What Plants Squirrels Will & Won’t Eat (The Ultimate List)


Squirrels are natural foragers that love raiding your flower pots, garden, backyard, and anywhere else you have plants. Whether you love squirrels or just want to know what plants squirrels can and cannot eat, you’re in the right place.

We’re going to share a huge list of plants that will attract squirrels. As well as the type of plants that repel squirrels. Keep on reading to learn which plants are safe for squirrels to eat as well as which are poisonous.

This ultimate guide is broken down into key sections e.g. shrubs, herbs, trees, and so on. Browse through the article to find out which plants squirrels love and which ones they won’t touch.

You will also see links to more detailed articles and questions we’ve answered in this particular subject, so make sure you check those out as well.

What Plants Do Squirrels Like to Eat?

Squirrels are attracted to several types of plants. That said, some plants will attract them more than others. Below are a list of several types of plants and whether squirrels will make their way to your backyard to feast on the leaves, flowers, bulbs and etc.

We realize there are several types of plants from climbers, creepers, herbs, shrubs and etc. Below you’ll find the most common flowers people plant in their backyards throughout the United States.

Tulips

Tulips are extremely popular among homeowners because they are the most colorful spring flowers. They are also one of the easiest flowers for beginners to grow.

While squirrels may be tempted to eat the beautiful flowers of a full-grown tulip, they are more likely to dig up the bulbs.

Rhododendrons

Squirrels are attracted to rhododendron leaves, bulbs, and leaves. I’ve written an in-depth article on how to keep squirrels away from rhododendrons that will help you protect them. Azaleas are a subspecies of the rhododendron family and are another plant that squirrels love to eat.

Hostas

Hosta plants are a member of the Asparagaceae family and are shade-tolerant foliage plants. Squirrels, deer, and other animals like feeding on the succulent leaves and stems of the bushy perennials. These rodents prefer young plants and enjoy digging up the roots or recently planted bulbs.

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas is a flowering plant that is native to Japan. It is a deciduous shrub that blooms in the summer and fall. Squirrels are mostly attracted to the young bulbs. If you’re noticing something eating the hydrangea leaves, it’s likely Japanese beetles.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus plants are flowering plants that belong to the Malvaceae family. They grow well in warm temperatures and squirrels love eating the dark green leaves. I’ve written an in-depth article on how to keep squirrels away from hibiscus plants.

Forsythia

Forsythia is a genus flowering plant that belongs to the Oleaceae family. According to the Squirrel Board forum, squirrels will eat Forsythia plants, but not in abundance. They prefer eating the branches and will tear up the plants in your yard if there are no other plants around.

Knock Out Roses

Knock Out Roses are a disease tolerant rose that belongs to the rose family. Squirrels, rabbits and deer are attracted to the buds and shoots.

Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is a groundcover that looks similar to turfgrass. It is also referred to as “lily turf.” It is a perennial that belongs to the Asparagus family. While squirrels don’t normally eat monkey grass, they will eat mondo grass, which is a similar plant.

Petunias

There are over 20 species of this flowering plant. It is a perennial that belongs to the nightshade family. Many gardeners planting them because they are easy to care for and are drought and heat tolerant. The downside is squirrels and other animals are attracted to the bright colors and love the taste.

Squirrels will be tempted to munch on the petals if there’s nothing else for them to eat.

Sunflower Plants

Sunflower plants are available in about 70 different species. They are annual and perennial flowering plants that belong in the daily family Asteraceae family. Squirrels absolutely love eating the sunflower seeds in these plants. I’ve written an article to help you keep squirrels out of your sunflower plants.

Impatients

There are over 1,000 species of Impatient flowering plants. These plants are used as bedding plants, border plants, or containers. They are a large herbaceous plant that belongs to the Balsaminaceae family. The flowers have a sweet flavor, that may attract squirrels. However, many people have said that squirrels don’t usually bother the plant, but they will dig up and eat the bulbs.

These are just a few of the plants, flowers, and shrubs squirrels are attracted to. There are likely other outdoor plants that will attract squirrels that are not listed above.

If you have other outdoor plants and something is eating them, it could be squirrels or other animals like deer.

What Kind of Trees Do Squirrels Like to Eat?

trees squirrels love

If you have trees in your yard, then you likely already know that squirrels love to eat the bark. That said, certain trees will attract squirrels more than others. Squirrels are attracted to certain trees because of what is growing on it.

Below is a list of trees that will attract squirrels to your yard.

Oak Trees

Oak trees are a member of the Fagaceae family that grey squirrels love. These trees have high calorific values that have more lipids, which is a tasty fat at the top of the acorn that squirrels love eating.

Pine Trees

Pine trees are lower caloric trees that belong to the Pinaceae family. It is a coniferous resinous tree that attracts red squirrels.

Squirrels are mostly attracted to hardwood or mixed forest trees that produce nuts. They will live or raid these trees because it is a huge source of food.

Will Squirrels Eat Herbs?

Squirrels love eating certain types of herbs. I’ve put together an in-depth article on the herbs squirrels eat to If you grow herbs in your garden, I highly recommend reading it.

