How to Keep Squirrels Out of Potted Plants (5+ Proven Tactics to Prevent Damage)

As an experienced nature lover, I’ve observed and interacted with squirrels all around the world. I know how confusing it can be to keep them out of your potted plants. Luckily, there are several tactics that have been proven to work in preventing damage caused by squirrels. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing seven such tactics you can use to keep the pesky critters away from your precious potted plants.

Keeping squirrels away from potted plants can be done in a variety of ways. The most effective methods include creating physical barriers such as fences or enclosures, applying pepper spray around the pots, scattering dog hair in and around the pots, or sprinkling cayenne pepper and coffee grounds.

Prevent Squirrels from Entering Potted Gardens

When it comes to protecting your beloved potted plants from squirrels, the key is to create an environment that makes them want to stay away. And one of the most fool-proof methods of doing so is to use physical barriers, natural and non-natural repellents, or distraction tactics.

1. Fencing

A. Install a Fence to Keep Squirrels Out

One of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your potted plants from digging and destruction is to install a fence around them. Fences come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from wood, plastic, metal mesh or chicken wire. Be sure to secure it securely with nails or staples, as squirrels have been known to escape even through small gaps!

B. Install Electric Fences to Discourage Unwanted Visits

If you don’t fancy building a physical fence around your potted plants, electric fences may be an option for preventing squirrel visits. Although they are believed to be more effective than physical barriers alone, they must be used in conjunction with other deterrents such as loud noises or bright lights.

2. Natural Repellents

A. Sprinkle Coffee Grounds Around the Plants

Coffee grounds release a strong aroma which can act as a natural repellent for keeping squirrels away from your pots. Sprinkling some used grounds on top of soil will mask the smell of whatever seeds you put in there and make it unappealing for any critters looking for an easy meal.

B. Arrange Large Pebbles Around Plants

Using large pebbles surrounding each pot is another great way to keep out those pesky rodents. As well as being aesthetically pleasing for your garden setting, these stones help form an impenetrable barrier which no furry friend will wish to cross.

C. Use Essential Oils to Deter Squirrels

Essential oils can be used to keep pesky squirrels away as well. Try mixing equal parts of peppermint, lemon, and rosemary essential oils with distilled water in a spray bottle. Spray this around your plants to repel the squirrels. Additionally, you can mix lavender and clove oils with water and use it as a spray. This will help disguise the scent of the potted plants, making them less attractive to the furry intruders.

D. Spray Water to Keep Them Away

Scare away squirrels from your potted plants by using a simple water spray. A jet of water can startle them and make them run away. It also helps to surround your plants with a sprinkler or water hoses set in motion when the squirrels approach. To keep the pests away for good, add motion sensors in tandem with the water spray for longer lasting results.

3. Non-Natural Repellents

When it comes to keeping squirrels away from potted plants, non-natural methods can also be employed.

One option is to install an ultrasonic animal repeller. This electronic device emits a noisy signal that the pests cannot stand, and leaves you feeling secure in the knowledge that your plants will not be disturbed. When shopping for a repeller, make sure to read reviews and choose one that works for small animals like squirrels.

A. Install Ultrasonic Sensors

Ultrasonic sensors can be installed to deter squirrels from potted plants. These sensors detect motion and emit a high-frequency sound that is unpleasant for animals, causing them to flee the area. This technology can help protect your plants from potential damage caused by curious critters.

B. Employ Shop-Bought Deterrents

Alternatively, there are many shop bought deterrents available on the market today that can be used to scare away squirrels from potted plants. These include bird feeders filled with nuts, seeds and other treats that draw the critters away from your pots; motion activated sprinklers which emit blasts of water when a furry intruder enters its vicinity; or various sound and visual noise makers. All of these products are humane ways of fending off unwanted guests.

4. Distraction Tactics

If you’d rather not use any physical or electronic products to keep squirrels away, distraction tactics can also be effective. For instance, placing a squirrel feeder full of treats in another part of your garden is likely to convince them to dine elsewhere – just make sure it’s far enough away so they don’t return to your pots later! Other strategies include adding high pitched sounds such as those emitted by wind chimes or shiny objects such as hanging mirrors or foil pie plates to frighten them off.

