What Plants Keep Squirrels Away

What Plants Keep Squirrels Away


What Plants Keep Squirrels Away: Imagine a serene garden filled with vibrant flowers and bountiful harvests, a place where nature’s beauty thrives in harmony. However, this idyllic scene can quickly turn into a battleground when squirrels invade, wreaking havoc on your cherished plants and crops. For many gardeners and homeowners, these furry creatures are a common nuisance, and finding effective, eco-friendly methods to deter them becomes a top priority. One promising solution lies in harnessing the power of plants themselves to keep squirrels at bay.

Squirrels, with their insatiable appetite for nuts, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, are a constant source of frustration for those who love to cultivate green spaces. While various chemical and mechanical deterrents exist, these often come with environmental concerns and may be harmful to other wildlife and the ecosystem. In contrast, using plants to repel squirrels offers a natural, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing alternative.

This approach, known as “companion planting,” involves strategically choosing and placing plants in your garden or around your property that are unattractive or even offensive to squirrels. It taps into the age-old wisdom of plant interactions and can significantly reduce squirrel-related damage without resorting to harmful chemicals or traps. Fascinating world of plant-based squirrel deterrence, we will delve into the biology and behavior of squirrels, understanding what drives them to seek out our gardens. We will then turn our attention to a variety of plants and herbs that possess characteristics squirrels find unappealing or even aversive. From the pungent aroma of certain herbs to the prickly defenses of specific shrubs, these natural deterrents can create an inhospitable environment for squirrels, encouraging them to seek sustenance elsewhere.

What Plants Keep Squirrels Away

What do squirrels hate the most?

Squirrels have a strong sense of smell, which they use food sources and shelter. You can repel squirrels using scents they hate such as, capsaicin, white vinegar, peppermint oil, coffee grounds, cinnamon, predator urine, garlic, dryer sheets, Irish Spring Soap, and rosemary.

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic squirrel repellent devices emit high-pitched sounds that are inaudible to humans but annoying to squirrels. These devices can effectively deter squirrels from invading your space.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are a humane and effective way to deter squirrels. When a squirrel approaches, the sensor triggers a burst of water, scaring the squirrel away. Over time, squirrels associate your garden with discomfort and learn to avoid it.

Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

If you’re a bird enthusiast and want to keep squirrels from raiding your bird feeders, invest in squirrel-proof feeders. These feeders are designed with mechanisms that prevent squirrels from accessing the birdseed.

What will keep squirrels away from plants?

Mint extract, lemongrass, clove and cinnamon are known to deter squirrels, so keep these oils and spices close to hand. In a spray bottle, mix one part vinegar to two parts water, a drop of dish soap, and add the essential oils to it.

Squirrel-Proof Planters and Raised Beds

Planting your garden in squirrel-proof planters or raised beds can provide a layer of protection. These structures are typically more challenging for squirrels to access, reducing the likelihood of damage to your plants.

Repellent Sprays

Commercial squirrel repellent sprays are available in the market. These sprays often contain natural or chemical compounds that deter squirrels when applied to your plants. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Motion-Activated Devices

Motion-activated devices, such as sprinklers or lights, can startle squirrels when they approach your plants. The sudden movement or burst of water can make squirrels associate your garden with discomfort and encourage them to stay away.

Keep Bird Feeders Away

If you have bird feeders in your garden, make sure they are placed away from your plants. Squirrels are attracted to birdseed, so keeping the feeders at a distance can help prevent them from venturing closer to your plants.

Remove Fallen Fruits and Nuts

Squirrels are opportunistic foragers. Keep your garden clean by promptly removing fallen fruits, nuts, and seeds. This reduces the attractiveness of your garden to squirrels.

What smell do squirrels hate the most?

They’re said to dislike the scent of coffee grounds and peppermint, or you could make up your own recipe with vinegar, garlic and onions or peppermint oil to spray in the garden. Chilli flakes and pepper might put them off, so try a sprinkling of these – it’s often used to keep squirrels off bird feeders.


