By Anne Baley
Gardeners and squirrels have been facing off for as long as anyone can remember. These wily rodents defeat just about any fence, deterrent or contraption designed to keep them away from gardens and flower beds. If you’re tired of squirrels digging up and snacking on your delicate tulip and crocus bulbs, defeat them another way by growing bulbs avoided by squirrels. The pests can easily find tastier food in another yard, so planting bulb plants squirrels don’t like is the easiest way to grow perennial flowers without worrying about underground raiders.
Flower Bulbs That Deter Squirrels
Unlike larger animals, such as deer, who nibble on leaves and flowers, squirrels get right to the heart of the matter and dig up the bulbs themselves. They will eat just about any bulb if they are starving, but squirrel resistant flower bulbs all have some quality that makes them unattractive. Any bulbs with a poisonous ingredient or milky sap are the ones least likely to be dug up and carried away, as well as those that simply don’t taste as good as the rest of your garden.
Bulbs Avoided by Squirrels
Flower bulbs that deter squirrels will sprout and bloom any time of the growing season. It’s simple to fill a flower bed with blooms from spring until fall, as long as you stick with bulb plants squirrels don’t like. Some of the most popular varieties are:
- Fritillaria – These distinctive plants can grow up to 5 feet tall and offer a huge variety of bloom shapes and colors. Some of them even sprout petals covered in a checkerboard design.
- Daffodils – One of the most reliable heralds of spring, daffodils are garden staples that squirrels hate to eat. Their cup-shaped blooms stand on 18-inch stems and look best massed in beds.
- Glory of the Snow – If you love crocus for its ability to burst through snow early in the spring, you’ll love this plant for the same reason. Its star-shaped blue flowers provide a welcome hint that winter is almost over.
- Hyacinth – This sturdy bloomer comes in a rainbow of colors, from all shades of reds to a variety of cool blues and purples. Like most perennial bulb plants, it looks most impressive massed in groups of at least 10 plants.
- Alliums – These onion relatives have large, round flowers in shades of white, pink, purple, yellow and blue.
- Lily-of-the-Valley – The stems of this plant are covered with tiny white, nodding bell-shaped flowers that have a sweet perfume and medium-bright green, lance-shaped leaves. Even better is the fact that they will thrive in shady areas of the garden.
- Siberian Iris – These plants offer early season color and intricate, frilly flowers that squirrels will avoid.