chipmunk eating a seed in a garden

9 Plants That Repel Chipmunks: A Handy Guide for Your Garden

Picture this – you’ve been spending countless hours perfecting your garden, nurturing your plants, and lovingly tending to each and every flower. Then, out of nowhere, a cute but insidious little chipmunk shows up and wreaks havoc on your meticulously cared for sanctuary. Frustrating, right?

You’ve tried everything, from humane traps to pest repellents, but nothing seems to keep these pesky intruders away. Chipmunks can cause significant damage to your garden, devouring your bulbs, nibbling on your vegetables, and digging tunnels that undermine the structure of your flower beds and paths. The result? A decimated garden and a frustrated you. And let’s be honest, who needs one more battle to fight in their own backyard?

But what if I told you there’s a more natural way to deter these little raiders? That’s right! By strategically selecting and planting chipmunk-repelling plants, you can create a landscape that’s beautiful for you and less appealing to them.

In today’s post, we’re going to explore the power of plants that deter chipmunks. We’ll walk you through a list of plants that chipmunks tend to avoid, tips on how to incorporate them into your existing garden, and how these plant choices can complement your current pest management strategies.

So, let’s put on our gardening gloves, pick up that trowel, and reclaim your garden from the clutches of chipmunks. It’s time to garden smarter, not harder!

Common Chipmunk-Repelling Plants

As you’re working on your garden, consider incorporating some plants that repel chipmunks. By doing so, you’ll protect your garden from damage and create a more harmonious outdoor space. In this section, we’ll explore a few popular chipmunk-repelling plants, including Garlic and Onions, Daffodils and Tulips, and Euphorbia.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions are like the superheroes of your garden, going beyond their call of duty. Their pungent smell, which we often savor in our kitchen, acts as a natural deterrent to keep chipmunks at bay. Who knew that the same scents that make our dishes delectable could double as an invisible shield for our gardens?

Garlic growing in a garden as a barrier to repel chipmunks.

When chipmunks encounter the strong odors of these plants, they quickly turn the other way. Their sensitive noses find the aroma too intense, making your garlic and onion plants, and the surrounding area, a no-go zone. It’s like having a bouncer who keeps unwanted pests from crashing your garden party. 

But the brilliance of planting garlic and onions doesn’t stop there. Other pesky critters, like aphids, slugs, and carrot flies, also tend to give these plants a wide berth. So, while your garlic and onion plants are working hard to repel chipmunks, they’re also helping manage a broader spectrum of garden pests. 

And let’s not forget the added bonus – a fresh, homegrown supply of flavorful garlic and onions for your kitchen. Imagine the joy of stepping into your garden to harvest fresh ingredients for your meals, knowing that each plant is serving a dual purpose. 

Daffodils and Tulips

Daffodils, with their cheerful yellow blossoms, are more than just a pretty face. These hardy flowers come with a built-in defense system containing natural toxins that chipmunks and many other pests find distinctly unappetizing. It’s as if Mother Nature herself decided to create a flower that pleases human eyes while making chipmunks scrunch up their noses. 

Yellow and Cream Daffodils growing in a garden as a way to repel chipmunks

And then there are tulips, another plant that repels chipmunks. Their radiant colors and elegant shapes are a feast for our eyes, but it’s their scent that keeps chipmunks at a distance. This perfume, which might seem subtle to us, is a powerful deterrent for chipmunks. Planting these beautiful blooms can create a fragrant force field that our furry friends will think twice about crossing.

By incorporating daffodils and tulips into your garden, you are not just creating a stunning visual display. You’re also crafting a strategic layout that will help keep chipmunks away from your treasured plants. It’s the perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality.


Euphorbia, or as it’s commonly known, spurge is an impressive family with over 2,000 unique members. What makes many in this clan stand out in the pest deterrent game, particularly against chipmunks, is their milky sap. This sap is not just poisonous, but it’s also downright distasteful to our chipmunk friends. 

Euphorbia, also known as spurge  with pink blossoms

What’s more, Euphorbia plants don’t just serve a functional purpose; they bring an element of intrigue to your garden with their unique aesthetics. So while they’re busy warding off chipmunks, they’re also contributing to your garden’s visual appeal. 

Now, when it comes to selecting chipmunk-repelling plants, it’s crucial to remember that your garden is as individual as you are. The right choices will depend on your specific gardening preferences, climate, and overall vision for your space. The plants we’ve explored, including garlic, onions, daffodils, tulips, and Euphorbia, are excellent starting points in creating a garden that is not only an eye-catching showpiece but also a fortress against chipmunks.

