Destroyed by squirrels

ptwonlineMay 5, 2014

Are there any varieties of Heuchera that do not get destroyed by squirrels?

I have planted Sugar Plum Heuchera twice now. The first lasted about 4 hours before the squirrels destroyed it. The second one I got lasted into the evening, and I woke up the next morning to find it in 20 pieces. Nothing left but broken stems and scattered leaves.

Squirrels dig in my garden all the time but I have never seen them outright destroy a plant like they did these two Sugar Plums. I had never planted Heuchera before. Is it the variety (Sugar Plum) that makes them do it, or is it Heuchera of any sort?

The nearby Hostas and Brunnera had some digging near the roots, but nothing like the destruction of the Heucheras.


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I have a "squirrel freeway" through my backyard, so I know of the damage that they can do. I've had them tear up and dig up many things, heuchera included. This year, they shredded up one of my hostas, ate and shredded my newly planted spikemoss, and even dug up some of my sedum. They also eat many of my bulbs every year; especially tulips. I don't think they're partial to heuchera, though. They seem to do damage to lots of stuff straight across the board. It could be that they're attracted to a certain area in your yard, as opposed to liking that particular plant. I did read once that rabbits like to eat heuchera, so it stands to reason that squirrels (being rodents) might find them tasty as well.

There is a squirrel deterrant spray that you can buy. Probably a lot like deer repellant. I've never used it, though. I find the best squirrel deterrant I have is my dog! She hates them and they know it. Ever since I got her, they tend to spend less time hanging around.

This post was edited by flower-frenzy on Mon, May 12, 14 at 1:57

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:31PM
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The damage is significantly worse in the heuchera bed in back, than in front under the hosta. Stupid me, feeds the birds in the back yard, which really means I feed squirrels and it's my own fault! I run a buffet.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:24PM
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Somewhere on this club site I read that sprinkling a little cayenne pepper around the base of the Heuchera will deter the squirrels! Maybe whoever it was will update you. I have squirrels on my place (about 4 so far) but there is bird food around so they don't bother my Heuchs (so far) but I am getting some cayenne pepper just in case. I have Heuchs both in pots and in the ground.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:46PM
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I've never tried cayenne to deter the squirrels, but it does work nicely to keep my neighbors' cat "Chaos" from pooping in my flower beds. I'm going to try it in my pots. The squirrels seem to favor digging in them.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:16AM
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Shorty_CA(10B CA)

People laugh at me but I made an agreement with my city squirrels to feed them in exchange for them leaving my garden alone. I buy sunflower seeds for them and occasionally nuts.

It works and for me is well worth the cost of buying them sunflower seeds.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:24PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

We've fed the squirrels for the twenty years we've lived in this house and never had any damage to house or garden. It always baffles me when I read such posts...

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 11:58AM
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My wife feeds the squirrels and they have not damaged any plants. But, the rabbits are eating my Marigolds. Do rabbits go for Heuchs?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Those of you who've never had problems with squirrel damage should definitely count your blessings! I think they're so cute and used to love to watch them, but now have mixed emotions about them. It sounds like the key may be offering them an alternate food source.

HH-I've never known rabbits to go for heuchs when there are other tastier treats available. They've eaten my hostas and even my bearded irises, but never my heuchies. I have read, however, that rabbits will eat you may want to keep an eye out for nibbles.

This post was edited by flower-frenzy on Thu, May 29, 14 at 21:21

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 9:17PM
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My neighbors feed peanuts to the squirrels and they haven't bothered my Heucheras, but they do eat the Helenium anyway. I'm glad that some folks don't have a problem with them, but I am really tired of finding peanuts all over my yard. I sing "Found a peanut" all the day long.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Check out this link. I have had success using Liquid Fence repellant for deer and it looks like the company is developing a product to repel squirrels.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 9:02AM
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leafwatcher(zone 5)

The rabbits around here absolutely LOVE my Southern Comfort, had to cage it to save it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 3:31AM
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I use Messina deer repellent and have not had trouble with critters. They do have squirrel repellent as well. It doesn't smell as bad as other repellents.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 7:23PM
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The squirrels replant bulbs in my yard and beyond. I have noticed some of my gladiolus growing in the neighbor's yard. They decapitate the tulips, but don't eat the blossoms. Are they drinking from the stems? I find piles of camellia petals far, far from the camellia shrubs. I have had some heuchera disappear altogether. Bunnies are late winter desperation shrub munchers. In all but the coldest months, however, I find that the compost pile helps. I call it the bunny feeding station. Yum, yum, celery leaves, cabbage cores and carrot tops. The squirrels like corn cobs.

We had a harsh winter though and the numbers of squirrels and bunnies are way down.

The destruction is annoying, but I would miss them if they were gone.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 5:40PM
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I have had squirrel damage to my heuchera (and hosta) under my Oak but not elsewhere in my garden. One day I saw I was missing a recently planted heuchera. I saw a stem nearby and followed the trail of heuchera bits. I found the crown of the heucera with a few leaves attached about a yard away under a large hosta. I replanted, cageded it until it developed roots, and it survived. Its the Oak that is the problem. They love that tree.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 9:07PM
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