You’re so proud of the plants you potted around your yard and this is the first year they look amazing. You wake up one morning to find a squirrel eating and digging in your flowers, even your hanging potted plants.
How Do You Keep Squirrels Out Of Hanging Baskets?
Most people think they have to use inhumane methods to deter squirrels, but the truth is you can use human or dog hair, ultrasonic sound, get plants they don’t like, use bone meal, live trap, and set up a place for them.
Before we dig deep into how to implement the tips above, let’s first take a look at why squirrels love flowers and plants and the damage they can cause.
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Why Do Squirrels Dig In Flower Pots?
A squirrel’s primary reason to dig is to bury their cache of food such as nuts, seeds, or acorns. They prefer potting soil because it’s easier to dig than the hard ground.
Squirrels are intelligent and will take the path of least resistance when it comes to burying and storing their food.
Can Squirrels Damage Potted Plants?
Yes, they can damage the roots or even uproot the flower. They can even knock over the containers hurting the plant. Some will even go so far as to steal the plant bulbs leaving.
Leaving a mess on your patio, deck, or wherever you have your potted plants. Not to mention costing you hundreds of dollars and man-hours you spent setting up your beautiful flowers.
Signs Squirrels Are Messing With Your Plants?
It’s not hard to tell when a squirrel is messing with our plants, even if you don’t catch them inside the container. After all, most of them will mess with them when you’re not around or at night.
Here are some signs that they love your plants too much.
- Knocked over pots
- Missing bulbs
- Container digging
- Bite marks on container
- Nuts or other squirrel food in the soil
- Golf size or smaller holes
- Plants are partially eaten
- Small paw prints by plants
- Potting soil on the ground (hanging plant)
How To Keep Squirrels Out Of My My Hanging Baskets?
Put Them In The Sunroom
If you’re lucky enough to have a sunroom, put your hanging plants inside. This will prevent the squirrels from bothering your plants.
Don’t have a sunroom? Consider hanging them close to where you sit or where people are entering and exiting. The constant movement of people will help keep squirrels away.
Remove Climbing Objects
Squirrels can jump 5-6 feet high, but you don’t want to give them a leg up by having a chair or other object that will make it easier for them to climb to your hanging plant.
Hang your plants high enough to where they can’t jump up to it while standing on the ground. Keep them away from trees, or anything a squirrel can use to make climbing easier.
This means you may need to use a step ladder to water your plant, but you won’t have to worry about a squirrel damaging your flowers.
Whether you have hanging potted plants or plant containers on the ground, you need to know how to protect them from these rodents.
How To Protect Container Plants From Squirrels
These tips will work for all potted plants, whether they are hanging or on the ground. The best part is that all the methods are humane and you won’t have to worry about harming these adorable critters.
Use Human or Dog Hair
The next time you brush your hair or your dog’s hair, use some of it to sprinkle on top of your potted plants. I know this sounds disgusting, but the scent will alert a squirrel of a predator and will deter them from coming close to your potted plants.
This method works, but you’re going to have to add new hair every few days as the scent will eventually fade away. You may want to remove the old hair, so your container doesn’t have a bunch of human and dog hair that doesn’t repel squirrels anymore.
Fertilize With Bone Meal
Another scent method that is known to keep squirrels out of potted plants is to use a bone meal product. It is a natural organic fertilizer that won’t harm your plants or the squirrel.
It has an offensive odor that repels certain critters. Make sure you reapply whenever you water the plants or it rains.
Use Apple Cider
Some plant lovers recommend spraying vinegar around potted plants to keep squirrels from digging in them. The pungent smell is supposed to repel them.
Not all types of vinegar will act as a fertilizer. White vinegar has a more herbicidal effect. Opt for organic, unfiltered, raw apple vinegar like this to spray on and around your plants without any negative effects.
Pour the vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the directly on the plants and flower plants without harming them. You’ll want to reapply after watering, rainfall, or when it stops working.
Here’s how to make your own plant friendly vinegar.
Use A Sonic Deterrent
Consider using a sound repellent device around your potted or hanging flowers. These devices emit high-frequency waves to help deter squirrels from coming close or bothering your potted plants.
These types of devices are known to work on other rodents such as rats, mice, and gophers. The biggest drawback is that you will need to use an outdoor extension cord to keep it running night and day.
Plants Squirrels Hate
It’s hard to believe that there are plants that squirrels hate. If you can’t keep squirrels out of your flower pots or beds, consider planting some they are less likely munch on.
Try planting impatiens, lily, geraniums, crocus, allium, hyacinth, marigold, columbine, or daffodils if squirrels keep bothering your flowers.
You may not be able to plant these in a container but they will look amazing in a flower bed. The best part is that squirrels don’t like them so you should have no problem keeping them out!
You can use some of the methods above to protect your hanging plants. However, try using some of these other methods to keep squirrels from climbing up to your hanging baskets.
Set Up A Feeder
If you don’t want to deter these critters from your yard but are just trying to protect your flowers, consider setting up a squirrel friendly area in your yard.
You can set up a squirrel feeder and add some food they will love. When they realize they have access to food, they may stop bothering your plants and spend their time at the feeder.
Make sure you get a feeder with a hole big enough to hold some water for them to drink.
Once you’ve exhausted all the methods above and still finding nuts in your potted plants, it’s time to pull out the live trap. Using a live trap is a humane method for removing unwanted critters from your property.
You can safely capture the stubborn squirrel and relocate it to a safe location. I’d recommend taking them to a wooded area without any houses around, which can be challenging to find, depending on where you live.
The squirrel will be happier because they can forage in the woods without any worry and you’ll be happy that your flowers are not being destroyed.
Squirrels are persistent little critters, so you will have to keep trying different methods to see which ones actually keep your hanging plants safe from them.
However, there’s no reason why you can’t grow beautiful plants even if you have squirrels in your yard.
References And Further Reading
Summit Environmental Solutions – Keep Squirrels At Bay With These Tips