Do Squirrels Eat Hollyhocks [Signs to Look For & Protection Tips]

do squirrels eat hollyhocks

Growing a beautiful plant garden is hard work. It can take hours of planning and then more physical labor to get everything right. But, if something is eating your hollyhocks, it can feel like all that work is for nothing. So, do squirrels eat hollyhocks?

Do Squirrels Eat Hollyhocks?

The short answer is yes. Both red and grey squirrels are notorious for feasting on garden seedlings, flowers, trees, and leaves. Hollyhocks are not poisonous to humans or animals, making them vulnerable to animals and pests. A squirrel’s diet consists primarily of insects, fruits, seeds, nuts, etc. However, these opportunistic feeders will eat hollyhocks when there is nothing else for them to eat.

If something is eating the hollyhocks in your garden, it is likely a squirrel or other animal. Animals, pests, and even the weather can cause problems for hollyhocks. If you suspect an animal is eating your hollyhocks, the best course of action is to take a closer look and take steps to deter them.

We’ll discuss some tips you can use to protect your garden below and take a closer look at why squirrels may eat the Hollyhock plant.

Hollyhock Plants

The Hollyhock plant is a beautiful flower that blooms in shades of pink, purple, red, and white. These flowers typically grow to be about two feet tall and one foot wide. The leaves of the plant are large and deeply lobed. Hollyhocks are biennials plants, meaning they complete their lifecycle in two years.

The best time to plant them is spring, after the last frost. Hollyhocks can be planted directly in the ground or started indoors and then transplanted outdoors. These plants need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive. They are also relatively drought tolerant once they are established.

Hollyhocks are a favorite of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These flowers are a great addition to any garden, but they can be beautiful when mass planted.

Why Do Squirrels Eat Hollyhock?

Squirrels are opportunistic feeders that will eat just about anything. They will nibble on leaves, flowers, twigs, and bark if they are hungry. Hollyhocks are no exception. But there are a few reasons they may be more likely to eat Hollyhock than other plants.


Unlike Geraniums, hollyhock plants don’t have a particular scent. This makes them vulnerable to squirrels and other animals. Squirrels avoid plants that have


Hollyhocks can get pretty big, especially the leaves. This makes them an easy target for hungry animals.


Hollyhocks are not poisonous to humans or animals, so they may taste good to a squirrel. Hollyhocks are an easy target if a squirrel is looking for a quick snack.


All plants have nutrients that animals need, but hollyhocks are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, making them great plants for medicinal purposes. These nutrients are essential for a squirrel’s health, so they may be more likely to eat hollyhocks than other plants.

Do Ground Squirrels And Flying Squirrels Eat Hollyhocks?

With over 65 species of squirrels in the United States, it’s normal to wonder if ground or flying squirrels eat Hollyhocks.

A ground squirrel’s diet consists primarily of herbaceous plants (non-woody stemmed plants) and green grasses. In contrast, a flying squirrel’s diet is made up of fruits, fungi, and insects. It’s unlikely you’ll see a fox squirrel eating your hollyhocks, as they are less common in many regions throughout the United States.

The main culprits are the red and grey squirrels. These are the most common squirrels in North America and are both known for raiding gardens and eating flowers.

Signs Of Squirrel Activity

All squirrels (except flying squirrels) can quickly damage a flower garden. Below are some signs to look for to see if a squirrel is eating your hollyhocks or other plants.

  • Shallow digging spots in plant beds: squirrels enjoy unearthing and eating the young seedlings.
  • Container digging: If your hollyhocks are in containers, you may notice buried nuts in the soil. Both chipmunks and squirrels are notorious for caching their nuts in potted plants.
  • Partially eaten flowers: Squirrels are notorious for eating the blooms on particular flowers, such as daisies. A squirrel likely was the culprit if the petals are missing or broken.

How to Keep Squirrels From Eating Hollyhocks?

Unfortunately, the hollyhocks are not toxic, making them vulnerable to both animals and pests. But there are a few things you can do to keep squirrels and other animals from eating your hollyhocks:

The tips below work great to repel squirrels from disturbing, digging, or eating hollyhock plants.

Just remember, squirrels are persistent little critters, and it’s going to take some time to get them to stop harassing your flowers. So don’t forget to check out these tips to keep them off your sunflowers.

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 hollyhock plants to protect them properly.

You’ll want to place some wood or metal stakes and place them 4-6 inches away from the plant so that 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 hollyhock 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.

Use Gravel

To protect your plants from squirrels, cover the top of the soil with gravel. This will make it difficult for the squirrels to dig as the sharp edges of the rock will hurt their paws.

Be sure not to use too much gravel, as this can hurt the plant’s roots. Avoid using large gravel, as it can damage the plant’s stems. Instead, consider using smaller types such as pea gravel.

Take the Container Inside

If your hollyhock plants are in containers, the easiest thing to do is to take them inside. You can bring them out every morning and put them on a deck that squirrels won’t climb because there are always people on it.

Or you can leave them inside and 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.  

Dried Blood

Squirrels have a great sense of smell, which helps keep them safe from predators. For example, blood meal 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. In addition, it’s a great way to keep squirrels away while fertilizing your plants while providing them with sufficient nitrogen and 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 with a gardening section.

Plant Among Thorny Plants

You can try plants that have sharp thorns to prevent squirrels from getting to your hollyhock plants. For instance, roses have sharp thorns and can help protect your hollyhock plants from critters.

You can consider planting other plants with thorns: firethorns, honey locus, bougainvillea, Barbary fig, etc. Make sure you do your due diligence to ensure those plants won’t attack your hollyhock plants.

You can also plant some of the plants that naturally repel squirrels.

Feed Them

After you’ve depleted all the options above, you may want to consider creating a squirrel-friendly area in your yard. Choose an area away from your hollyhock 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 plants alone.

Before you know it, you won’t mind having the squirrels visit your backyard!

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.

Simply take a soap bar and shave it 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.

What Animals Eat Hollyhock?

Squirrels are attracted to the flowers’ young seedlings and will nibble on the leaves and petals. The good news is that they don’t usually eat the entire plant.

Hollyhocks are not only popular with gardeners. Many animals and pests find them irresistible. For example, the following animals will eat Hollyhock:

  • Japanese Beetles: eat the leaves
  • Caterpillars and sawflies: Both are notorious for damaging the leaves.
  • Hollyhock Weevils: Lay their eggs in the soil.

Pests and insects love hollyhocks and are likely the culprit for damaging your plants. Because it is a short-lived plant, it is relatively resistant to deer and other animals.

Final Word

Squirrels prefer eating other plants but won’t turn down eating, nibbling, or chewing a hollyhock plant if no other food is available. They prefer eating the young seedlings and leaves and won’t eat the entire plant.

If you want to keep squirrels away from your hollyhocks, try some of the methods above. You can also try planting other plants that naturally repel squirrels or make a squirrel-friendly area in your yard.

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