How to Keep Squirrel Out of Potted Plants

Have you started noticing little holes popping up in your potted plants recently? If so, chances are you’ve got an uninvited squirrel guest munching on your greenery, and you must be wondering how to keep squirrels out of potted plants.

While squirrels can be cute to watch from a distance, having them raid your patio pots and planters is not ideal. Try some of these natural squirrel-repellent solutions before you resort to messy netting or costly fencing.

They’ll help make your potted plants less appealing to squirrels in a safe, humane way. And the best part is that most of these remedies use ingredients you already have.

Why Squirrels Damage Potted Plants

Squirrels love chomping on potted plants, don’t they?

It’s not their fault – they’re just looking for food to store for winter. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you discover your petunias shredded to bits.

Why Squirrels Target Potted Plants

Squirrels target potted plants for a few reasons:


Potted plants are easy targets since they’re isolated and often lack protective barriers like fences. Squirrels can access them without fear of predators.


The loose, nutrient-rich soil used in planters is perfect for burying nuts and acorns. Squirrels instinctively dig in soft, cultivated soil.


Potted plants’ leaves, stems, and flowers provide nesting material for squirrels. They’ll gnaw plants to gather supplies for building dreys (squirrel nests).


Planters provide a ready water source for thirsty squirrels, especially in hot or dry weather. They’ll chew on plants to access the moisture in the soil.


Some potted plants produce edible blooms, seeds, roots, and shoots that supplement a squirrel’s diet. They stumble upon a food source and keep coming back for more.

The good news is there are humane ways to deter squirrels from targeting your potted plants.

Fencing, netting, and repellents can make your garden less inviting, so these furry friends move on to other feeding grounds.

You can have a squirrel-free sanctuary for your potted plants with some persistence.

Natural Squirrel Repellents for Potted Plants

Natural repellents provide a humane method to deter squirrels from your potted plants.

If you’ve also been contending with dust mites on your plants, consider trying this fantastic homemade natural spray.

Here are some DIY solutions to try:

Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds contain compounds that squirrels dislike, plus the strong smell deters them. Place a few handfuls of fresh grounds in and around your planters.

You’ll need to reapply after rain, but it’s an easy, inexpensive option.

Cayenne Pepper

The burning sensation of cayenne pepper irritates squirrels’ mouths and noses.

Make a spray by mixing three tablespoons of cayenne pepper, 1 quart of water, and a few drops of dish soap. Spray it directly on plants, especially on new growth.

The soap helps the spray stick to the leaves. Reapply every few days or after rain.

Predator Urine

The scent of predators like dogs, coyotes, or foxes frightens squirrels.

You can purchase predator urine from gardening stores or online and apply it around the planter. The smell deters squirrels for up to 2-4 weeks before needing a reapplication.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Place motion-activated sprinklers with a wide range around your potted plants.

When squirrels go near the planter, the sprinkler detects motion and releases a short burst of water to scare them away. Squirrels dislike the surprise spray and will avoid the area.

You may need to move the sprinklers to different locations every few days to maximize effectiveness.

With some experimenting, you’ll find a natural squirrel-repellent solution that works for your potted paradise so you can enjoy your garden in peace.

Preventative Measures to Keep Squirrels Away From Potted Plants

The most effective way to deter squirrels from potted plants is to make your garden as uninviting as possible using natural repellents and barriers.

Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Place motion-activated sprinklers around the perimeter of potted plants.

The sudden burst of water will startle squirrels and deter them from entering the area. You can also manually spray squirrels with a hose when you see them approaching plants.

Repeat this a few times, and they’ll learn to avoid the area.

Apply Natural Repellents

Apply natural essential oils that squirrels dislike, such as eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, or citrus.

You can spray these oils directly onto plants and soil or soak cotton balls in the oils and place them around the planters. Reapply the oils every few days after rain.

The pungent smell will deter squirrels without harming your plants.

Set up Barriers

Place bird netting, fencing, or wire mesh over and around planters to physically block squirrels.

Bury the bottom edge a few inches into the soil so squirrels cannot get underneath. You can also try placing thorny branches, double-sided tape, or wire around the planter.

The unpleasant texture will deter squirrels from climbing on or chewing through to access the plant.

Remove Food Sources and Shelter

Clear your yard of anything that may attract squirrels, like open compost bins, uneaten pet food, brush piles, or unharvested fruit from trees.

Remove potential nesting spots like openings or cracks leading into attics, basements, sheds, or garages.

By eliminating access to food, water, and shelter around your property, squirrels will be less inclined to stick around and damage your potted plants.

With an integrated approach using multiple deterrents, you can humanely keep squirrels out of your potted plants.

Be consistent and patient, as squirrels can take weeks or months of diligent effort to give up and move on.

But by making your garden as unappealing as possible to the furry critters, you’ll be able to enjoy your potted plants squirrel-free.


And there you have some natural solutions to keep those pesky squirrels out of your potted plants this season.

Now, you can rest easy knowing your beautiful blooms and veggies will be safe from furry little thieves. Give these repellent ideas a shot and see what works in your garden.

You may need to rotate between a few methods to drive them away for good.

The effort will be worth it once you see your plants flourishing and untouched. Happy gardening!

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