How to Keep Birds Out of Hanging Plants?

Hanging plants add an excellent color and life to any outdoor space. However, their positioning makes them vulnerable to birds pecking away at leaves, digging in the soil, or destroying the whole plant! It can be frustrating to nurture your lovely hanging baskets as a gardener only to have them become a bird buffet. Do you know how to keep birds out of hanging plants? The good news is there are several effective methods to deter birds and protect your precious plants. With clever planning and simple supplies, you can outsmart those pesky creatures.

Why Birds Are Attracted to Hanging Plants

Before exploring deterrent solutions, it helps to understand what draws birds to hanging baskets in the first place. After all, knowing what appeals to them gives you insights into how to make the plants less inviting. Here are the main factors that attract birds:

Shelter and Nesting Sites

The thick, dense foliage of hanging plants offers shelter and potential nesting sites for small birds like finches and sparrows. They see the dangling greenery as an ideal spot to hunker down and build a home. Even larger birds, like starlings, may poke around flowering baskets to gather materials for nest building.

Food Sources

Many common hanging plants produce seeds and berries that birds find tasty. Petunias, fuchsia, strawberries, and orchid plants are fruit-bearing and will entice birds closer with hopes of a snack. They may also eat the leaves, buds, sap, and flower nectar.

Perching and Observation Points

The elevated position and flexibility of hanging baskets allow birds to easily perch, observe their surroundings, and swoop down quickly when they spot food. Birds are very tactical in how they approach feeding areas. Hanging plants serve as ideal lookout points.

Places to Take a Bird Bath

The loose, peaty soil in hanging baskets holds moisture. Birds will dig little hollows to take dust baths and splash around. The same goes for any water collecting in the hanging planters. Perfect for a quick birdbath!

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5 Simple Strategies to Deter Birds

Now that you know what makes hanging plants so tempting, here are five straightforward techniques to deter your feathered friends:

1. Limit Fruiting Plants

Since birds are attracted to berries and seeds, avoid hanging plants that produce them. Instead, choose non-fruiting varieties of flowering plants like fuchsias, begonias, impatiens, and petunias. Go for more foliage over food sources.

2. Use Fake Birds of Prey

Birds are scared away by anything resembling their natural predators. Hang fake owls, hawks, or snakes strategically around your hanging baskets. You can also tie reflective ribbons that twist in the breeze to mimic movement. The frightening predators will make birds hesitant to come close.

3. Install Thorny Deterrents

Object barriers with prickly thorns will discourage birds from landing or nesting. Thread thorny rose cuttings through your hanging baskets. Pyracantha branches and bunches of bougainvillea also work well. The uncomfortable thorns will keep birds at bay.

4. Try Motion-Activated Deterrents

Many motion-activated devices will scare birds away from the vicinity of your hanging plants. Choose from sprinklers, ultrasonic emitters, or flashing lights. When birds fly near the sensors, the sudden water, sounds, or lights startle them off.

5. Apply Chemical Bird Repellents

Look for hanging plant-safe chemical repellents that use methyl anthranilate as the active ingredient. It emits a grape flavor that birds dislike. Reapply after rain or watering. Avoid oils like capsaicin that can harm plants. Repellents often come in ready-to-use pouches.

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Physical Barriers to Block Access

In addition to the scare tactics above, incorporating physical barriers can block bird access to hanging baskets altogether. Here are some options:

Wire Cages or Mesh Screens

Build little cages out of 1/4” wire mesh to enclose each hanging basket. Mesh screens also work. Ensure the material openings are smaller than 1/2” so birds cannot squeeze through. Check that the plants have enough room inside to grow.

Hang Out of Reach

Birds are reluctant to fly too high to reach food sources. Hang your plants 8-10 feet from sturdy hooks and poles off the ground. This may work better as a deterrent for smaller birds. Make sure your brackets and hangers can support the weight.

Plant Inside Lanterns or Glass Globes

You can place your hanging baskets inside sizeable clear glass, plastic globes, or lanterns. Anchor them tightly over the top of the plant. The smooth surface prevents birds from landing. But the plants can still thrive inside with sun exposure.

