Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs and many people love planting it in their garden. However, many animals and pests including squirrels love eating this herb. So what can you do to protect your garden from these pests? Well, keep reading.
Squirrels love eating cilantro because it contains Vitamins A, C, and K, and tastes great. The herb contains calcium, potassium, folate, and other minerals that helps provide a balanced diet. Cilantro isn’t one of their favorite herbs, but these opportunistic rodents will eat it if it’s available.
What Is Cilantro?
Cilantro (also known as coriander) is an annual herb that belongs to the carrot family. It’s an aromatic plant with a unique, pungent aroma and flavor.
Its leaves are used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Cilantro leaves are often added to salads, soups, sauces, and other dishes for a fresh, spicy flavor.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Cilantro?
The biggest reason squirrels will invade your cilantro is if they don’t have anything else to eat. As mentioned, it’s not their favorite herb and it has a pungent, peppery taste they may not like.
Not all squirrels will eat the herb. It depends on the individual, but most of them will scavenge for food when it’s readily available.
Are Cilantro Plants Dangerous To Squirrels?
No, unless you’ve used some type of pesticide in your flower garden, they are not toxic to squirrels. That being said, squirrels have a great sense of smell, so they most likely won’t mess with the plants that have pesticides on it.
Their sense of smell makes it easy for them to smell food they’ve buried under a foot of snow.
Do Squirrels Eat Cilantro Seeds?
Squirrels love eating sunflower seeds, and other types of seeds. They may be drawn to your cilantro seeds, and you may find them trying to dig them up, if they don’t have access to any other food.
If they dig up the seeds, it will make it difficult for the cilantro to continue growing. So, you’ll need to take some steps to prevent this from happening.
Is Cilantro Dangerous for Squirrels?
Cilantro is not toxic to squirrels, but can make them sick if they eat too much. That said, squirrels won’t overeat if they find it in your garden. If you’re feeding it to your pet squirrel, do so in moderation.
Otherwise it can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting, upset tummy, diarrhea, and more.
Can Baby Squirrels Eat Cilantro?
Baby squirrels less than six weeks of age needs a good milk replacer to ensure they get all the nutrients their bodies need. Those older than a year, won’t have any issues eating the herb.
However, a baby squirrel’s digestive system isn’t the same as that of an adult. If you’re feeding a young squirrel cilantro, make sure you monitor them closely and avoid feeding them too much.
What Animals Eat Cilantro?
If you notice something is eating your cilantro leaves, it’s not always the squirrels. Aphids are garden pests and love eating cilantro leaves. Here’s how to tell if it’s aphids or squirrels eating your plants.
If you notice yellowing, curling and stunted leaves, it’s likely aphids raiding your plants. As mentioned above squirrels will eat the plants, seeds and bulbs of a plant.
Other animals that love eating cilantro are birds, snails, rabbits, slugs, and snails.
How To Keep Squirrels From Eating Cilantro?
To prevent squirrels from eating your cilantro plants, create a galvanized poultry wire cage over the plants, use blood meal for newly planted bulbs, and create an easier food source for them.
If you live in an area with a lot of trees, the best way to keep them away from your garden is to create an area for them to eat. Below are some more tips to protect your cilantro from these pests.
These tips can help you deter them using humane methods.
Just remember, squirrels are persistent little critters and it’s going to take some time to get them to stop harassing your flowers.
Cage the Plants
One of the best ways to protect your plants from squirrels and other critters is to create a cylindrical fence out of chicken wire. You’ll want to create a cage around the hibiscus plants to ensure they are properly protected.
You’ll want to place some wood or metal stakes and place them 4-6 inches away from the plant, so they won’t harm the roots. If you put them too close to the plants, the squirrels may be able to stick their paw in the cage and pull out a flower.
Wrap the chicken wire around the posts to form a cage. You may also want to create a screen door, that will allow you to enter the cage to care for your plants.
Don’t forget to enclose the top of the cage, otherwise, the squirrels will climb the fence and access the plants from the top. They are excellent climbers and jumpers.
Take The Containers Inside
If your cilantro plants are in containers, the easiest thing to do is to take them inside. You can either bring them out every morning and put them on a deck that squirrels won’t climb because their are always people on it.
Or you can leave them inside and just place the plant near a window that gets good sun.
When your plants are in the house, you don’t have anything to worry about, unless you have squirrels in your house.
Squirrels have a great sense of smell, which helps keep them safe from predators. Bloodmeal is a waste product of slaughterhouses that is used as a natural fertilizer. The smell has been proven to keep moles, squirrels, and deer away.
These animals can’t stand the strong smells of ammonia and nitrogen.
When choosing bloodmeal, opt for the organic type as it is the least toxic variety for your plants.
It’s a great way to keep squirrels away while fertilizing your plants while providing them sufficient nitrogen, other nutrients your plants require.
Spread four ounces of bloodmeal per square yard of soil or follow the instructions on the back of the bag.
You can purchase bloodmeal at a nursery, or home improvement store that has a gardening section.
Plant Among Thorny Plants
You can try plants that have sharp thorns to prevent squirrels from getting to your hibiscus plants. For instance, roses have sharp thorns and can help protect your hibiscus plants from critters.
Other plants with thorns you can consider planting are firethorns, honey locus, bougainvillea, Barbary fig and etc. Make sure you do your due diligence to make sure those plants won’t attack your hibiscus plants.
You can also plant some of the plants that naturally repel squirrels.
After you’ve depleted all the options above, you may want to just consider creating a squirrel friendly area in your yard. Choose an area away from your cilantro plants and veggies, so the squirrels won’t be tempted to stray.
You can either buy or make a squirrel feeder and fill it with some of the best food for squirrels we rounded up on our recommended products page.
It may take a while, but once the squirrels realize they have their own place, there’s a good chance that they will leave your cilantro plants alone.
Before you know it, you won’t mind having the squirrels visit your backyard!
Squirrels aren’t the only animal that eats cilantro. If squirrels are eating the herbs, you’ll notice that the plant is completely gone or pieces of it are in the dirt. These pests will also dig up spring bulbs and seeds to snack on them.
Unfortunately, many animals, bugs, and pests love fresh cilantro, so watch your garden closely to see what’s eating your plants. Then use the tips above to deter animals from snacking your herbs.
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