Peppermint is a scent that squirrels find highly unpleasant. Its strong, minty aroma overwhelms their sensitive noses, making it an effective natural squirrel repellent. You can use peppermint oil or plant peppermint in your garden to create a barrier that discourages squirrels from getting too close to your plants. Additionally, soaking cotton balls in peppermint oil and placing them strategically around your garden can help keep squirrels at bay.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin, which is responsible for the spicy heat in hot peppers. Squirrels have a strong aversion to capsaicin, making cayenne pepper an excellent squirrel deterrent. To use it effectively, you can sprinkle cayenne pepper powder around your garden or mix it with water to create a homemade squirrel repellent spray. Be sure to reapply after rain or heavy watering.

Garlic and Onions

Both garlic and onions possess pungent odors that squirrels dislike. Planting these vegetables in your garden can help deter squirrels from approaching your plants. Additionally, you can make a garlic or onion spray by blending cloves or bulbs with water and then spraying the mixture on your plants or the soil around them.


Eucalyptus leaves and oils have a strong, menthol-like scent that squirrels find unpleasant. Planting eucalyptus trees or shrubs in your garden can help create a natural barrier that discourages squirrels from venturing near your plants.

What is the best thing to keep squirrels away?

Try sprinkling cayenne pepper, ground chili peppers, or pepper flakes around your plants when they are ready to bloom. Peppers have “capsaicin” which squirrels hate, so it’s a natural squirrel deterrent. Or, make a pepper spray; you can mix dried pepper with apple cider vinegar.

Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeders

Squirrels are notorious for raiding bird feeders, stealing seeds meant for your feathered friends. Invest in squirrel-proof bird feeders with mechanisms that make it difficult for squirrels to access the seeds. Weight-activated feeders or baffles can effectively keep them at bay.

Use Squirrel-Resistant Plants

Choose plants and flowers that squirrels dislike. Squirrels have a strong aversion to certain plants like daffodils, marigolds, and hyacinths. Planting these around your garden can act as a natural deterrent.

Secure Trash Bins

Squirrels are attracted to food waste. Ensure your trash bins have tight-fitting lids to prevent squirrels from rummaging through your garbage.

Install Motion-Activated Devices

Motion-activated sprinklers, lights, or sound devices can startle squirrels away when they enter your garden. These devices create an unfavorable environment for them without causing harm.

Provide Squirrel-Friendly Food

If you have a soft spot for these critters, consider providing them with their own feeding station away from bird feeders. Fill it with squirrel-friendly food like corn, nuts, or seeds, and they may be less inclined to raid your bird feeders.

What is a squirrel’s worst enemy?

Squirrel Predators
Well, the natural enemies of squirrels include; coyotes, raccoons and weasels. As if that weren’t enough, squirrels also have to be on the lookout for predatory birds like eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls who will try to swoop down and grab them for a meal.

Birds of Prey

One of the most formidable enemies of squirrels in the wild are birds of prey. Raptors like hawks, owls, and eagles have keen eyesight and sharp talons, which make them adept at swooping down to capture squirrels. These aerial hunters often take advantage of a squirrel’s vulnerability when it is foraging on the ground or traveling through the trees.


Squirrels are ground-dwelling creatures when not high up in trees, and this leaves them vulnerable to ground-dwelling predators like snakes. Some snake species, such as rat snakes and rattlesnakes, feed on squirrels. They use stealth and ambush tactics to catch their prey.

Domestic and Feral Cats

In urban and suburban environments, domestic cats and feral cats pose a significant threat to squirrels. Cats are skilled hunters, and their natural instincts lead them to stalk and chase squirrels with remarkable agility. While squirrels can often evade cats by climbing trees, they are not always successful in doing so.


Foxes are opportunistic predators that will target squirrels when the opportunity arises. With their keen sense of smell and sharp hunting skills, foxes are known to stalk and pounce on unsuspecting squirrels in grassy areas or near their burrows.

Do squirrels hate mint?

Squirrels hate the aroma of mint, so plant mint (which grows easily) around gardens and trees that squirrels like to frequent. It smells great (at least, to you) and you can even pick it and use it in drinks like iced tea and mojitos.

