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How to Grow: Protecting Bulbs
Learn how to protect your newly planted bulbs from animals such as squirrels and mice.
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Planting spring flowering bulbs is an act of supreme faith. We hopefully pop our tulips, crocus and hyacinth bulbs into the soil now with dreams of a rainbow of colors next spring. Unfortunately, we aren’t the only ones loving those bulbs. Squirrels, chipmunks and mice are just some of the creatures that will happily munch on your bulbs under ground so that come spring all you might see in your garden are the weeds you missed last fall.
Sprinkling some crushed seashells, sharp sand and sharp gravel into the hole when planting may help thwart these critters. For those gardeners obsessed with their bulb’s survival you can even plant bulbs in wire cages buried in the ground. But an easier solution is to grow bulbs that the critters don’t like.
The first is the common daffodil. This bulb is in the amaryllis family and contains a toxin that will kill any squirrel or rodent dumb enough to keep eating it. Others in this family include snow drops and spring snowflakes. Lily family spring flowering bulbs, such as fritillaria and grape hyacinths or muscari, aren’t toxic to squirrels, but have a distasteful flavor. Of course, any of the alliums or flowering onion bulbs, while good for your squirrels heart health, will tend to be avoided.
If you’re hell bent on growing those tulips and crocus that squirrels love, consider mixing your bulb types in the same hole. Planting some bulbs that squirrels won’t like close to your prized bulbs not only adds more color in spring, but also may discourage the critters from eating all the bulbs in the hole.
From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio