Gardening expert shares how to use spices to ‘deter’ animals from ruining your plants

Gardening expert gives tips on deterring pets and pests

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Patch Plants expert Alice Vincent has shared how to “deter” animals and birds from messing with your plants. Alice said in a YouTube video for Patch Plants in 2019 that plants are likely to get visited by animals. She explained: “Whether you’ve got a window box a roof terrace or a balcony, urban gardens are prone to visitors whether that’s squirrels and foxes or your cat.

“This means that your plants are going to have interference from animals

“In some cases this can be really bad for the animal, and if that’s your cat or dog, you need to know about it.”

Alice also recommended checking whether your plant is safe to be around your pets.

The gardening expert said squirrels and pigeons are common pests that can “mess” with plants.

She continued: “My balcony looks out into woodland which is lovely but it does mean that I have to wage a daily battle with squirrels and pigeons.

“So here are some of the techniques that I try to use which are as cheap and un-invaded as possible and can help keep them at bay.”

One of the ways you can deter animals is by putting hot spices on the soil of plant containers.

She added: “While some humans really like spicy things wild animals don’t.

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“Tabasco, chilli powder, curry powder, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper anything that’s got a hint of spice can be put on the soil of your plants to keep them [animals] away.

“It’s really simple, just take your plant and put a few drops of tabasco or sprinkle some chilli powder onto the soil.

“It won’t damage the plant but it will get into the snouts of those little critters and deter them.”

For pigeons, you can use old CDs or other shiny materials like tin foil to deter them.

Alice said: “As for pigeons, they really hate shiny things so you know if you’ve got some CDs kicking around from the ‘90s you can hang those up but what might be more likely is tin foil.

“Just rip some off, tear it up and put it underneath where your pots are and that will stop them from being tempted to nest in your balcony or your roof garden.”

Cats and foxes also have a habit of walking and fouling on plant soil.

To stop them doing this, you can put gravel, twigs or other hard, spiky materials on the soil around your plants.

Alice added: “Anything that’s got paws generally doesn’t like walking on uncomfortable surfaces which means that you can transform the soft claw-able soil of your plants into something more uncomfortable.

“So you can stick some twigs in the soil at small intervals or take some gravel or stone chips – anything that’s got a bit of a rough surface.

“And you can just put this on the surface of your plant’s soil as well.

“It will help keep weeds at bay and also stop evaporation so all in all, not a bad idea.”

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