What Plants Keep Squirrels Away?

Just as there are plants that attract squirrels, there are also plants that repel squirrels. Below are some of garden plants that repel squirrels. If you’re a squirrel lover, you may not want to plant these in your backyard.

On the other hand, if the squirrels are getting into your bird feeder or eating your favorite plants, you can use these plants as a border to protect your vegetable garden. Squirrels don’t like the aroma of these plants and it will deter them from going near them.

Galanthus

The Galanthus or snowdrop consists of over 15 different species of perennial herbaceous plants that are a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. These plants have a perfumery smell that repels squirrels.

When planted in moist soil, they multiply into drifts and can be found in many gardens, parks, woodlands, and churchyards. The large flowers can come in many beautiful colors.

Hyacinth

Hyacinths vary in height from 8″ to 12″ when they are fully bloomed. They have a powerful scent that many people describe as a floral green vegetal aquatic scent with hinds of spicy and sweet, that squirrels don’t like. They come in many shades of white, purple, and reds.

Alliums

Alliums are another flower that has an aroma squirrels can’t stand. There are hundreds of species of this plant which include shallot, leeks, onions, garlic, and chives. These plants bloom in early to mid-June and most varieties are perennials.

Fritillaries

Fritillaries are a member of the Lilaceae family, that has strong scent squirrels avoid. When fully grown, they have cream-colored bulbs that have a pungent smell. According to the Frustrated Gardener, these plants smell of skunks and foxes, which repel squirrels and other animals such as deer, and skunks.

Geraniums

There are over 420 species of geraniums, and they are a member of the Geraniaceae family. They are the most popular greenhouse and bedding plants, which give off an aromatic green foliage fragrance. The fragrance comes from their leaves and squirrels don’t like the aroma.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a beautiful bell-shaped, pendent flower that blooms in the spring. They belong to the Asparagaceae family and give off a fresh, floral, feminine smell. While not overpowering to humans, it does deter squirrels and other animals.

Geraniums

Geraniums are popular spring plants that belong to the belong to the geraniaceae family. Some varieties smell like rose and lemon, while others smell like chocolate and pineapple. However, all the plants have a green and slightly peppery smell, that squirrels don’t like.

Daffodils

Daffodils are a popular spring flower that is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. Squirrels and other animals dislike the taste of daffodil bulbs. These are good squirrel-resistant flowers you can plant as a barrier to keep squirrels out of a certain area.

Nasturtiums

There are 80 species of annual and perennial herbaceous flowering plants that belong to the Tropaeolaceae family. These plants have an aroma of fresh floral flowers with a bit of pepper. Squirrels won’t eat these plants because they have a strong aroma.

Marigolds

Marigolds are herbaceous plants like sunflower plants are a member of the Asteraceae family. Unlike sunflower plants, squirrels don’t like the mildly citrusy taste of these flowers. While not poisonous to squirrels, they will likely move on to other flowers in your yard.

Dragon Heads

Dragon heads are perennial plants tat belong to the Mint family. They are tubular two-lipped flowers that resemble the head of a dragon. They produce a variety of flowers at the tip which are white, pink, or purple. The plants have a blend of grassy, nutty, spicy, and peppery taste that repels squirrels and other animals.

Irises

Unlike some of the other squirrel-resistant plants, Irises are not as effective at deterring squirrels. Squirrels don’t mind the taste, but they prefer eating other flowers, making them an option to eat if they don’t have access to anything else.

Irises are perennials that belong to the Iridaceae family. There are over 250 species and many people are drawn to these plants because they are easy to grow.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart plants are a spring herbaceous perennial plant that has arching stems with heart-shaped flowers belonging to the poppies family. These plants are beautiful, but they don’t have enough foliage or blooms for these rodents to munch on.

All parts of the plant are not edible and are considered toxic, which may be why squirrels don’t eat it.

California Poppy

The California Poppy plant is a vigorous plant that is usually found in vacant lots and roadsides, because they don’t require a lot of upkeep. The plant stems and flowers have a bitter tea taste that squirrels don’t like.

Basket of Gold

Basket of Gold is a low-growing evergreen perennial that produces golden-yellow flowers in the spring. The scientific name is Aurinia saxatillis and belong to the mustard family. It’s a great low foliage flower that is commonly used for borders.

Squirrels don’t like the foul-smell emitted by the plant, and will usually leave it alone.

Crocus

Crocus is a flowering plant that is a member of the Iris family. There are over 90 different species of perennials that bloom each spring. They vary in color from white, purple, yellow, cream, and lavender. These plants are poisonous and squirrels somehow know this, and won’t eat them.

There are several other critter resistant bulbs and perennials that will repel squirrels. That said, no plant is foolproof, if a squirrel is hungry enough, they will eat just about anything, including poisonous plants.

Final Word

Squirrels have learned hot how to adapt to their environment. Some squirrels will eat plants and flowers other squirrels won’t eat, but most will and won’t eat the flowers above.

You can use this list to plant flowers they don’t like or plant flowers that attract them to your yard.

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