How To Keep Squirrels Away From Flowers & A Hungry Visitor

I am cautiously optimistic I’ve found the cure for keeping the pesky squirrels living in my backyard out of my flowers here on the deck. This may even save my hibiscus from being denuded as it has been in past years.

Hibiscus Leaves Eaten by Squirrels


The last two years I’ve been putting Knock-out Roses in the tall urns under the pergola but after two years of having them prick my shoulders and arms with their thorns as I remove and re-hang the bird feeders each day, I decided to give Hibiscus one more try.

Knockout Rose Topiaries Surrounded by Creeping Jenny


They have only been on the deck for a few days and so far the squirrels aren’t eating the leaves but they are having a party in the dirt every. single. day! Each morning when I head out to the deck, this is what I find.

Howt To Keep Squirrels Out of Flower Pots 1


Don’t believe him!

Guilty Squirrel


Lovely, isn’t it? And not good for the hibiscus exposing its roots this way every day!  Grrrr!

Howt To Keep Squirrels Out of Flower Pots 2


Something is also having fun in the pot on the table. I’m pretty sure it’s squirrels making the big mess in the urns, although it could be chipmunks since I’ve seen them digging in the plant on the table in years past. Maybe it’s both.

Howt To Keep Squirrels Out of Flower Pots 3


Mary suggested adding dried blood to the dirt. (Thanks, Mary!) I think I’ve used that in the past when planting bulbs. It was either that or bone meal…forgotten now.

You should have seen the look on the face of the woman I approached in the garden department of Home Depot when I asked where they kept the dried blood. lol I think she was new to gardening because she had never heard of such a thing. She had to check with another associate who immediately knew what I needed.

This was the brand they carried, not the one Mary had mentioned but I was hoping it would work.

Organic Blood Meal


So far, it seems to be working. You can tell “someone” has stepped in it but they didn’t dig and dirt’s not scattered all over the place this morning.

Peach Hibiscus on Deck


I’ve been getting estimates on having the whole house pressure washed, along with the decks and porch. I’m also having the decks and porch repainted since it’s been over 6 years since that was done. I’ve chosen a company and they’ll be getting me on the schedule sometime in the next 2-3 weeks. Can’t wait to get that done so I can stain the deck floors again…time to freshen those up, too.

Hibiscus on Deck


A Masked Bandit Visits

I had a surprise visitor to the deck this week. I came bopping down the stairs and into the kitchen, looked out my bay window and this is what I saw!  I was stunned! They usually make their bird feeder raids after midnight around 1AM.

Raccoon Eating From Bird Feeder on Deck


I couldn’t believe one was brave enough to visit in the middle of the day! They are so cute! Don’t worry, the guys at the bird store told me that though folks think they are rabid when seen out during the day, they told me it isn’t true. Raccoon are often out during the day, they are just usually not seen around houses since they wait until folks are in bed to raid the feeders.

This guy must have been really hungry to come during the daytime. He looked pretty skinny. I’ve started putting out some wildlife food for them since they look so thin. Someone on Instagram mentioned putting out cat food. I may do that some of the time since the wildlife food is very expensive.

I want to caption this photo: Masked bandit caught with hand in cookie jar! πŸ™‚

Raccoon Eating From Backyard Bird Feeder


Follow-up to Yesterday’s Post:

After yesterday’s post where we toured Katharine Hepburn’s Fenwick home, I downloaded Scott Berg’s book, Kate Remembered from Audible and began listening while folding clothes last night. I first searched for her autobiography and unfortunately, it’s not on Audible. I love listening to books while I work in the yard, clean house, sort and resize pictures for blog posts, fold laundry or drive around on errands and long trips.

I’m only on the first chapter but so far it’s really good. At the start of the book, they (Scott, the author and Katharine) meet briefly in her New York apartment. As I listen now, they are in her Connecticut beach house. When Scott first arrives at the Fenwick home (that Katharine calls, Paradise) for the interview he’s doing for Esquire Magazine, Katharine is just finishing a swim in the freezing water of the sound.

It’s so neat hearing him describe the house. As I type this, they are just now sitting down by the fireplace with drinks of scotch and soda to talk. I can picture it a little better now after the tour yesterday, although I’m sure it looked quite different when Hepburn lived there.

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!


