10 Flowers That Gophers Hate

by Jennifer

Gophers, those pesky subterranean rodents, can wreak havoc on gardens, munching through roots and bulbs with abandon. Gardeners seeking to protect their precious blooms often find themselves locked in a battle against these underground pests. While traps and repellents offer some defense, selecting gopher-resistant plants can provide a natural and long-lasting solution. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of flora to uncover which flowers gophers hate, offering precise answers to help you safeguard your garden.


Understanding Gopher Behavior and Preferences

Before diving into gopher-resistant flowers, it’s essential to understand the behavior and preferences of these underground nuisances. Gophers are burrowing rodents that primarily feed on roots, tubers, and bulbs, making them particularly damaging to garden plants. They are attracted to gardens with loose, well-drained soil, where they can easily tunnel and forage for food. Gophers are known for their extensive tunnel systems, which can stretch for hundreds of feet and feature multiple entrances and exits.

When it comes to plant preferences, gophers tend to avoid plants with strong scents or toxic properties. They also steer clear of plants with tough, fibrous roots that are difficult to chew through. By selecting flowers that gophers find unpalatable or inconvenient, gardeners can deter these pests and protect their garden beds.

Gopher-Resistant Flowers: A Closer Look

1. Daffodils (Narcissus spp.): Gophers have an aversion to daffodils, thanks to their toxic alkaloids. These cheerful spring blooms contain substances that make them unappetizing to gophers, reducing the risk of damage to garden beds. Daffodils come in a variety of colors and shapes, adding vibrant hues to the garden landscape.

2. Alliums (Allium spp.): Members of the onion family, alliums possess a strong odor and a pungent flavor that gophers find repulsive. Varieties such as garlic, onions, and chives are known to deter gophers with their distinct aroma. Additionally, the bulbs of alliums contain sulfur compounds that can act as a natural repellent.

3. Fritillaries (Fritillaria spp.): With their distinctive bell-shaped flowers and checkered patterns, fritillaries add elegance to any garden while deterring gophers. These spring-blooming bulbs contain alkaloids that make them unpalatable to gophers, helping to protect nearby plants from underground nibbling.

4. Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.): Delicate and dainty, snowdrops are among the earliest flowering bulbs to emerge in late winter or early spring. Gophers tend to avoid these diminutive blooms, possibly due to their toxic properties. Snowdrops contain alkaloids that make them distasteful to gophers, making them a reliable choice for gopher-resistant planting.

5. Crown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis): Towering spikes adorned with drooping bell-shaped flowers, crown imperials make a bold statement in the garden while warding off gophers. These tall, stately plants contain compounds that gophers find unappealing, providing a natural barrier against underground incursions.

6. Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.): Known for their vibrant blooms and aromatic foliage, geraniums are a popular choice for gopher-resistant planting. Gophers are deterred by the strong scent of geranium leaves, making them less likely to tunnel near these fragrant plants. Additionally, geraniums are relatively easy to grow and come in a variety of colors and forms.

7. Lavender (Lavandula spp.): Renowned for its soothing fragrance and ornamental value, lavender is also effective at repelling gophers. The strong scent of lavender essential oils acts as a natural deterrent, discouraging gophers from foraging near these aromatic plants. Lavender thrives in sunny, well-drained locations and is ideal for borders and rock gardens.

8. Marigolds (Tagetes spp.): Bright and cheerful, marigolds not only add a splash of color to the garden but also help deter gophers with their strong scent. The aromatic oils produced by marigold plants are unpleasant to gophers, making them less likely to venture into areas planted with these vibrant blooms. Marigolds are easy to grow from seed and come in a range of sizes and colors.

9. California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica): Native to the western United States, California poppies are valued for their golden blooms and drought tolerance. These resilient wildflowers are also unappealing to gophers, making them a valuable addition to gopher-resistant gardens. California poppies thrive in sunny locations with well-drained soil and require minimal maintenance once established.

10. Sage (Salvia spp.): With their aromatic foliage and colorful spikes of flowers, sage plants not only attract pollinators but also deter gophers. Gophers find the strong scent of sage leaves unpleasant, making them less likely to feed on nearby plants. Sage is drought-tolerant and thrives in sunny locations, making it an excellent choice for gopher-prone areas.

Tips for Successful Gopher Control

While selecting gopher-resistant flowers can help protect your garden, it’s essential to employ additional strategies for effective gopher control. Here are some tips to consider:

Install Physical Barriers: Use wire mesh or hardware cloth to create underground barriers around vulnerable plants. Bury the barrier at least 12 inches deep to prevent gophers from tunneling underneath.

Use Gopher Baskets: Plant flowers in gopher baskets or wire cages to protect their roots from underground damage. These baskets allow roots to grow freely while providing a barrier against gophers.

Practice Companion Planting: Intersperse gopher-resistant flowers with plants that gophers find attractive. This can help camouflage gopher-resistant plants and reduce the risk of targeted feeding.

Monitor and Trap Gophers: Regularly inspect your garden for signs of gopher activity, such as fresh mounds or tunneling. Set traps in active areas to capture and remove gophers before they cause significant damage.

Maintain Garden Hygiene: Keep garden beds free of debris and clutter, as gophers are attracted to areas with ample cover. Regularly remove fallen leaves, branches, and other organic matter to discourage gopher habitation.

By combining gopher-resistant flowers with proactive control measures, gardeners can effectively protect their plants from underground pests. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create a beautiful and gopher-resistant garden that thrives for seasons to come.


In the battle against gophers, knowledge is key. By understanding gopher behavior and preferences, gardeners can select flowers that deter these underground pests and protect their garden investments. From daffodils to lavender, a wide range of gopher-resistant flowers offers both beauty and functionality in the garden landscape. By incorporating these plants into your garden design and implementing proactive control measures, you can enjoy a thriving garden free from the ravages of gophers.


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