These Plants Will Repel Backyard Critters

Deer, squirrels and groundhogs, oh my! Consider these plants and flowers to prevent unwanted creatures from turning your Bergen County garden into lunch.
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Currently at war with a groundhog? Some deer? Other unwanted creatures that are ruining that garden you waited all year to tend to? You don’t need to succumb entirely to the idea that your hard-earned flowers will become somebody else’s afternoon snack. There are plenty of plants and garden veggies that you can plant that your uninvited backyard guests won’t be as inclined to munch on.

Sure, nothing is completely creature-proof, but if you use some of these animal-resistant plants in your backyard this spring, you’re more likely to see them thrive and stay alive.

Deer and Rabbits

These critters tend to stay away from plants that are too fragrant, so bushes and plants such as butterfly bushes, lavender, yarrows, salvias, thyme and boxwoods (a type of evergreen) are safe in your yard, according to Almost Perfect Landscaping in Paramus, as are shrubs like forsythia and spirea. Daffodils, which are currently in full bloom, as well as hellebores and aconitum are poisonous to deer, so they’ll steer clear of these types of flora too. Rabbits will make a beeline in the other direction if they scout out foxglove, geranium and black-eyed Susan, as well as many of the plants mentioned above, says


“Scents like white pepper, black pepper, garlic and mint are naturally unpleasant to a squirrel,” according to Goffle Brook Farms in Ridgewood. You can buy or (DIY) a pepper spray and apply it to your plants to keep them away, or plant certain flowers that will repel them naturally, such as daffodils, fritillaries, Galanthus, geraniums, hyacinths and lily of the valley. Alliums are a perfect stay-away tactic too, since they’re the flowering parts of onion, scallion and garlic plants, all major no-no’s for those acorn-loving visitors.


These little guys also dislike the aroma of onion and garlic, herbs such as chive, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano, as well as lavender-colored or scented flowers, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. They’re also not fans of larkspur, butterfly weed, bleeding heart or sweet alyssum.


The best way to keep insects out of your garden, mosquitos especially, is to eliminate any standing water sources in your yard, says Borst Landscape in Allendale. This includes bird baths, muddy puddles around drains or water collected in kids’ toys such as buckets or water tables. Make a conscious effort to empty out the puddles after big rainfalls. As far as vegetation is concerned, mosquitos are not attracted to smelly flowers such as marigold and catmint, which typically bloom in late spring and last through the summer.

What other plants and flowers will you plant this spring? Share your suggestions with us @bergenmagnj.

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