How to Keep Squirrels From Digging in Flower Pots

Squirrels can be some of the most annoyingly destructive animals in a suburban garden, sometimes worse than rabbits. They are notorious for digging up tender, vulnerable seedlings and flinging them everywhere, and they make messes when they paw through flower pots and scatter soil all over a patio or porch. But is there any way to stop squirrels from digging in your flower pots?

Yes, there is. And fortunately, the solution is easy and inexpensive. The best way to keep squirrels from digging up flowers and seedlings in pots is to create a barrier using chicken wire. Chicken wire is cheap, pliable, and easy to work with.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your squirrel barrier:

  • chicken wire
  • sturdy cutters or scissors
  • a pair of protective work gloves
  • plastic or metal garden stakes (optional)

To start, put on some thick gloves so your hands don’t get scratched or cut by the chicken wire. Then cut a length of chicken wire that will go around the inner perimeter of your flower pot. Bend the end pieces of the wires together to create a tube shape, or if you want, you can use plastic ties or other fasteners to help create a solid tube shape.

You can place this chicken wire tube over the plants in your flower pot. Push it down into the dirt a bit so it does not get knocked over by animals or blown over in high wind, or you can purchase plastic or metal garden stakes to help secure it. I prefer to secure mine with a few stakes.

How to keep squirrels from digging in flower pots
A chicken wire cage protecting young milkweed plants in my yard.

If you want extra protection in your battle against squirrels, bend the wire at the top to form a closed dome. You can twist wire pieces together to seal the top, or use some plastic zip ties. This effectively seals off your plants so squirrels will not be able to get into your pots and dig. It also has the benefit of keeping birds from getting into your cage and getting stuck. If you want a slightly more tidy look, you also could cut an extra section of wire in a circle shape and fasten it to the top of your cage so it has a flat top.

Other options might include:

  • placing your potted plants on an elevated surface such as a table or plant stand that would make it more difficult for squirrels to access.
  • sprinkling cayenne pepper or something else distasteful, smelly, or spicy on and around your plants (although this has not been much help for me personally in my garden).
  • placing a lot of medium to large rocks in your flower pot so the squirrels can’t easily get to the dirt.
  • using store-bought items as protective cages, such as laundry hampers or wire baskets turned upside down and set over the plants, but these tend to cost more than simple chicken wire.

How do you keep squirrels out of your garden and potted plants? Let us know in the comments.

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