French Marigolds

Bursting with vibrant orange and yellow hues, French marigolds are a cheerful sight to behold in any garden. But don’t be fooled by their sunny disposition; these pretty flowers are hard at work keeping those pesky chipmunks at bay.

French marigolds that are a red and yellow color being grown in a vegetable garden to repel chipmunks and other pests.

French marigolds emit a distinctive, pungent scent that, while pleasant and floral to us humans, isn’t quite to the liking of chipmunks. Much like the other plants we’ve discussed, the aroma that these marigolds give off serves as a natural deterrent to chipmunks and even some other garden pests.

But there’s more to the French marigold’s chipmunk-repelling properties. Did you know they produce a compound called alpha-terthienyl in their roots? This compound is known for its potent insecticidal and nematocidal properties. While it’s mainly used to control nematodes in the soil, it seems chipmunks aren’t too fond of it either.

Planting French marigolds around your garden acts as an aromatic border wall. Their vivid colors brighten up your garden, and their smell and root secretions keep chipmunks from making themselves at home amongst your plants. 

So, if you’re looking for a blend of beauty and practicality, consider French marigolds. These garden stalwarts not only add a burst of color to your outdoor space, but they also work tirelessly to ensure that your garden remains a chipmunk-free zone.

Herbs That Deter Chipmunks

Chipmunks can be a nuisance in your garden, but there are natural ways to repel them. By growing specific herbs, you can keep chipmunks at bay while improving the aesthetic and vibrancy of your garden. Let’s take a look at the use of Mint, Lavender, and Thyme as chipmunk deterrents.

Mint and Lavender

Have you ever caught a whiff of fresh mint or lavender on a gentle breeze? Absolutely refreshing, isn’t it? But guess what? Those same lovely aromas that we cherish are a veritable force field against chipmunks. These critters find the strong scents of mint and lavender overwhelming and would rather keep their distance than traipse through your garden. 

Lavander growing in a vegetable garden as a companion plant to repel chipmunks and other pests.

Imagine it: you’re cultivating your very own natural pest repellent that also doubles as an ingredient in your kitchen or as a relaxing fragrance for your home. Mint, with its zesty punch, can freshen up a glass of iced tea or a summer salad. Lavender, on the other hand, has a soothing scent that’s perfect for calming your senses after a long day, maybe in a relaxing bath or as a dried bouquet in your bedroom.

But these plants don’t just stop at repelling chipmunks. Many other garden invaders, including aphids and mosquitoes, are known to steer clear of these fragrant herbs. So while you’re enjoying your aromatic garden and reaping the benefits of fresh herbs, mint and lavender are on the job, protecting your garden from a variety of unwelcome visitors.

Planting Tips:

  • Plant mint and lavender around the perimeter of your garden to create a barrier against chipmunks.
  • Mint can be invasive, so it’s a good idea to plant it in containers to prevent it from spreading too much.
  • Lavender thrives in well-drained soil and full sun, making it a great addition to sunny spots in your garden.


Thyme is a real trooper in your garden. Not only is it a hardy perennial that can withstand various climate conditions, but it also grows low to the ground, creating a lush carpet across your garden bed. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but think of it this way – this thick ground cover forms a barrier that chipmunks aren’t too fond of navigating. 

Creeping thyme in bloom with little purple flowers.

Now, let’s add in the potent scent that thyme emits. To us, it’s a pleasant, earthy aroma that transports us straight to a Mediterranean kitchen. But to a chipmunk, it’s a strong and uninviting smell that screams, “keep out!” Combined with its dense growth, the smell makes thyme a formidable adversary for these little critters.

And remember, thyme isn’t just an effective deterrent against chipmunks. This herb brings plenty of positives for you, too. Think of those cozy evenings in the kitchen, adding your homegrown thyme to a warming stew or sprinkling it over roasted vegetables. Mmm, can you smell that?

Planting Tips:

  • Place thyme plants along walkways, garden beds, and around other plants you want to protect from chipmunks.
  • Thyme prefers full sun and well-draining soil, making it suitable for rock gardens or alongside other sun-loving herbs.
  • Consider using different varieties of thyme, such as creeping thyme or lemon thyme, to add color and variety to your garden.

By incorporating these herbs into your garden design, you can effectively repel chipmunks and keep your plants safe. Not only will your garden benefit from their protective properties, but you’ll also enjoy the beautiful and fragrant additions to your outdoor space.

Planting Strategies for Chipmunk Control

Companion Planting

Companion planting is a great way to repel chipmunks while benefiting your garden’s overall health. By pairing specific plants, you can create a natural defense system against these pesky critters. For example, marigolds have a strong fragrance that is believed to keep chipmunks at bay. You can plant marigolds near vegetables and fruits, such as cucumbers and melons, to protect them from various pests, including aphids, nematodes, as well as chipmunks. Another effective companion plant is the daffodil.  It can both repel chipmunks and draw pollinators to your garden.