A. Use Food as a Decoy

Using food as a decoy is an effective way to deter squirrels from potted plants. Try using coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, or blood meal around the base of your pots. These substances have an unpleasant smell and taste that squirrels don’t like, and can serve as a natural deterrent for the critters.

B. Scare Them With Loud Noises or Shiny Objects

Scaring squirrels away from your potted plants can be done in a few different ways. One way is to use loud noises or bright, shiny objects. For instance, you can set up an automated device that produces loud sounds or flashes lights intermittently. The noise and light may startle the squirrels and make them flee the area. You can also hang wind chimes around the plants or dangle reflective Mylar strips from tree branches to scare them away. If nothing else works, try throwing stones in their direction–but be sure to never harm the animals!

C. Add Forks or Sticks as a Warning Signal

In addition, placing natural items like old forks or sticks around the base of your containers might also help ward off unwelcome visitors by providing a warning signal that tells them something has been moved in their territory. This works well for terracotta and ceramic planters since they create more visible boundaries.

5. Plant Types People Consider Squirrels Hate

Not all plants are created equal when it comes to deterring squirrels – there are some varieties which have natural components that repel our furry friends more than others. Bird feeders are especially good at keeping these critters out as they naturally tend to avoid bird species altogether. Also consider planting herbs like lavender and mint which both have strong scents the animals won’t enjoy, as well as peppermint bushes whose strong scent may keep them at bay.


What can I use to prevent squirrels from coming near the ground?

If you’re looking to keep squirrels away from your garden or yard, there are a few methods you can try. Firstly, coffee grounds can be used as an effective deterrent. Alternatively, chicken wire, plastic bird netting and hardware cloth can also be used to create a guarded perimeter around plants. Additionally, mothballs can be sprayed around to deter the critters!

Does using coffee grounds repel squirrels?

Coffee grounds can be an effective way to deter squirrels from your garden or home. When sprinkled around the edge of a garden, coffee grounds can help to create an unpleasant smell which squirrels will want to avoid. Additionally, as squirrels are repelled by the acidic scent, they are likely to stay away from any areas that contain coffee grounds. To maximize effectiveness, spread the grounds regularly and make sure to replace them after rain or heavy wind.

What measures can I take to keep squirrels away from my potted plants?

If you’re trying to protect your potted plants from pesky squirrels, there are a few things you can do. You can start by surrounding the plants with chicken wire, plastic bird netting or hardware cloth to create a cage-like barrier that will act as a deterrent. Additionally, you can sprinkle coffee grounds around the plants as this has been known to repel squirrels. If needed, mothballs sprayed inside and outside your home may also discourage their presence.

What scares ground squirrels?

Ground squirrels are often scared away by certain smells, sounds and visuals. Certain deterrents that may scare off ground squirrels include: the smell of vinegar, human hair or urine, loud noises such as radios or whistles, and motion activated sprinklers with flashing lights.

  • Strong-smelling items like vinegar
  • Human hair or urine
  • Loud noises such as radios or whistles
  • Motion-activated sprinklers with flashing lights

Can vinegar be used to remove ground squirrels from an area?

The short answer is no, vinegar will not rid your home of ground squirrels. While some people may claim it as a viable option, there is not enough evidence to back-up this assertion. A more effective solution might to use some of the useful information listed above – like mothballs or chicken wire, for example – to deter them from entering or living in your space.

Do ground squirrels have a dislike or aversion to mothballs?

Ground squirrels may be deterred by the presence of mothballs, as they are a natural repellent. Mothballs have a strong scent that can be overwhelming to small animals such as ground squirrels. Additionally, when ingested, mothballs can be toxic to wildlife and should only be used as a last resort.


With a little ingenuity and some ground work, we now know there are several ways to prevent squirrels from damaging our precious potted plants. By using physical barriers, pepper spray, dog hair, cayenne pepper or coffee grounds, we have the tools needed to take action in protecting our beloved plants.

We can rest assured knowing that with the help of these methods, we can have peace of mind when it comes to how to keep squirrels out of potted plants.

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