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  1. Happier Than A Pig In Mud says

    I’ve used dried blood and it works pretty well! (Most of the time.) Just remember to reapply it after every rain… It’s kind of a natural fertilizer too. Good luck:@)

  2. Awhh, you have just got to love those sweet faces of the squirrel and raccoon . Yes racoons love cat food, my daughter used to feed them, she had one racoon that would come up each morning for some food on the deck and she has had them actually eat out of her hand. When this particular raccoon had babies, she brought them to show my daughter.
    Now people may be dismayed at this, but you have to know my daughter who loves every creature on God’s earth and always has rescued her cats over the years. She also volunteers for the wildlife rescue program.

    • That sounds like something I would do. They just keep building more stuff around here and I feel sorry for them running out habitat. It’s scary the diseases you can get though…kind of making me think twice about feeding them. I think I’ll just try to remember to bring in the feeders each night and to throw some food out in the yard for them, maybe.

      • Charlotte A Orr says

        I live in Arcadia Fl. and the squirrels have been terrible here in my yard get into all the flower pots and eat leaves also. What works here is I get a handful of Spanish moss off the trees stuff it around the pot on top of the dirt and they leave it alone. You can probably buy some of it at craft store doesn’t take much just enough to cover the dirt. I don’t know why they don’t bother it but, they don’t and that is good for me.

        • Thanks, Charlotte! I saw some moss the other day at a nursery, wish I had bought it. I think I’ll make a trip to find some tomorrow. Maybe that along with the blood meal will keep them from making such a mess.

  3. Pam gryski says

    I use. Moth balls, they do not like the way they smell…neither do I !

  4. While the raccoon is cute, I wouldn’t do ANYTHING to encourage it coming around. I had one take up residence in my attic last spring. It was very expensive to have even tiny openings sealed up with steal mesh and have the culprit removed. He was only there for a week, but did some damage to the A/C duct work and one place on the ceiling. It fell into three different walls and hearing it climb out was really scary. It sounded like he was going to kick in the sheetrock. The opening he was coming in from was so small that I didn’t believe the pest guy at first, but it turned out to be true. We saw footprints on the siding near the roof. It sounds like a bowing ball is in your ceiling and we didn’t sleep for the week it was up there. The pest guy said they carry a strain of round worms that are dangerous to humans and other animals. My neighbor had one actually fall through the ceiling of his mother’s house. I heard several stories from others after my experience. I was lucky the one I had must have been a male, as I had no babies that were found. That makes removal even more expensive when it’s an entire family! It was an experience I still haven’t recovered from!!

    • I would be so upset if that happened, Gina! I guess I’m just asking for trouble having the feeders so close to my house. I need to move to a house where I can have a screened in porch on the lower level and have feeders out in the yard, then I could see the birds without having to have the feeders off the decks. Sorry you went through such a nightmare! What an experience! Thanks for the warnings!

  5. Susan,
    I’ll be sharing your post with blog friend Liz fromInfuse with Liz. . .
    she’s having chipmunk problems in her newly planted Fairy Garden.
    I always appreciate your gardening tips!!!
    “Mr. Ed” will be pressure washing, replacing deck boards and staining
    this Summer, also. . .always something needs to be done!
    Again,many thanks for sharing about the Blood Meal!!!

    • Pat, it’s never ending isn’t it? I think I’m starting to understand how folks move into retirement places later in life. lol Be nice to just spend money on fun stuff instead of upkeep, wouldn’t it?

  6. Over the winter months we and both our neighbors caught 11 raccoons…ours unfortunately in out attic and the neighbors each as they were trying to get into their homes…we all had live traps and would take them to the State Parks…many miles away. They do love cat food, sardines etc. I wouldn’t advise feeding near your home…they love handouts and will come calling for more or shelter or just to see what you’ve been up too! Be careful too, because skunks love the same foods. LOL

  7. ok…I am on this. I have had the very same thing happen to my flower pots on the back porch…ground level. Dirt all over the place just like your urns. I just did not know what to do.
    Thanks so much.

  8. Cee Pluse says

    I have the same problem with squirrels (our yard seems to be squirrel paradise, as we have dozens of them!). I have tried all sorts of ways to keep them from digging in my pots, even booby trapping them with mouse traps, but I’ve found that I can put just about any bulky items around the plants (rocks or stones, blocks of wood, small terra cotta pots, etc.) and, while not always attractive, they will keep squirrels out. I’ve used both blood and bone meal before, but unfortunately it attracts my dogs, who dig even bigger holes! You might even try planting aromatic herbs around the hibiscus, because I have found that a pot full of plants with no bare dirt will not be bothered by squirrels either.

