How To Keep Chipmunks From Digging in Flower Pots

Chipmunks are small ground-dwelling rodents with bushy tails and a keen sense of smell. They may be cute and cuddly, but they can wreak havoc in your garden. They especially love digging up flower pots because they receive great joy and satisfaction from nibbling on buds and juicy new growth from your plants.

Here’s how to keep chipmunks from digging in flower pots:

  1. Use mesh wires.
  2. Place rocks on top of soil.
  3. Stick skewers into the soil.
  4. Protect bulbs with crushed shells.
  5. Make cayenne pepper spray.
  6. Use essential oils.
  7. Soak rags in ammonia.
  8. Make a homemade chipmunk repellent.
  9. Spray apple cider vinegar around your garden.
  10. Use repellents with dried blood meal.
  11. Sprinkle coffee grounds on your flower pots.
  12. Scatter citrus rinds over your soil.
  13. Plant daffodils around your garden.
  14. Scatter predator urine around your flower pots.
  15. Invest in ultrasonic devices.
  16. Use decoy predators.
  17. Set up live traps.
  18. Keep your garden tidy.

This article will provide you with some practical tips on how you can keep chipmunks from digging in your flower pots while also explaining what attracts them there in the first place. We’ll talk about safe and humane ways of driving these unwanted guests away, including DIY repellents, store-bought deterrents, and live traps. Let’s get started!

1. Use Mesh Wires

You can never go wrong with keeping a stash of good ol’ mesh wire in hand for your garden. You can always use it to keep animals, particularly chipmunks, from digging in your flower pots.

Simply secure some mesh wire around your flower pots to make it more challenging for chipmunks to get into them. You can also place mesh wire directly above the soil. If the plant has narrow stems, you can easily make it grow through the gaps in the wires.

If it’s a larger plant, snip the mesh wire to create bigger openings for the plant to push through. Secure with landscape fabric pins so chipmunks can’t lift them off or squeeze underneath.

2. Place Rocks on Top of Soil

Put some fist-sized rocks on top of your flower pots’ soil to keep chipmunks from digging. They will find the rocks too heavy to lift or move, so they will eventually give up and move elsewhere. Rocks with interesting patterns and colors will also add pops of color to your garden’s aesthetic.

3. Stick Skewers Into the Soil

Consider sticking skewers into the soil of your potted plants. Make sure the sharp ends are facing upward so that chipmunks attempting to get into the pot to dig will get a quick jab. This will startle these nervous little rascals enough to make them run away.

Place the skewers close together so that the gaps between them aren’t wide enough for any chipmunk to squeeze through. Stick them halfway into the soil, so they aren’t easily dislodged.

Other items you can use include:

  • Twigs
  • Bamboo
  • Toothpicks
  • Thorny stems

4. Protect Bulbs With Crushed Shells

Chipmunks have a preference for bulbs and seedlings. This is why they love digging in the soil, as they know that such treats may be waiting for them underneath.

To protect your bulbs and seedlings from these furry critters, consider scattering crushed shells around them. This will deter chipmunks from digging and feasting on your plants.

Other items you can use include:

  • Crushed eggshells
  • Ground black pepper
  • Crushed chilies

5. Make Cayenne Pepper Spray

You can take advantage of chipmunks’ keen sense of smell by utilizing scents they detest. One smell they simply cannot stand is cayenne pepper. The sharp, pungent odor will send them scurrying away from your precious flower pots.

Simply mix some cayenne pepper powder and water in a spray bottle. The more cayenne pepper, the better!

Spray this mixture all over your garden, particularly around flower pots and other plants chipmunks seem to love snacking on. Reapply as soon as the scent starts to dissipate.

Pretty soon, you’ll notice that these pesky garden visitors have completely disappeared from your garden.

6. Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are a great way to keep your garden fragrant while keeping these naughty furballs away. As mentioned, their noses are quite sensitive to smells, and they seem to have an aversion to those that are particularly strong and distinct.

Essential oils may seem relaxing and fragrant to us, but they are detestable to chipmunks.

Here are some essential oils chipmunks generally dislike:

  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Garlic

Here’s how to make essential oil spray:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with water.
  2. Add about 5-8 drops of your preferred essential oil.
  3. Add 2-3 drops of dishwashing soap.
  4. Shake well.
  5. Spray all over your flower pots and other plants that seem delicious to chipmunks.

The smell will deter chipmunks and other pesky rodents from exploring your garden. Reapply your essential oil spray when you notice that the fragrance no longer lingers in the air. Essential oils are not at all harmful to plants, so you can use this spray for your garden as often as needed.

