade squirrel repellent is quite easy. All you have to do is create a mixture of hot sauce and dish soap combined with water.

Then, store it in a spray bottle and sprinkle it around your plants.

This mixture won’t harm the squirrel or chipmunks and will chase them away from your flowers and plants.


That concludes our list of ways to discourage squirrels from damaging your potted plants.

Of course, if your plants are already infested, you can take drastic measures and use wire fences or place pointed objects to drive them out.

Remember, they not only take away your beloved planting bulbs, but they also hide and bury their own food supply, right inside the pots.

However, if you want to protect your potted plants without harming the little furry creatures, you can go for options like natural repellents and bird feeders to scare them away.

Whichever method you choose, make sure to apply caution to avoid damaging your eyes or skin while setting up barriers.

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