    I’ve also been visited by wildlife recently, but of the reptilian sort. A big black snake decided to check out our barn. I tried to convince him to leave, but, while polite, he was just not interested in complying. I finally gave up — at least he will eat the pesky mice! I also almost ran over a copperhead while out on my riding mower. I must have actually struck him a glancing blow to the head, as it was bloodied, but he did not seem too damaged. Even the copperhead was polite, and just tried to slither away, despite the fact that I inadvertently threw clippings at him when I made a turn and startled him. Ah, life in the country — just one snake adventure after another! LOL! (I hope you are not paranoid about snakes; I started to tell this story to my sister but she made me stop, claiming that I was scaring her.)

    • Cee, I had Creeping Jenny in the urns and that deterred them but the urns are so shallow, I was afraid the Creeping Jenny was competing with the topiary plant for space/nourishment. The knockout roses just never looked too healthy when they were in the planters with the Creeping Jenny, so I took it out this year. Snakes don’t bother me. The brother of my best friend growing up, used to catch garter snakes and keep them as pets. When ever I was at their house, he would let me hold them and I loved it. So I don’t have a fear of them, although I would not want to be close to a poisonous one because their bites can do some severe damage to your body, not to mention what the venom can do. So watch out for those. I do love that they catch rats and such so they are welcome in my yard…as long as they don’t bite me! πŸ™‚

    • OM!!! It must be “the year of the snake!” We just had two black snakes slithering and intertwining around the lattice on the deck…scared the grandkiddos to death..or maybe it was my screaming… We have a copperhead situation, too, what do you do?? It’s a jungle out there anymore…and don’t even get ME started about squirrels and chipmunks….franki

  9. Carol Neibling says

    Rustoleum has a new product for wood and concrete deck and patio floors. I think it’s called restore and is supposed to take down the fiber in the wood. Comes in colors. I know both HD and Lowes have it and Behr also has a product to restore the wood floors. Worth a try. I can’t use it on my composite, but wish I could because it gets so dirty. Maybe I’ll try a small area and see what happens. I have used moth balls in my pots and it works.

  10. Susan, don’t waste your money on that Restore…the person at Lowes told me they just had a customer call to complain that the coating they had put on their deck last year was peeling off & flaking all over everything. BIG MESS!!
    Please DON’T feet those raccoons!!! They are VERY destructive & can carry leptospirosis, baylisascaris (roundworm), rabies & are known to bite & scratch!! Nasty creatures, esp. if cornered.
    Go here to read about them:

    I also found this online:
    “Raccoon Diseases: Rabies is the most commonly cited disease associated with raccoons. Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis & B. columnaris) is caused by contact with infected raccoon feces, which can pass the sticky and durable eggs to humans. Contracting this disease occurs by accidental ingestion or inhalation of the eggs. Infection of humans can lead to larval parasite migration to the central nervous system. Giardia lamblia is a protozoan causing diarrhea associated with ingesting food or water contaminated by raccoon excrement. Trypanosoma cruzi is associated with raccoon excrement as are Rickettsia rickettsii, Leptospirosis, and Salmonella.”

    My DH picked up Giardia from contaminated water on a ski trip & almost died from it!!
    I’d be taking DOWN those bird feeders! You could pick up ANY of those germs just from cleaning up & filling your feeders. Do be careful…we don’t want you back in the hospital again…although I STILL remember the photo of your tray tablescape!! LOL LOL LOL


    • Thanks, Rett! Yep, I don’t want to end up back there again either! lol Glad you liked that trayscape. Even though I was sick as a dog and in pain, I was bored out of my skull! It at least filled a few minutes trying to figure out how to take the picture with the ipad, create the post and get the picture into the post.

      • Yikes!!! I must tell my daughter about this, although the raccoons do not come around since she moved!!

  11. My hubby’s uncle sent us some pictures of what squirrels did to his house~~got into the attic and the ceiling damage was horrendous! There was part of the ceiling coming down into the rooms below, all over the furniture and carpets, etc. He tried to get rid of them himself, but ended up having to get professional help. He lives in Georgia too. I have heard something scratching around the chimney and went outside and saw a squirrel running away, I guess they’re wanting to visit us too. Lol~ one time I had left a cooler on the front porch which I kept cat food in for my outside cats. One morning I put my hand in to get the cat food out and out came a possum! He just casually strolled across the porch like ‘sup? I nearly screamed my head off! I’ve never been a ‘girly girl’ but that really got me going~

    • Yikes! I would have had a heart attack, Denise!!!

