Impatients are beautiful annuals that many homeowners plant because they are colorful and easy to grow and can grow in shady environments. However, these plants are targets for several different animals, including squirrels. If something is eating or damaging your plants, you’re likely wondering if squirrels eat impatients?
In short, squirrels may eat the flower because it has a sweet flavor that may attract squirrels that can’t find a food supply. That said, the rodents usually don’t eat the plants. Instead, they will dig up and eat the bulbs. They prefer other plants such as vegetable plants, fruit, sunflowers, etc.
If something is eating your impatients, it may not be a squirrel. As mentioned above, these plants are high on other animals and insects menus. Before you can take action to protect your plants, you need to understand the signs of squirrel damage to plants, which we’ll cover in this article.
Why Do Squirrels Eat Impatients Plants?
Impatiens are not the first plant of choice for squirrels, especially if they have access to other food sources. Squirrels are opportunistic feeders that will eat almost anything to survive, especially when no other food sources are available.
When food is scarce, squirrels will eat plants because they provide essential nutrients for survival, such as magnesium, zinc, protein, etc.
That said, squirrels won’t go out of their way to eat impatients. Still, they may dig up the plants in search of food caches or other juicy flower bulbs growing nearby.
Signs That Squirrels Are Damaging Your Impatient 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 Impatient Plants Toxic To Squirrels?
Impatients are not toxic to squirrels and other animals unless you spray them with pesticides or plant food.
How to Stop Squirrels From Eating Impatients?
Like humans, squirrels have to eat. However, it doesn’t mean that they have to eat your impatient plants to cause damage to them.
Below are some tips for keeping squirrels away from your impatient plants using humane tactics.
Create A Physical Barrier
First and foremost, set up a barrier to protect your impatient 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.
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.
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.
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 harm plants. The best way to test whether it’s harmful to your plant is to do a spot test on a small area of the plant.
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.
Believe it or not, there are plants that squirrels hate. Consider planting some next to your impatient 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.
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.
Get A Feeder for the Squirrels
Squirrel feeders, like bird feeders not only provide food for squirrels when food supplies are short. They can be a great way to help keep them from raiding bird feeders, eating your plants and trees, or damaging your property.
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 impatient 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 Impatients
If something is eating or damaging your impatient plants, it’s likely not squirrels. It’s likely one of the following:
- Spider Mites
If there are holes in the impatient’s leaves, it’s likely an insect or disease.
Animals that feed on the plants will munch and nibble on everything from its foliage, leaves, and stems.
Impatients are not a squirrel’s favorite plants to eat, but they are susceptible to several other animals and insects. That said, squirrels have learned how to adapt to their environment, and if there is no other food available, they may eat your impatient plants.
Regardless of what’s eating your plants, the tips above will help you protect them from animals and birds.
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