Squirrels are a pesky problem for flower gardeners in rural and urban areas alike. But there are flowers that are unappealing to these animals and will deter squirrels from venturing into the flower bed in search of lunch. Starving pests such as squirrels, moles and deer may be willing to consume just about anything, but there are certain plants the average critter will not go much farther than in pursuit of a meal.
Crown imperials (Fritillaria imperialis) feature striking large bell-shaped flowers in bright colors like orange, red and yellow. Crown imperial is commonly found in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. These flowers grow to be as tall as 3 feet and prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Squirrels rarely eat this plant, which in addition to having a strong odor, can be slightly poisonous.
Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) are another bulb plant that does not seem to appeal to squirrels. According to eXtension, an educational resource online, common hyacinth won’t deter a starving squirrel but it will not attract the pests either. Common hyacinth is found in hardiness zones 3 through 9 and thrives in full sun and most soil conditions. The flowers feature white, pink, red, blue or lavender blossoms as well as sword-shaped green leaves.
Giant alliums (Allium giganteum) consist of a large globe-shaped flower on top of a tall stalk. The flowers are commonly purple and comprise several small clusters that come together to create a globe. These flowers, closely related to the onion family, are rarely eaten by squirrels because of their strong onion-like odor and taste. Giant alliums thrive throughout hardiness zones 4 through 9 and prefer full sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are annual flowers that feature bright orange, red or white blossoms. These are a flower garden staple. In addition to their blooms, marigolds are effective at keeping squirrels away because of their strong and pungent odor. Marigolds are common throughout the United States and thrive in full sun and moist to dry soil conditions.
Lantana (Lantana camara) is a true survivor. In addition to deterring squirrels, this annual will often discourage other garden pests such as deer and rabbits. Lantana is drought tolerant once established and thrives in full sun. Lantana grows in a creeping fashion and features bright blooms in red, purple, orange, yellow, pink and white.