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      ‘Sup?’ That had me rolling. Also, the screaming of the head off. Haha. That would so be me. πŸ˜€

      • That laid back attitude of Mr. Possum really made me ashamed of myself after my heart stopped jumping out of my chest and the screaming stifled…he was Joe Cool and I was hysterical Miz Human. As my kids say “So derp, Mom”.

  12. I have been using Irish Spring soap that I shave with my grater and put around the plants. This seems to be working quite well. Good luck.

  13. I was thinking chicken wire in the pots, then covered over with a little mulch.

  14. Linda Page says

    I got you in an email today! Hip Hip Hooray!!!!!!!! BNOTP is once again appearing in my email and all is right with the world!! I also got email from 100 Hundred Things 2 Do blog today for the first time since you and other bloggers started having trouble with readers not getting your stuff. Looks like Yahoo or someone fixed it. Love the raccoons BUT they do carry diseases that people can get and can be fatal. My city animal control person told us at a neighborhood meeting to never touch anything raccoons may have handled and use rubber gloves when handling stuff they may have contacted. We were told to keep all food for outside dogs or cats picked up so raccoons won’t get into it and contaminate it.

    • So glad it’s showing up again! You know what’s weird. It had started showing up again for another reader but then stopped. again. Linda, do me a favor and let me know if it stops again. So strange. I’m starting to wonder if there’s also something wrong with Feedburner as well as the other issue of emails getting blocked. I tried to send out todays post via Feedburner between 3-5PM and it failed. It’s been doing that a lot lately.

  15. I’m with the rest of the people who started getting BTNP again and other blogs that I subscribe to. Just when I had given up on Yahoo (I get so frustrated with them) I started getting blogs that I had just given up on.

    • Goldie, the strangest thing…two people who have told me the posts started coming again, just emailed me yesterday and today to say they have stopped again. So I do not know what is going on. One had an AT&T address and the other was sbcglobal, which is owned by AT&T. I’m not sure if the trouble is at AT&T or with Feedburner. I’m starting to suspect Feedburner, as well. Hope it keeps coming for you. If it stops again, please let me know.

  16. Every blog I subscribe to that comes via feedburner has quit coming to my inbox, for about 20 days now. I do receive other blogs though. Any suggestions would be welcome. I thought of getting the bloglovin app, but don’t know much about it.
    Those raccoons can be very mean and will hiss and spit if threatened. Be careful. I suggest you get a shepherds hook pole and hang your bird feeder from that, somewhere you can see it, but not too close to the house. The squirrels love bird food, so maybe they will stay out of your pots if they are occupied eating from the feeder! And most birds don’t seem to bothered by squirrels at the feeder. The squirrels and birds just take turns eating….polite birds in KY!

    • Lauren, the other blogs that you do receive, could you tell me what service they appear to be using. I may move to another service and would love to know what services do seem to be working. Thanks for that info…will be very helpful! You don’t have to name the blogs, just love to know what services do seem to be working.
      Yep, I have them on long shepherd’s hooks but they grab them and pull them inward…little stinkers!

  17. Rebecca Franics says

    You might want to be careful feeding raccoons. I know people that have fed them and thought it was cute to watch them but the thing is they gather up all their friends and relatives to come eat. They can get out of hand quickly. I saw a story about a family that fed them cookies and they became destructive when there were no more cookies. Take care and good luck.

    As you will read in the book Katherine Hepburn likes here grapes sliced a certain way for her chicken salad! ha

    • Yep, I just got to that part…she insists they be sliced long ways and not in half…she felt they tasted better. πŸ™‚ Thanks Rebecca for that warning…that does worry me.

  18. I also need to deal with the squirrels and chipmonks digging in my flower pots. I had forgotten about the blood meal – need to get some for my pots.
    I have been told the same about raccoons out during the day – don’t trust them day or night!

  19. OMG we used to live in a condo that backed up to the woods, I cleared out a spot about 10′ x 10′ to put a birdbath, hanging baskets and planted the area with flowers. When a raccoon showed up we thought it was so cute and started feeding him dry dog food. Well as the months went by more and more raccoons showed up, I’d look out and they would be sitting in my beautiful hanging baskets, squashing them to death, the birdbath had turned to a mud bowl, all my plants were dug up. But my hubs loved them, it got to the point we were putting out 25 lb bags of dog food every two days! Then they tore a hole in my screened room and when we looked they were standing at the glass sliders looking in!! As painful as it was we just had to stop feeding them, there were at least 30 coming around all during the day and night, the neighbors were not liking us for this as it was just getting out of control. So when it comes to raccoons or squirrels I say no to feeding them anything.

