We independently select products & services. If you click the links on this page, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Do Squirrels Eat Sunflowers? (10 Ways to Protect Your Plants!)

As a nature lover with years of experience in observing and interacting with squirrels around the world, I understand the curiosity to know whether squirrels eat sunflowers or not. In this blog post, I will answer this question and share tips on how to protect your sunflower plants from these furry creatures, providing you with insights based on reliable research. So, if you’ve been wondering “Do squirrels eat sunflowers?” – stay tuned!

Squirrels do eat sunflowers! They typically eat the seeds, though they will sometimes also munch on other parts of the plant such as leaves and petals. In addition to sunflowers, squirrels may feed on a variety of wild and cultivated plants, nuts, fruits, insects and even scavenged meat.

Do Squirrels Eat Sunflowers?

Squirrels are known for their scavenging habits and can easily wreak havoc in unsuspecting gardens. If you’ve noticed chunks of your sunflower plant missing, it’s possible that squirrels are the culprit behind the destruction! But what do squirrels eat, and how can you protect your sunflowers from their pesky attentions? Read on to find out more about squirrel diet, signs of damage, and ways to keep your plants safe from these furry critters.

Signs Of Squirrels Eating Sunflower Seeds

One way to tell if a squirrel is eating sunflower seeds is by looking closely at the seed heads. A common indication of pre-harvesting activities by squirrels are shells left behind. You may also notice parts of the seeds or shells strewn around the base of your plant.

Another easy way to spot potential squirrel activity is by monitoring the patterns and extent of damage, as well as discerning whether neighboring plants remain untouched. If the destruction is localized to one type of plant, it’s likely that a squirrel could be responsible.

Eating Other Parts Of The Plant

In addition to enjoying sunflower seeds, squirrels may also nibble on other parts of the plant itself—namely leaves and shoots. While they’re not likely to consume an entire leaf or shoot, they might take a bite or two here and there throughout their scavenging endeavors.

If you suspect a rodent may have gnawed on other parts of your sunflower aside from its seeds, then chances are high that a scavenger was involved! Look out for evidence such as cobbled stems or broken leaves. This often means a rodent was making its way up the stem for seed access.

How To Protect Sunflowers From Squirrels?

Play Video

It’s important to safeguard any planted flowers from hungry critters like squirrels. Thankfully, there are plenty of precautionary measures you can take to ward off any unwanted visitors.

1. Remove Debris

The first step in protecting your sunflowers is keeping your garden clean and free from any debris where rodents might hide. This includes trimming trees and removing any fallen leaves or pieces of wood that could act as cover for these creatures while they scour through your flowers.

2. Chicken Wire

Protecting sunflowers from pesky squirrels can be achieved by using chicken wire fencing. Secure the fencing around your sunflower beds and make sure it’s tall enough to keep squirrels out. Chicken wire is durable, easy to install, and has small openings that no critter can get through. Don’t forget to cover any exposed ends of the fence with wire, so there are no gaps for the squirrels to squeeze into!

The Best Squirrel-Proof Barriers

3. Plant Thorny Plants

Thorny plants can be a great deterrent for pesky squirrels! Planting rose bushes, cacti, or other spiky plants around your sunflower patch will help keep the squirrels away. This is an effective and natural way to protect your garden without using any chemicals or repellents.

4. Cheesecloth Or Paper Bag

Protecting your sunflowers from squirrels doesn’t have to be complicated. A great way to protect sunflowers is by covering the flower heads with cheesecloth or paper bags. This helps to keep pesky pests away, and can be removed once the flower has had time to bloom.

5. Hot Seed Spray

The hot seed spray is an effective deterrent that can be used to deter squirrels from your sunflower plants. This spray is made with cayenne pepper, garlic and dish soap that makes the seeds and leaves of the plant unappealing for the rodents. To apply it, you need to fill a garden spray bottle with the mixture and then coat all parts of the sunflower plants – stems, leaves and flowers, as well as areas around them. You may also want to sprinkle some additional chili powder or paprika near the flower bed for added protection.

To make your own hot seed spray, mix together one tablespoon of cayenne pepper, two tablespoons of minced garlic and one tablespoon of liquid dish detergent in one gallon of water. Alternatively, you can purchase ready-made solutions from gardening stores.

6. CDs or Aluminum Pie Pans

If you find that squirrels are still getting close to your sunflowers despite using hot seed sprays, then you may want to try using CDs or aluminum pie pans as an extra layer of protection. The reflective surface will startle the squirrels when they get too close, keeping them away from the plants.

Simply place the reflective materials near your sunflowers, so they appear as moving objects due to light reflections. Make sure to move these items around occasionally so that they don’t lose their effectiveness. You may also want to hang them in trees above your sunflower bed if there’s room.

