Do Squirrels Eat Celosia? [How To Prevent It?]

do squirrels eat celosia

If something is digging, eating, or damaging your Celosia plants, you’re likely wondering if squirrels eat them. It’s no secret that squirrels are opportunistic feeders that eat almost anything when food is scarce, but do they eat Celosia plants? 

Do Squirrels Eat Celosia Plants?

Squirrels don’t usually eat Celosia plants; their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and berries. When food is scarce, they will eat plant bulbs and blossoms. If something is eating your celosia plants, it’s likely deer, rabbits, or insects that thrive on these plants. 

With over 60 different species of Celosia, it’s possible that tree or ground squirrels may be eating or damaging them. Let’s take a closer look at why squirrels may or may not eat these plants, what signs to look for, and how to prevent it. 

But first, let’s take a closer look at the plants. 

What Are Celosia Plants?

Celosia plants, also known as wooflowers or cockscombs and are popular among homeowners because of their bright, vibrant colors. They are members of the Amaranth family and are native to Africa, North and South America. 

The most popular types among gardeners are:

  • Celosia Plumosa
  • Crested Coxcomb
  • Wheat Celosia (Celosia Spicata)
  • Silver’s Cockscomb (Celosia Argentea)
  • Celosia Floribunda

As mentioned, squirrels won’t go out of their way to eat these plants as they prefer sunflowers, hibiscus, tomatoes, etc. 

However, it’s not unusual for squirrels to damage plants by digging holes in the soil to bury nuts or acorns, which can uproot young plants or damage the roots of established ones.

So let’s look closer at the signs of squirrel damage to plants. 

Signs That Squirrels Are Damaging Your Celososia Plants

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.

Are Celosia Plants Toxic To Squirrels?

protect your celosia plants from animals

Celosia plants are not toxic to squirrels or other animals. These plants have a nutritional value that compares well to other leafy greens because they contain essential vitamins and minerals essential for survival. 

Squirrels aren’t likely to eat the celosia plants in your garden, but they can damage them by using them to hide or build food caches.

How to Stop Squirrels From Eating Celosia?

Like humans, squirrels have to eat. However, it doesn’t mean that they have to eat your celosia plants to cause damage to them.

Below are some tips for keeping squirrels away from your celosia plants using humane tactics.

Create A Physical Barrier

First and foremost, set up a barrier to protect your celosia plants. 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.

Use A Repellent

There are several commercial repellents available that you can use to keep squirrels away from your plants. Some contain capsaicin, an irritant to animals (and humans). 

You can also make your own DIY repellent by mixing water, hot pepper flakes, and dish soap.

Spray the mixture on the leaves of the plants, as well as around the base. Be sure to reapply after it rains or whenever you notice the squirrels coming back.

Citrus Oils

Buy and use orange, lemon, and grapefruit oil to keep squirrels away from your plants. These oils have a strong scent that repels rodents. 

Mix a few drops of oil with water in a spray bottle and spray the mixture around the base of the plants. This will create a protection barrier for your plants. 

This method works great for keeping squirrels away but can be harmful to plants. The best way to test whether it’s harmful to your plant, spot test a small area. 

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.

Unappealing Plants

Believe it or not, there are plants that squirrels hate. Consider planting some next to your celosia plants or bushes to keep them away. 

Some examples include Daffodils, Marigolds, Alliums, Lily of the Valley, etc.

I’ve written an article on plants squirrels hate, so check it out. I have no doubt you’ll find something that will work for you.

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 not only good for deterring squirrels and other animals, but it also protects the plants from bugs such as snails and ants, and fungal diseases such as blackspot. 

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

Get A Feeder for the Squirrels

If you’ve tried everything you know to do, maybe it’s time to set up a squirrel feeder. This will give the rodents a food source that isn’t your celosia plants. 

Set the feeder away from the bushes and home, as you don’t want to attract more critters to your property.

Animals and Insects That Eat Celosia

If something is eating or damaging your Celosia plants, it’s likely not squirrels. It’s likely one of the following:

  • Rabbits 
  • Deer
  • Caterpillars
  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids

If there are holes in the Celosia leaves, it’s likely an insect or disease. Rabbits and deer eat the Celosia’s edible leaves because they taste like spinach. 

Final Word

Rabbits, deer, and insects are usually the culprits that eat celosia plants. Celosia plants are not high on a squirrel’s menu; they prefer vegetables, nuts, birdseed, fruit, and small berries. 

They will eat some plants if the other food sources are scarce. Regardless of what’s eating your plants, the measures above will help you protect them from deer and rabbits. 

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