Do Squirrels Eat Calendula

do squirrels eat calendula

Calendula is a popular flowering plant among gardeners everywhere. It is a vibrant, versatile plant that makes your garden look amazing. But do squirrels eat Calendula? 

The short answer is that Calendula is not high on their list. Calendula, like marigolds, repel pests. Instead, they prefer eating sunflowers, tulips, hostas, etc. However, these rodents have learned to adapt to their environment due to deforestation and habitat loss. They will eat plants and flowers they usually don’t eat to survive.  

A squirrel’s natural diet consists mostly of seeds, nuts, insects, fruits, and some small animals like bird eggs and insects. That said, they can cause havoc to garden plants. If something is eating or damaging your Calendula plants, it’s likely not a squirrel. 

The article will cover signs that squirrels may be eating your Calendula, plus tips on protecting the plants from squirrels and other animals. 

Why Squirrels Won’t Eat Calendula?

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a plant that is well-known for its medicinal properties. The plants are often referred to as Marigolds, even though they are different.

Even though the leaves are edible, squirrels likely won’t eat the plant because of the following reasons:

  • Scent: The plant is used for medicinal properties and has a scent similar to green tree sap and medicine. Squirrels tend to be discouraged by strong-smelling plants, which is why some people use it as a pest repellent. 
  • Taste: Calendula flowers have a bitter taste that tends to repel squirrels from eating them. 

That said, squirrels are opportunistic feeders, so it’s important to know the signs to determine what’s eating or damaging your plants. 

Signs That Squirrels Are Damaging Your Daisies 

Squirrels can cause a variety of damage to plants, including:

1. Digging holes: Squirrels dig holes in the soil to bury nuts or acorns. These holes can uproot young plants or damage the roots of established ones.

2. Chewed leaves and flowers: These rodents habitually chew on leaves and flowers, which can affect the plant’s growth and overall health. Squirrels will chew the stems and leaves at the base of the plant. 

3. Half-eaten flowers on the ground: Squirrels are attracted to bright-colored flowers and may nibble on a small piece of the blooming flower before they realize it’s not on the menu. If they don’t like the taste, it’s not unusual for them to drop it on the ground and search for better tasting food. 

4. Nibbled or stolen bulbs: Squirrels may also dig up and nibble or steal the bulbs. It’s not unusual for them to target such plants as tulips and crocuses.

How to Protect Calendula Plants From Squirrels

Squirrels won’t eat your Calendula plants, but they may dig around the soil in search of food cache or dig up the bulbs of other nearby plants. 

Here are some tips to protect your calendula plants and garden. 

Create A Physical Barrier

First and foremost, set up a barrier to protect your daisies. A barrier such as a 3-4 foot high rabbit fence. Opt for a plastic rabbit-proof fence; you won’t have to worry about rust.

Bury it at least 10 inches deep in the ground, and extend it out a few inches so the squirrel can’t dig underneath it.

Plant Them Closer to Your House

Squirrels are cautious by nature because they have tons of predators. One of the best ways to keep squirrels away from your plants is to move your garden closer to your house. 

Squirrels are easily alarmed by human presence and likely won’t damage the plants when the garden is close to a deck, window, or somewhere there is a lot of traffic. 

Remove Attractants

For repellents to work, you also need to remove anything that is attracting the squirrels to your yard in the first place. This means removing any sources of food and water.

Clean up any fallen fruit or nuts, as these will attract rodents. Be sure to empty bird feeders as they will eat the bird seed. 

If you have a pet, don’t leave their food out, as it will attract the squirrels.

Lastly, seal up any holes or cracks around your home, as this will give them access to your yard.

Large Statues

Owl statues have been known to deter squirrels from gardens since owls prey on rodents. That said, you’ll have to move the decoy around every few days, as the squirrels will catch on that it’s not real.

Use Garlic Spray

Squirrels don’t like the smell or taste of garlic. You can make your own garlic spray by mixing water, vinegar, and minced garlic. Let it sit for a few days, no less than 24 hours.

Spray the mixture on your plants and around the perimeter of your yard. Be sure to reapply every few days or after it rains.

Before spraying the ground around the plants, give them a good drink of water to prevent the roots and leaves from burning.

Garlic is good for deterring squirrels and other animals and protects plants from bugs such as snails and ants and fungal diseases such as blackspot. 

So, even if you don’t have a squirrel problem, consider using garlic spray as an environmentally friendly way to protect your wooflowers.

Get A Dog or Cat

Dogs and cats keep squirrels from entering your yard or garden just by being outside. The rodents are naturally wary of predators, given the reason they run when they see you approaching the garden. 

When a squirrel sees or smells the scent of a dog or cat, it will bother someone else’s garden instead of entering yours. 

In addition, cats and dogs have a natural instinct to chase and kill them. This technique keeps squirrels, rats, and mice at bay.  

Irish Spring Soap

Irish Spring soap is a well-known effect deterrent for keeping squirrels, deer, and other animals away from fruits, vegetables, and plants. The soap has a strong scent that will keep the animals away.

Shave a soap bar into smaller pieces using a cheese grater. 

Then, sprinkle the soap shavings around the plants you want to protect. The scent will last several days, and you’ll need to reapply it after it rains.

You can also place bars of soap around the perimeter of your garden. 

Pierce a hole through the bar of soap and hang it on a wooden pole or post using a piece of rope.

This will create a barrier that squirrels and other animals won’t want to cross. You don’t have to worry, as the plant won’t hurt your plants or edibles.

This method is also effective for keeping deer away from your garden.

Animals and Insects That Eat Calendula?

There aren’t a lot of animals that will eat Calendula because of the type of plant it is. If something is damaging your plants, it’s likely insects such as;

  • Whiteflies
  • Thrips
  • Aphids
  • Slugs

What Is Calendula?

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is a herbaceous plant in the daisy family, Asteraceae. The plants are native to western Europe, Southwestern Asia, and the Mediterranean. They have orange and yellow flowers.

The plants have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties used to treat skin irritations such as; rashes, insect bites, acne, and other skin conditions.

Final Word

While squirrels are usually the culprit for eating and damaging plants, they don’t usually eat Calendula. They tend to avoid the plant because of the bitter taste. 

If you have an unusual squirrel attracted to your plants, use the tips above to protect your Calendulas. 

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