Creating a Repellent Barrier

Designing a repellent barrier around your garden can effectively keep chipmunks away from your precious plants. Use plants with strong scents or irritants in a strategic layout to discourage chipmunks from entering your garden. Here are some options for creating a repellent barrier:

  • Cayenne pepper:Now, it might sound a bit unconventional, but think about it – much like some of us at the dinner table, these critters are not fans of spicy food. The strong, pungent smell and the heat from the cayenne pepper or hot spices are likely to make them think twice before burrowing into your soil. Plus, this tactic is both easy and cost-effective, using common ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Remember, sometimes the simplest solutions can be the most effective in maintaining the balance in our gardens.
  • Bulbs: Plant bulbs like glory-of-the-snow and daffodils, as chipmunks find these plants less appealing and are known to keep them away. These vibrant bulbs not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your garden with their stunning blossoms, but they also work subtly in the background, serving as your garden’s silent protectors. It’s an ingenious way of combining beauty and practicality, creating a garden space that thrills your senses while naturally discouraging unwanted chipmunk visits. With plants like glory-of-the-snow and daffodils, you’re not just gardening; you’re strategically curating a space that is as resilient as it is captivating.
  • Herbs: The power of herbs goes beyond their culinary uses. Many herbs, such as thyme, mint, and lavender, have strong scents that chipmunks find off-putting. Take thyme, for instance. This hardy, low-growing herb not only forms a dense ground cover that chipmunks dislike navigating, but it also emits a potent scent that they find unpleasant. Mint and lavender, too, carry strong fragrances that can deter these little critters. And the best part? You get to enjoy these herbs in your cooking and for their delightful scents. It’s another great example of how gardening can serve multiple purposes – fulfilling both practical needs and providing sensory pleasure. With these herbs in your garden, you’re creating a multi-functional space that’s enjoyable for you and discouraging to chipmunks.

Remember to routinely maintain your repellent barrier, as some plants may need to be replaced or re-applied, especially after heavy rain or strong winds. By using these planting strategies, you can protect your garden from chipmunks without resorting to harsh chemicals or inhumane traps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which flowers deter chipmunks?

Some flowers that can help deter chipmunks include French Marigolds, Daffodils, and Grape Hyacinths. These plants have properties that make them less appealing to chipmunks and can be a useful addition to your garden.

How can I naturally keep chipmunks out of my garden?

To naturally keep chipmunks out of your garden, you can use physical barriers like wire mesh underground, install decoy predators, or use natural repellents like predator urine or human hair. Combining multiple methods is the most effective approach.

What scents can help repel chipmunks?

Scents from aromatic plants and spices like mint, lavender, and cayenne pepper can be effective in repelling chipmunks. These smells are generally unpleasant for chipmunks, so planting these types of plants or spreading the spices around your garden can discourage their presence.

Which plants do chipmunks tend to avoid?

Chipmunks are known to avoid plants that are highly aromatic or toxic. Some examples include Onions, Common Camas, and Glory-of-the-Snow. Planting these in your garden can help deter chipmunks from invading your space.

Are there any annual flowers chipmunks won’t eat?

Yes, chipmunks typically avoid eating annual flowers such as French Marigolds and Spring Snowflakes. These flowers can serve as a natural deterrent for chipmunks and help to keep them away from your garden.

How can I protect my tomato plants from chipmunks?

To protect your tomato plants from chipmunks, try surrounding the plants with a wire mesh or using scent-based repellents like cayenne pepper or predator urine. You can also use decoy predators or plant less appealing plants near your tomatoes as an additional protective barrier.

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty clear that the key to a chipmunk-free garden lies not in harmful chemicals or traps, but in Mother Nature’s very own arsenal. From the fiery cayenne pepper to the fragrant herbs and vibrant French marigolds, your garden can be both a feast for your senses and a fortress against those cheeky chipmunks. 

In making strategic choices about the plants in your garden, you’re not just cultivating beauty; you’re also creating a natural, safe, and eco-friendly defense against chipmunks. Remember, each garden is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. The joy of gardening is in the experimenting, learning, and growing that comes with each season.

So, whether you’re dealing with a mild chipmunk nuisance or a full-blown chipmunk saga, don’t lose heart. There are plenty of natural and effective options at your fingertips. Start with some of the plants we’ve discussed today, and who knows, you might just discover your own secret weapon in the fight against garden pests.