I remember being devastated one spring when, as a new homeowner and a new gardener, I found all my carefully planted tulip bulbs unearthed and eaten. Squirrels were the culprits. Those furry, chattering creatures were not content with the plentiful supply of acorns from nearby trees, and they went after my new bulbs instead.
Squirrels certainly can be a nuisance to the gardener. They are avid foragers. In fact, they spend most of their time gathering food and either eating it or storing it for the future.
Squirrels are also quite persistent and will dig holes and chew through almost anything that gets in the way of their pursuit of a tasty meal. Instead of nibbling on flowers or shoots as deer and rabbits do, squirrels will dig down to pull up and devour bulbs.
However, there are some bulb plants and other plants that squirrels usually avoid. Here are seven garden plants that repel squirrels.
Daffodils and other members of the Narcissi family can deter not only squirrels but also deer and rabbits. Squirrels do not like their taste or their smell.
Although I am a fan of the bright sunny yellow daffodil, these blooms come in orange, white and combinations of bright colors as well. Daffodils are hardy in a range of climates. They are lovely border plants and can provide an early spring burst of color between your shrubs or around your trees.
Squirrels also are not fond of alliums, which are relatives of the onion family. The ornamental varieties of these plants have large, round flowers that come in white, purple, pink, yellow and blue. Edible alliums include garlic, scallions and onions. These varieties produce a strong odor that repels squirrels. Alliums are hardy perennials in many climates.
In addition to the interesting colors and patterns of their blooms, fritillaries, which are part of the Liliaceae family, have a strong scent that squirrels avoid. Fritillaries are hardy in zones 5 through 9.
These plants do well in rock gardens or as border plantings. Look for Fritillaria meleagris, which has single or double blooms in a checkboard maroon and or a red-purple or red-white pattern.
The strong scent from Galanthus bulbs may keep squirrels from foraging in your garden. There are many species of Galanthus, including perennial bulb varieties that bloom from spring well into fall.
The giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) variety has large statement flowers that add drama to your garden.
Although I love the deep blue hyacinths best, these plants come in many shades of reds, purples and whites, too. These spring-flowering bulbs look impressive when planted in groups of 10 or more plants.
Hyacinths have fragrant flowers that bloom in dense clusters, and squirrels do not like them.
What’s great about these pretty plants is that they can thrive in shady areas of your garden. The plant stems are covered with dainty bell-shaped flowers that have a strong scent that squirrels dislike, as well as bright green, sword-shaped leaves.
These plants are easy to grow and they thrive as perennials in many zones.
I know I can count on geraniums to withstand cool temperatures of spring and fall as well as plenty of hot sun in the summer. In addition, these workhorses of the flower garden have a scent that repels squirrels.
Geraniums like moist, well-drained soil. Pinch spent blooms for more color.
In conclusion, it’s a good idea to think with your nose when trying to keep squirrels away from your garden. You also might want to try sprinkling hot spices, such as chili powder or cayenne pepper, around areas they frequent in your flower or vegetable beds.
Peppermint is another natural squirrel repellent. You can plant peppermint plants or spray a mist of water with a few drops of pure peppermint oil added to it.
How do you keep squirrels out of your garden? Share your tips in the section below: