Do Squirrels Eat Dahlias?

Watching flowers and plants grow in your garden helps you feel a sense of accomplishment. However, one plant that many people struggle with is dahlias. Is it slugs? Is it snails? Or is it something else eating your dahlia? Perhaps you need to ask: Do squirrels eat dahlias?

So, do squirrels eat dahlias? Yes, squirrels do eat dahlias, unfortunately.

Squirrels are one of the many animals that eat dahlias. These small mammals love to dig around dahlias and subsequently eat their tubers. Although squirrels consume the bulbs of pretty much any plant, dahlias seem to be one of their favourites.

Apart from the tubers, which squirrels seem to enjoy, they also eat the top of the dahlia plants. So how do you get rid of squirrels and prevent them from eating your dahlias?

How to Stop Squirrels from Eating Dahlias

If you have been planting dahlias in your garden and getting disappointed because a squirrel keeps eating them, we have some solutions for you:

Natural Squirrel Deterrents 

To save your dahlias from destruction, you can use natural deterrents.

For example, you can use strong-smelling spices such as cayenne pepper. Mix cayenne pepper with vinegar (or even water) in a spray bottle and give it a good shake. You can then spray the cayenne pepper in your garden and around your dahlia plant.

While squirrels hate the smell of smoky pepper, they will also find it irritating if it gets into their eyes and nose. You can also try paprika, black pepper or dried chillies.

Interplant with Repelling Plants

Another way to stop squirrels is to plant your dahlia plants among other plants which they hate. For example, you can grow plants like lily of the valley, hyacinth, and daffodils which squirrels hate.

To reach the dahlia plant, your squirrel will have to tackle the other plants so may choose to avoid it altogether. 

Squirrels Daffodils Prevention

Use Urine

You can also trick squirrels into thinking that there is another predator nearby. If you spray another animal’s urine around, the squirrels will sense the presence of a predator and will not enter your garden.

If you are wondering about spraying another animal’s urine, do not worry. You don’t need to grab a cat and get it to urinate into a bottle for you. You can get commercial repellents that have the same odour.

Spray Vinegar

Another method you can use is to create a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. The strong smell of apple cider vinegar will keep the squirrels from entering your garden and eating dahlias. You can spray this mixture, focusing around your dahlia plant. 

Remove Attractions

Often squirrels will keep returning to the same place if there is a food source. If you have food out for the birds, especially a bird feeder, consider removing it.

A bird feeder attracts squirrels because they like to mess with the birds and eat bird food. 

Will Squirrels Dig Up Dahlia Tubers?

Squirrels love to consume nuts and acorns. However, they may also dig up bulbs and tubers. Many people become confused because squirrels are not big fans of bulbs. 

When squirrels come across land that has been freshly dug, they will continue to dig into it. The reason behind this is that squirrels assume that there has been food hidden under by other squirrels. Therefore, squirrels will dig up dahlia tubers not necessarily to eat the tubers but to find out what’s been buried.

How to Stop Squirrels from Digging Dahlia Tubers

It is not only dahlia tubers that are at risk but rather all of them. For the most part, squirrels enjoy digging bulbs, and this is a persisting problem. However, you can implement a few tricks to stop squirrels from digging bulbs and watching dahlias bloom in your garden. 

An easy solution to the problem is to learn how to protect the dahlia bulbs. You can protect the bulbs by creating an enclosure around them. You can cover the dahlia bulbs with chicken wire, so squirrels cannot reach and dig for the bulbs.

Take some chicken wire which is big enough to cover the area where you have dahlia bulbs. You can lay the chicken wire flat on the surface and put a heavy object on it, such as rocks, so it stays put. 

Another thing you can do to avoid squirrels is to stop using natural fertilizers. This may seem like a small change, but it makes a big difference. Natural fertilizers like fish emulsion and blood meal have strong and pungent smells, attracting squirrels to gardens. 

Squirrels will dig dahlia bulbs if they are hungry. A way to stop squirrels from digging the bulbs is to divert their attention to an alternate food source. However, many people do not like this idea because they believe that it only attracts squirrels more.

Many people refrain from planting dahlia tubers too early in the season. Instead, wait for the time when squirrels have collected most of their food. You can wait until late October to plant dahlia bulbs. Then, with little squirrels insight, your bulbs will be safe from destruction. 


One of the most common problems that gardeners face is keeping out pests. One such pest that destroys plants and gardens is squirrels.

People who love planting dahlias in their gardens find that squirrels will eat them. However, there are several ways you can stop squirrels from eating dahlias. The first thing you can do is sprinkle hot pepper such as cayenne in your garden or near the dahlia plant. Another method to stop squirrels from eating dahlias is to spray apple cider vinegar or commercially available animal urine. 

Squirrels will dig dahlia bulbs and tubes because they assume that freshly dug earth means there is food hidden inside by other squirrels. You can avoid squirrels from digging bulbs by protecting them with chicken wire. Moreover, you can also keep an alternate food source for squirrels to divert their attention.

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