How to Deter Squirrels from Digging Up Bulbs

Squirrels can be very destructive in gardens and one of their more destructive habits is digging up planted bulbs. Let’s have a look at some methods that can help to stop squirrels from bothering your bulbs.

Why Do Squirrels Dig up Bulbs?

First of all, let’s have a look at why squirrels dig up bulbs. There are many bulbs that squirrels dislike and even more that provide no nutritional benefit to them.

That being said, there are a very small number of bulbs that squirrels do like so, it is a possibility that they are digging up bulbs in your garden which they like.

The other reason is that they are foraging. Particularly with bulbs that have not grown yet. To squirrels, the ground looks very similar to where a squirrel hides food to retrieve it later.

Some squirrels simply dig up the bulbs hoping to find food and then leave the area a mess when they realise there aren’t any treats for them.

What Bulbs do Squirrels Like?

Keeping your bulbs healthy is a lot easier if you aren’t planting ones that squirrels like.

The main, and quite possibly only, bulb that squirrels like are tulips.

They seem to be very fond of digging up these plants so one of the easiest ways to avoid attracting squirrels to your bulb patches is to not use tulip bulbs.

However, if you have tulips and don’t want to get rid of them, there are some other things you can do to keep them squirrel free.

Squirrels Like Tulips

How to Deter Squirrels from Digging up Bulbs

You can use many methods to deter squirrels from digging up bulbs that are all natural, meaning that they do not involve the use of rodenticide or any other environmentally harmful substances.

Chicken Wire

Arguably, this is not the prettiest option to use, but it does work.

Laying chicken wire over the grow where your bulbs are planted will prevent squirrels from getting into the soil and digging it up.

However, chicken wire can be dangerous if you have pets that roam around the garden and it also may prevent your flowers from growing to their full potential due to restricted space.

[lasso ref=”chicken-wire-with-cutters” id=”1855″ link_id=”494″]

Use Peppers

Squirrels hate the smell of pepper, particularly spicy peppers such as cayenne pepper. You can grind cayenne pepper on the ground next to areas of frequently disturbed plants. The squirrels will then avoid these areas because of the off-putting smell.

Plant Squirrel Deterrents

There are individual plants that squirrels absolutely despise, many of which are bulbous. So, if you want a bulb patch you can simply plant some of these repellent plants.

Or, alternatively, you can intersperse these bulbs with other flowers that are being dug up by squirrels as it will keep them away from any plants in close vicinity.

These methods appear to be the most tried and trusted by gardeners across the UK. Of course, there is debate about their effectiveness. If all of these methods fail for you then there is the possibility that something else is digging up your bulbs.

What Bulbs do Squirrels Hate?

If you want to plant some bulbs that squirrels hate, then you very well need to know what bulbs deter squirrels. Here is a list of some popular bulbs which are disliked by squirrels.


Hyacinths have a strong smell and come in a large variety of lovely colours. These plants work well when planted in a dense group and using a dense group of hyacinths will keep squirrels away from most, if not all, of your garden.


These beautiful yellow flowers are actually toxic to squirrels. Therefore, squirrels know how to smell daffodils and will avoid them as best as they can. These are good bulbs to use if you simply want to intersperse a few in flower beds that are often disturbed.

Are Daffodils Poisonous to Squirrels


These bulbs are related closely to onion plants and much like their vegetable counterpart, the smell of these flowering plants is strongly disliked by squirrels.


To conclude this article, here are a few main points to take away. Squirrels will dig up bulbs in search of food. You should avoid planting tulips as squirrels are a big fan of these plants.

To prevent squirrels from disturbing your bulbs you can use chicken wire, sprinkle cayenne pepper on the soil or plant bulbs that squirrels despise such as daffodils and hyacinths.

2 thoughts on “How to Deter Squirrels from Digging Up Bulbs”

  1. None of the above worked for me. The squirrels have dug up Alium, Daffodils and Hyacinths. They seem able to pry up and dig under chicken wire. Even small strips of chicken wire embedded in the soil have been dug up. Weighting the chicken wire down with stones hasn’t worked either. I’ve sprinkled cayenne pepper and chilli flakes liberally, no effect. Tried electronic repellers, no success with those.
    If they like tulips they love crocus.
    They don’t just dg up bulbs, they dig up and pull out bedding plants. My garden is a mess, I’ve spent a fortune and I’m getting desperate.

    • Certainly sounds like you’ve been plagued with incredibly persistent squirrels! You could potentially try a bulb planting tray? You place your bulbs into the tray and then bury it so they can be lifted. But what you could do before burying it is try wrapping the whole thing in chicken wire.


Leave a Comment

Latest Reads

Are Black Cats Bad Luck

Are Black Cats Bad Luck?

Does Cinnamon Deter Cats

Does Cinnamon Deter Cats?

Do Slugs Eat Chives

Do Slugs Eat Chives