Add a Canopy Barrier Above

Suspend a length of netting above your hanging plant collection to block bird access from above. Slope or funnel the netting sides down and out to prevent landing on the baskets. A canopy can protect multiple baskets efficiently.

Use a Balcony Guard Rail

Loop the support cables around the top guard rail for hanging plants on balconies or porches instead of suspending them from overhead beams. This positions plants closer to your living space than potential outdoor perches.

Creative DIY Deterrent Ideas

Don’t want to spend money buying deterrents? No problem! Here are some inventive DIY solutions you can make at home to stop birds from snacking on your hanging flowers or herbs:

  • Tie streamers around baskets made from old CDs or mylar balloons. The shimmers and movements will startle birds.
  • Weave strips of aluminum foil throughout plants. The crinkly noise deters birds when the wind blows.
  • Dangle wooden windchimes near plants. Clanging loud sounds scare birds away.
  • Place fake plastic snakes around baskets. Many birds fear snakes as predators.
  • Coat hanging wires above baskets with grease or oil to make perching slippery.
  • Add rubber spiders or bouncy eyes to plants. Moving creatures can frighten curious birds.
  • Hang old blow dryers facing down near plants. Turn them on occasionally to blast birds with hot air.

With just a few simple precautions, you can happily hang plants without fear of feathered intruders! Combine deterrent techniques like limiting fruiting varieties, applying birdbath, and hanging mesh screen cages. Or move vulnerable plants to protected locations. Get creative with homemade scarecrows and reflective decor, too. Soon, you can enjoy decorative hanging baskets that birds do naughtily plunder. Your garden will be serene again!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often must I replace deterrent devices like fake owls or repellent pouches?

Replace fake owls and other visual deterrents every 2-3 weeks, moving to new locations. Birds get accustomed to seeing them. For chemical repellent pouches, reapply every 2-4 weeks or after watering, wash them away. Consistency is critical for the best results.

2. Will butterfly plants in hanging baskets also repel birds?

Butterfly plants like peas, zinnias, and lantana are great for attracting pollinators but probably won’t deter birds. Their nectar and seeds are still tempting. Use them in relocated baskets out of reach of perching spots. Or combine with physical barriers like wire cages.

3. What are some excellent hanging plants that naturally repel birds?

Scented geraniums, lavender, sage, oregano, lemon thyme, and rosemary repel many birds with essential solid oil aromas. Group them in herb theme hangers. Daffodils and narcissus bulbs also deter birds with their alkaloid toxins underground.

4. Can I use chili pepper solutions on hanging plants safely?

Avoid chili oil sprays or hangable pepper wreaths, which can harm tender plants. Opt for smelly repellents to avoid burning leaves. If using capsaicin or capsicum oleoresin solutions, dilute substantially and test before treating hanging baskets. Start with milder scented deterrents.

5. Will installing bird feeders and baths elsewhere divert them from my plants?

Providing food and water sources apart from your hanging baskets gives birds an appealing alternative, especially if placed far away. They may opt for the free meals you provide over nibbling on plants. Just beware, it could also attract more birds near the feeders.


Don’t let pesky birds spoil your lovely hanging plants before you’ve had a chance to enjoy them! With clever deterrent techniques like avoiding fruiting varieties, erecting thorny barriers, using predators or repellents, and limiting accessible perching, you can maintain gorgeous bird-free baskets on your porch or patio.

Getting creative with decorative DIY deterrents adds visual appeal, too. Soon, your hanging garden will be a tranquil, relaxing space, not a take-out spot for hungry birds. Be persistent and patient with different methods until you discover what works best to discourage feathered visitors. Then get ready to reap compliments on your stunning hanging baskets displayed in all their glory!

Ronney Bien

Ronney Bien is a culinary visionary and a maestro of pasta artistry, whose passion for pasta knows no bounds. With a deep-seated love for the Italian culinary tradition, Ronney has made it his life's work to create pasta that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves a lasting impression.

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