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Grow These 7 Plants To Keep Squirrels Away From Your Garden

Squirrels are one of those rare cases of cute pests. Like moles or chipmunks, they look sweet but can cause significant damage.

There are many signs of squirrel activity, from chewed flower bulbs to stripped bark and torn-up lawns to access buried acorns. And if they decide to shelter in your home, the damage can be even worse.

That’s why it’s best to manage squirrel numbers in your yard, especially if the damage is becoming significant.

Learning to eliminate squirrels is a good start and can help with immediate problems. However, there are also ways to prevent them from returning.

One such method is growing specific plants. While some plants may attract squirrels, others will actually repel them. Interested in learning more? Here are 7 plants that repel squirrels.

Before we start, note that every plant on this list is toxic to cats and dogs, and some are also dangerous to children.

Consider other methods to keep squirrels away if you have young family members or pets in your yard.

1. Onion and garlic

Alliums, including onions and garlic, are useful for more than just cooking. These plants have a strong smell that squirrels find overwhelming.

The sulfurous compounds released are even more potent if the skin is damaged. This intense aroma, which can bring tears to our eyes, will keep squirrels at a distance.

2. Hyacinths

Hyacinths offer vibrant and fragrant flowers in colors ranging from white to pink to purple. They are grown indoors and outdoors, often complementing flower beds.

This spring flower emits a powerful scent that becomes more intense over time, with spicy undertones. Squirrels find this scent too strong and will avoid it. Additionally, hyacinth bulbs are toxic to squirrels, further deterring them.

You can plant hyacinths strategically around your yard in soil or containers. They thrive in USDA zones 4-8 and bloom in the spring for two weeks or longer. With proper care, the same bulb can bloom again next year.

Just cut back the blooms once they finish, and store the bulb in a dark place until the next spring. Remember, hyacinths are toxic to children, so avoid planting them where young family members play.

3. Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley has delicate white bell-shaped flowers. Despite its innocent appearance, this plant is poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs. Ingesting it can cause serious illness or even death.

For this reason, it shouldn’t be grown around children or pets. However, like jasmine, its sweet and floral scent helps keep squirrels away. It’s also relatively easy to care for.

Lily of the valley can be grown as ground cover, spreading up to 12 inches in height and width. It suits USDA zones 3-8 and prefers regular moisture.

Be aware that it can become invasive, spreading quickly via underground rhizomes. Check local regulations before planting this.

4. Daffodils

Daffodils signal the arrival of spring with their bright, sun-shaped flowers. Squirrels find the bulb, which contains the chemical lycorine, toxic.

Daffodils’ aroma is also unpleasant to them. Planting daffodils around plants you want to protect creates a defensive border. You can also cut and bring spare flowers inside for decoration.

Daffodils are easy to grow, enjoying sunny spots with well-drained soil. They suit USDA zones 4-8 and generally re-flower the next spring.

However, they are toxic to cats, dogs, and children. Avoid planting them if you have young or furry family members.

5. Peppermint

Peppermint’s fresh, minty smell is sharp enough to repel many pests, including squirrels. It also deters fruit flies, wasps, rodents, and spiders. Plus, you can use it in cooking. Mint is an effective pest repellent due to its intense aroma, with peppermint particularly potent.

Peppermint grows easily in USDA zones 3-11. It can become invasive if left to grow freely in soil, so it’s best to plant it in containers. Place these where needed to keep squirrels away.

6. Galanthus

Galanthus, or snowdrops, produces small, white flowers. Like the lily of the valley, it’s toxic to pets and children, especially the bulb. If you have young or unsupervised family members, avoid planting this. Snowdrops thrive in colder winters and suit USDA zones 3-7.

Galanthus flowers early in the year and can even push through snow. The blooms fade in late spring, and the plant remains dormant until the next year. The bulbs are toxic to squirrels and other pests, making them useful in a pest-prone yard. Water your snowdrops regularly as conditions warm. Plant bulbs in the fall to flower by the following spring.

7. Geraniums

Geraniums are great for a squirrel-proof yard. These plants produce blooms in colors from purple to red to pink. It’s the fragrance, not the color, that repels squirrels.

Geraniums have a citrus-rose scent that squirrels dislike. These plants are easy to grow and commonly found, making their repelling qualities widely used.

Geraniums thrive in USDA zones 3-9, ideally in full sun with moist, well-draining soil. They can flower from spring to fall, providing squirrel-repellent properties for most of the year. You can also overwinter geraniums for blooms again the next year.