7. Soak Rags in Ammonia

You can encourage chipmunks to burrow elsewhere by keeping ammonia-soaked rags in areas you don’t want them in, such as around your flower pots and other potted plants. The distinct smell will repel these rodents and force them to relocate.

Remember to replace the rags weekly since the scent quickly dissipates.

8. Make a Homemade Chipmunk Repellent

This homemade chipmunk repellent combines a few of the smells these mischievous rodents hate. You can spray this around your garden and even directly on your flower pots and plants because it’s entirely organic and safe to use. Spray the mixture regularly to keep chipmunks away.

Here’s a homemade chipmunk repellent recipe worth trying:

  1. Puree about 5 cloves of garlic and 2 medium-sized peppers. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with 1 cup of hot water. Make sure it’s hot and not boiling.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap. This will be the emulsifier for your homemade repellent.
  4. Steep the garlic and pepper puree in the hot soapy water. Wait until the mixture cools down.
  5. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Use a strainer to separate the solids from the liquid.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of castor oil. This functions as a carrier oil and doubles as a potent insect repellent for plants.
  7. Cover your spray bottle and shake well. Make sure all elements are well dispersed.
  8. Spray on your flower pots and other plants. You can also spray this in other areas frequented by chipmunks such as bird feeders, window sills, or in door gaps to stop them from entering your home.

9. Spray Apple Cider Vinegar Around Your Garden

Apple cider vinegar is a quick and easy way to repel chipmunks from your flower pots and garden. Simply fill a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar and spray lightly over the soil in your flower pots and all over your garden.

Pay special attention to areas where you think chipmunks may be burrowing. The pungent odor will irritate their sensitive noses and will force them to go elsewhere to burrow.

10. Use Repellents With Dried Blood Meal

If you want to go the commercial route, purchase chipmunk repellents with dried blood meal as an ingredient. The scent of blood instantly alerts chipmunks of possible danger.

It instigates fear in them and activates their fight or flight instincts. They’ll probably choose the latter since these furry garden rascals are relatively non-confrontational.

11. Sprinkle Coffee Grounds on Your Flower Pots

You can use coffee grounds to keep chipmunks from digging your flower pots. These small rodents detest the strong, bitter scent.

Coffee grounds are completely safe for plants, especially for those that thrive in acidic soil, so you don’t have to worry about any untoward effects. Make a mental note to reapply coffee grounds after each watering and rainfall since they can easily be washed away by water.

Here are some of the acid-loving plants that may benefit from a good sprinkling of coffee grounds:

  • Rhodes
  • Hydrangeas
  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils
  • Rhododendrons
  • Camellias

12. Scatter Citrus Rinds Over Your Soil

The pungent aroma released by citrus rinds is unappealing to chipmunks. Fruits like oranges, limes, and lemons contain a chemical compound called limonene in their rinds, which is responsible for that pungent, citrusy smell. Limonene is effective in keeping plants safe from predators, including chipmunks. 

Cut up some rinds into smaller pieces and scatter them over the soil in your flower pots. Make sure that there are no pulps sticking to the rinds because these can attract ants to your pots. Citrus rinds will also help get rid of smaller pests such as aphids, snails, and ants.

13. Plant Daffodils Around Your Garden

Chipmunks cannot stand daffodils. They hate the smell these lovely flowers give off, probably because the scent spells danger for them. Daffodils are toxic, not only to chipmunks but to other animals and humans as well.

Daffodils contain poisonous chemicals called lycorine and oxalates. The effects of these toxic substances do not always lead to death, but the adverse effects can be pretty severe. All parts of daffodil plants are poisonous, but the highest concentrations of harmful substances can be found in the bulbs.

Here are the adverse effects of lycorine:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver damage

Here are the adverse effects of oxalates:

  • Skin irritations
  • Severe burning of the mouth and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling

Scatter daffodil plants around your garden, particularly near your flower pots, to keep chipmunks from digging them. Remember that daffodils are toxic to other animals and humans, so make sure that these lovely blooms are kept away from the reach of curious children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion.

14. Scatter Predator Urine Around Your Flower Pots

Chipmunks can wreak havoc in your garden, but they can also do some structural damage within your property. They like burrowing – that’s why they love digging in flower pots – but sometimes they also do it underneath retention walls, stairs, or even under your home’s foundation.

It’s vital to drive them away as soon as possible before they cause significant damage.

You don’t have to use actual urine to keep chipmunks from digging and burrowing. That’s a bit over the top and, honestly, quite repulsive.

However, there are specially concocted products available in gardening stores that mimic the scent of predator urine. When chipmunks smell these, they are instantly alerted of danger. They will instinctively steer clear of areas where their predators might be lurking.