7. Create A Squirrel Friendly Area

If you want a more humane way of dealing with pests in your yard, creating a ‘squirrel friendly zone’ might be an option. This involves providing alternate sources of food for them in your yard such as vegetables, nuts and fruits, so they won’t be tempted to eat from your sunflowers.

You can also build a simple shelter for them by placing logs, twigs and branches near their feeding area. Not only does this create a safe spot for them, but it also gives them a place to hide during harsh weather conditions.

8. Large Statues

Large statues can be used to scare off squirrels from sunflowers. The presence of the statues may make the squirrels feel they are being watched and thus deter them from approaching the plants. However, it is important to remember that this is not a fool-proof method, as the statues need to be placed strategically and consistently, in order to effectively frighten off the little critters.

9. Motion Activated Sprinklers

Another great way to discourage unwanted visitors is by using motion activated sprinklers in your garden. These motion-sensitive sprinklers emit a sudden burst of water when they detect movement, providing an unpleasant surprise for animals looking for a snack! If you don’t want to invest in one of these devices, you can always rig up a homemade version with some household items.

10. Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices emit sound waves at frequencies beyond our ability to hear that have been shown to be effective at keeping many pests away from gardens. While these devices may work on smaller prey like mice and voles, larger animals such as squirrels tend to be more resistant. However, some homeowners have reported success with ultrasonic devices, so it might still be worth trying out.

The Best Squirrel Repellent

What Do Squirrels Eat?

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers produce delicious and nutritious seeds that are a favorite of squirrels. To protect your plants, try erecting physical barriers like fences, or use repellents with unpleasant smells to deter the rodents. You can also plant onions and chili peppers around your sunflowers to keep them away. For even more protection, establish a regular maintenance routine to check for evidence of scavenging.

Wild Plants

Wild plants can be a tasty treat for squirrels! To protect your garden from the furry creatures, use natural repellents — like onions, garlic, or chili peppers — and establish an effective barrier. Additionally, introducing predatory animals or using motion sensor-activated water sprinklers are both common deterrents. With these strategies in place, you can help ensure that your sunflowers stay safe!

Cultivated Plants

Squirrels are often attracted to cultivated plants like sunflowers and garden vegetables. To prevent damage to your crops, make sure to secure them with fences or other exclusion techniques. The use of repellents and unpleasant smells can also be effective in deterring squirrels from your garden. Onion, garlic, chili peppers, and other strong spices are known to keep squirrels away. Additionally, consider setting up traps or nests to monitor their activity.


What is causing the disappearance of my sunflowers?

If your sunflower plants are being eaten, the most likely culprits are cutworms, wire worms, or sunflower beetles. To protect your plants from these pests, try using baffles to keep them away, or wrapping metal or aluminum foil around the stalks. For rodents that may be a problem while you’re harvesting, ultrasonic sound devices can help to keep them away from your garden.

How can I prevent rodents from entering my sunflowers?

To prevent rodents from accessing your sunflowers, you can use a combination of pest prevention and deterrent methods. To prevent pests like cutworms and wire worms, use baffles or wrap aluminum foil around the stalk. Additionally, try minimizing access points with barriers such as fencing or chicken wire. You can also install ultrasonic sound devices to deter rodents while harvesting.

What can I do to prevent chipmunks from eating my sunflowers?

To keep chipmunks away from your sunflowers, there are several strategies you can try. First, consider using baffles or wrapping metal or aluminum foil around the stalks. Additionally, using ultrasonic sound devices can be an effective way to deter rodents while you’re harvesting. Finally, ensuring proper maintenance of your garden and surrounding areas will help discourage chipmunks from residential close to your sunflowers.

What animals consume sunflower seeds as part of their diet?

Sunflowers provide an array of animals with nutrition and sustenance. Many birds enjoy consuming sunflower seeds, including chickadees, goldfinches, cardinals, and quails. Rodents like mice and squirrels also consume sunflower seeds. Dear, skunks, rabbits, and raccoons are some of the other mammals that snack on the petals or leaves.


In conclusion, yes, do squirrels eat sunflowers. To protect your sunflower plants it is important to take steps to limit access and implement deterrents that discourage these pesky rodents from accessing your garden or crops. You can build fence barriers or sprinkling cayenne pepper powder around the base of the plants as a repellent. Planting sunflowers in raised beds with fences and covers can also offer protection. Keeping bird feeders away from the flowers will also give you extra peace of mind.

Ultimately, do squirrels eat sunflowers? Yes they do! By understanding the behavior of these creatures and implementing measures to protect your plants, you can enjoy beautiful blooms for years to come!

You may also be interested in reading: