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Has a skunk ever wandered into your yard?

If so, you were probably struck with fear that it would spray. Skunk spray is incredibly smelly, and it’s difficult to get rid of.

It’s especially tough to remove if the spray hits you or a pet. Once a skunk sprays in your yard, you will probably want to vacate the premise for the next day, at least.

The smell can be so strong that it’s really hard to sleep and focus!

So, to combat this problem, many people plant skunk repellent plants around their house to deter these smelly pests.

3 skunk repellent plants

What type of plants deter skunks from coming into an area?

Let’s explore this idea! Thwarting skunks is no easy feat, so you need to have a good plan.

Summer squash

While summer squash fruit is a tasty snack for skunks, the leaves of this plant repel skunks.

Why is this the case?

Skunks dislike the leaves and vines of summer squash because they irritate skunks’ delicate skin and fur.

If you’ve ever picked summer squash, you probably wore gloves to protect your hands and forearms.

Summer squash leaves have prickly edges, and spiny hairs on their undersides. Plus, summer squash vines have sharp, irritating spikes once they are fully developed.

Just as you were afraid to touch the plants with your bare hands, skunks are afraid of them, too.

If skunks try to move through summer squash, the prickly spines poke them and irritate their skin.

While skunks have thick fur, it’s no match for the strong spines on summer squash. 

It’s easy to see why skunks dislike this plant so much!

So, you can plant summer squash to keep skunks out of your garden.

However, if you want to plant summer squash, beware of its traveling, viney nature. 

Since summer squash has a tendency to reach out and extend to open spaces beyond their intended zones, be prudent and train them to go back into their intended fold.

It may take awhile to corral summer squash if they get out of hand, so train them as soon as they start to get out of line.

Summer squash plants love to trellis, and they are likely to climb anything in sight, including other plants.

They also grow quite large. They will expand far beyond the area of their hill, so plant them a sufficient distance away from other plants, or summer squash may overtake them.

Summer squash is a useful plant that can easily deter animals like skunks, racoons, squirrels, chipmunks and other hairy creatures.

Keep in mind that you must replant summer squash every year, so it is not a year-round solution to skunk issues.

Other nettles

This can include thorn bushes, trees, and other spiky plants commonly found in the woods.

This is a tricky area. Generally, you do not want to plant nettles in your yard. 

These plants can hurt you, your family, and your pets. 

The needles also pop tires, which can lead to increased maintenance for your lawn mower, bikes, ATVs, wheelbarrows, and other rolling equipment.

Nettles also spread quickly and can soon take over your lawn. 

Be very careful when planting these tricky plants.


This plant, also known as Crown Imperial, works a bit differently than summer squash. While both plants repel skunks, Crown Imperial uses a different mechanism.

Instead of utilizing spines, fuzz, or sharp edges, Crown Imperial gets rid of skunks by using a tool more familiar to these pests: smell.

This plant deters skunks by emitting an odor that is incredibly distasteful to skunks.

Once skunks get a strong whiff of fritillaria, they will not want to be anywhere near the plant.

While skunks are not bothered by their own smell, they dislike the smell of Crown Imperial enough to vacate the area.

What time of the year does Crown Imperial grow?

Since it is a bulb plant, you need to plant it a long time before it will begin to grow above the surface.

It will not repel skunks while the plant still grows solely underground.

Plant Crown Imperial in the fall, and expect to see it begin to poke above the ground in the spring. By late spring and early summer, Crown Imperial will be in full force.

In early spring while it is still significantly growing, Crown Imperial blooms beautiful red, orange, and yellow bell flowers that are very aesthetically pleasing.

It will look great in any flower garden, plus you can use it to dissuade skunks from coming into your yard.

If you want to use Crown Imperial to get rid of skunks, plant several of them in and around your yard.

For best results, plant them around the perimeter of the yard.

Otherwise, skunks will have to venture into your yard before they feel the effects of this plant.

If you live in cool, northern areas that get a heavy coating of snow and ice in the winter, be sure to cover the bulbs with mulch to weather the winter season.

Before you plant Crown Imperial, you should spend some time around it. 

It’s true that skunks greatly dislike its smell, and some humans find it repulsive, too.

You do not want to cover your yard with plants that make you want to stay indoors! 

So, smell the plants before you plant them to ensure that you will not be perturbed by their strong scent.