Here are some of the chipmunks’ worst enemies:

  • Fox
  • Coyote
  • Owl
  • Hawk
  • Snake
  • Weasel
  • Dog
  • Cat

15. Invest in Ultrasonic Devices

No matter how destructive they can be in your garden, I think we can all agree that poisoning and killing chipmunks are not among our options. Who could muster the willpower to hurt these cute, bushy-tailed little furballs? Additionally, they offer benefits for your garden, especially during the growing season.

Chipmunks are always busy gathering and storing food. They love eating berries, nuts, and mushrooms. They also love seeds, and you can often find them hiding their little stashes of food in various locations inside your garden, including your flower pots.

You should thank them if you suddenly find a gorgeous bunch of sunflowers growing in some obscure spot on your property.

One of the most humane ways of dealing with them is with the help of ultrasonic devices. You can purchase these from gardening shops, hardware stores, and online shops.

These devices emit sounds and vibrations imperceptible to humans but highly unsettling for chipmunks. You can scatter these around your garden to prevent chipmunks from entering and digging your flower pots.

16. Use Decoy Predators

Invest in decoy predators that you can secure in various places around your garden. Make sure to place some near your flower pots to keep chipmunks from approaching and digging in them.

These decoys have motion sensors and will spring into action as soon as a chipmunk gets near. The chipmunk will undoubtedly get scared and will quickly scurry away to safety.

17. Set up Live Traps

Chipmunks are intelligent little creatures. Sometimes, they figure out a way to cheat you at your own game. They learn to adapt in various situations, so the tactics you’ve previously employed to keep them away from digging flower pots may no longer be as effective after a couple of weeks or months.

Setting up live traps may just be the thing for you if you’re at your wit’s end. This ensures that you catch the mischievous culprits and keep them away from your garden for good.

Once caught, you can take them as far away from your home as possible, so they never find their way back. Check the laws in your state pertaining to this since it’s illegal in some areas to relocate chipmunks for fear of them not being able to adapt to the unfamiliar territory.

Remember that a single chipmunk probably has friends and family lurking nearby. It would be best to keep setting up your live traps, even if you’ve already caught 1 or 2 of these naughty rodents. Place them in different locations each time, as chipmunks are known to be quite cunning and smart.

Use different baits to lure chipmunks into your traps. Since chipmunks are creatures of habit, it would be best to place the baits in areas they frequent.

Spend some time observing their behavior. Soon, you’ll notice that they tend to be predictable with the time of day they venture into your garden and the pathways they take to get to your flower pots.

Here are some baits you can use:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts
  • Raisins
  • Prune slices
  • Peanut butter
  • Cereal

You can purchase cage traps from farm shops, hardware stores, and online stores. Just make sure the traps are securely placed so that they do not jiggle or shake when a chipmunk enters since this could quickly scare the rodent away.

For the first 3-5 days, wire the trap doors open and set bait inside. This allows the chipmunk to get used to the traps and identify them as food sources. Doing this significantly reduces your chances of failure.

Remember to check the traps frequently. Remove trapped chipmunks at once since they can cause quite a ruckus and alert the other chipmunks in the area. Moreover, beware that other animals, such as birds, mice, or even one of your pets, may also get caught in the trap.

18. Keep Your Garden Tidy

You may be unknowingly attracting chipmunks to your garden with all the food lying around for them to enjoy.

If you have bird feeders, these undoubtedly cause some spillage, causing tiny seeds to scatter all over the surrounding soil. If you have pets, leaving their food bowls with leftovers out for hours on end will give off an enticing scent that no curious chipmunk could resist.

To reduce the chances of chipmunks investigating the delicious scents coming from your garden, consider doing these:

  • Make it a habit to tidy things up every day.
  • Sweep away bird seeds that have scattered all over the ground.
  • Throw away leftovers in your pet’s food bowl.
  • Don’t leave any food unattended on top of your garden tables and chairs.

Key Takeaways

Chipmunks may seem cute and cuddly, but they can potentially be your worst nightmare in the garden. They can cause quite a bit of damage to your plants with all their burrowing and digging. They can also cause dangerous structural damage to your property.

There’s no single most effective way to keep them away from your flower pots. It’s best to experiment with the options discussed above so you can decide which are best suited to you.

Remember that chipmunks are practically harmless despite being pretty destructive to your plants. Deal with them in the most humane way possible.

Sometimes chipmunks even eat foliage in your garden. This is why I wrote this helpful article on methods to keep chipmunks from eating hostas. Don’t miss it: How To Keep Chipmunks From Eating Hostas

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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