    • Thanks, Rena! I feel sorry for them but I guess I need to quit feeding them. They are getting less and less afraid of me and coming earlier and earlier. I saw one this evening around 9PM climbing up the pergola to get to the suet feeder and he just looked at me and didn’t even attempt to run until I went out on the deck. I’ll probably end up with that many too if I continue to feed them. Thanks for the warning.

  20. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    A party in the dirt. Lol. That makes me giggle. I wonder why they do that, what they think they may find? Anyway, just LOOK at his innocent little face, and his fuzzy little chubbiness. I believe him! Awww, they are pesty, but they’re cute little pests. πŸ˜€

    As for the thieving little raccoon, I’d caption it, “Stealing?!! That’s slander! I’ll have you know that birdfeeder FELL onto my paw.”

  21. I use chicken wire to keep the squirrels and raccoons from digging. It’s not particularly attractive, but it’s been effective. Just lay some on the soil and the critters won’t bother the plants. They hate the feel of the stuff.

  22. Pat Cobb says

    I’m am so glad I started getting your emails, I thought I had lost you forever. Thanks for all the information. I have really missed you.

  23. Well I learned something new. Never heard of dried blood. You definitely have a lot of little visitors. xo Laura

  24. What a great photo of the raccoon–you could be a wildlife photographer, seriously! Blood meal–yikes. Did it say on the package what kind of blood was in the blood meal?

    • Thanks, Elena! No, it just said it was a bi-product, so not sure. So far, no more digging, and it’s even rained a few times. So it does seem to be working well.

      • I googled “blood meal ingredients.” Blood meal is made from slaughterhouse blood, mainly cow’s and pig’s blood. I wonder why the squirrels are repelled by blood meal…….interesting.

  25. Bev Dreier says

    The answer to your problem is Check their website and I promise it will work. I’m from Minnesota where nite guard was developed. We use it at our cabin…no more deer eating my hostas. As a plus, it’s solar powered.

  26. After years of agrevation due to squirrels digging up yard bulbs and also digging in pots that have flowers, I found something that works. Buy a roll of black, plastic screening (not netting). This is sturdy and has 1/2 inch openings and is thick. For bulbs, cut a piece and place on top of the dirt. I cut the ends off of metal clothes hangars, which make an anchor for the screening. Do not cut the wires into to make two pcs of wire… this will not anchor. Stick one or two in the ground to anchor the screening. For pots…. cut a circle the size of the top of the pot…then cut an opening in the middle for the plant/flower… not too big. then anchor with the long, metal Us. Explaining the medal anchors is hard to explain.

  27. Marianne in Mo. says

    I’ve had visits from raccoons and their offspring to my feeder too. They cleaned it out every evening for about a week, until we just stopped filling it. And squirrels – we have six that think this is their kitchen! They make a mess on the ground with the seed, then 9 rabbits come for cleanup work! My hubs loves his free standing feeder, which is designed totally for critter climbing ease, and he won’t be deterred by them – he just keeps trying to outsmart them! I’ve heard of the blood meal, and the Irish spring, but have not tried either. I wonder what would happen to the birds if they ingested the soap accidentally. Also heard of using red pepper oil on the seed too. Apparently birds can’t taste it, but squirrels can. And no to moth balls! Some domestic animals find them tempting, and it will kill them!

  28. I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!! Watching “my” birds on the feeders is so enjoyable to me…and then squirrels – a nightmare …so my hubby “made” a conical (Navy speak…”rat” guard) out of copper (malleable) that deterred the squirrels…we’ve seen them “trying” but so far so good…then the raccoon’s moved in…we had to wrap the pole in barbed wire and that has deterred them…so far. We still see them at night “cleaning up” after the birds flip out seeds…but no damage to the feeders. franki

  29. I too have squirrel problems. Last year there was a funny article in Bird and Bloom with suggestions on discouraging squirrels. One was taking plastic forks and sticking them in the dirt with the tines up! So I bought some brown plastic forks and sure enough they leave the planters alone! If you put enough in there is no room for them to dig! Pretty soon foliage covers the dirt and you don’t see the forks. So far so good this year too!

  30. I also found that putting forks and sporks upside down in your flower pots also will keep pests out…if you use clear forks you can’t see them.

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