The Minty Myth

The notion that squirrels have an aversion to mint is a widely circulated belief, but it’s essential to understand that it is largely anecdotal. There is limited scientific research on the topic, and personal experiences can vary. While some people claim success in deterring squirrels with mint, others report that squirrels seem unfazed by it.

Understanding Squirrel Behavior

Before diving into the minty mystery, it’s crucial to comprehend squirrel behavior. Squirrels are highly adaptable and opportunistic creatures known for their curiosity. They are primarily driven by the search for food, shelter, and a safe environment. Squirrels have a keen sense of smell, which they use to locate food sources.

Mint as a Squirrel Deterrent

The idea behind using mint as a squirrel deterrent is that the strong scent of mint may overwhelm a squirrel’s sensitive nose and discourage them from entering specific areas. 

Does cinnamon keep squirrels away?

Used in small amounts, cinnamon gives many dishes a delicious flavor. However, it is still a spice, and squirrels can’t tolerate the smell. You can use cinnamon essential oil to deter squirrels by sprinkling a few drops onto a rag and tying the cloth to a tree at the edge of your property.

While the idea of using cinnamon as a squirrel repellent may sound appealing, there is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness. Squirrels are known for their adaptability and curiosity, so their reactions to different scents and tastes can vary. Some might indeed be deterred by the smell of cinnamon, while others may not be bothered at all.

Squirrel Preferences: Squirrels have different tastes, and what one squirrel dislikes, another might not mind at all. Some individuals may be more sensitive to the scent of cinnamon, while others may not find it bothersome.

Freshness of Cinnamon: The potency of cinnamon’s scent and flavor can diminish over time. Using fresh cinnamon might yield better results compared to older, less aromatic cinnamon.

Application Method: How you use cinnamon can make a difference. Sprinkling ground cinnamon or placing cinnamon sticks strategically around the area may be more effective than using cinnamon-scented oils or candles.

Do fake owls scare squirrels?

To protect your pet, use statues and silhouette cutouts of natural predators to scare squirrels away from your home. Fake owls, foxes and hawks may deter squirrels from venturing too close to your property. You may also use motion sensor floor lights to deter squirrels from your property at night.

The lifelikeness of the fake owl is crucial. Squirrels are intelligent creatures, and they can quickly discern whether the owl is a genuine threat or just a decoration. High-quality, detailed replicas are more likely to be effective.

Movement: Squirrels are known to be wary of stationary objects. Some fake owls come with moving parts or mechanisms that mimic the appearance of a real owl in motion, which may increase their effectiveness.

Placement: The positioning of the fake owl is vital. Frequently moving it to different locations can help prevent squirrels from becoming accustomed to its presence.

Variety: Squirrels are clever animals and can become habituated to a single deterrent over time. Combining fake owls with other scare tactics, such as noise-makers or reflective surfaces, can enhance their effectiveness.

Persistence: Squirrels are persistent creatures. Even if a fake owl initially deters them, they may return once they realize it poses no real threat. Consistency in using the fake owl and other deterrents is essential.

What Plants Keep Squirrels Away


We have discovered that while squirrels may pose a persistent challenge to our gardening endeavors, there are numerous plants and herbs that can act as natural sentinels, discouraging these furry invaders without resorting to harmful chemicals or inhumane traps. From the aromatic allure of mint and rosemary to the thorny defenses of holly and barberry, the world of companion planting offers a wealth of possibilities.

The benefits of using plants to deter squirrels extend beyond mere pest control. They enrich our gardens with diverse textures, colors, and scents, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal. Moreover, these green companions often attract pollinators and beneficial insects, contributing to a healthier and more resilient ecosystem. By harnessing the power of nature, we not only safeguard our gardens but also promote biodiversity and environmental sustainability.

As we have emphasized throughout our exploration, the effectiveness of plant-based squirrel repellents depends on factors such as location, climate, and garden layout. It is essential to tailor your plant selections to suit your specific needs and conditions. Experimentation and observation play a crucial role in determining which plants are most effective in your battle against squirrels.

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