Outdoor PestsWildlife

What Plants Do Possums Hate?

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Possums are often seen as pests due to their tendency to munch on a variety of plants in gardens and yards. However, these animals are quite selective in their choice of plants, and some are reportedly unpalatable or even toxic to them. This article will explore the plants that possums generally dislike and how homeowners can use this information to their advantage.


Possums generally dislike plants with strong scents, textured foliage, or spiciness. Some of these include Cerastium tomentosum, Chaenomeles speciosa (Flowering Quince), Hibiscus syriacus, Datura Brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpets), chilli plants, marigolds, geraniums, and native plants with highly fragrant foliage like Prostanthera (native mint), Eremophilas, Myoporum, and Philothecas. However, the effectiveness of these plants in repelling possums can vary based on the local environment and climate.

Plants That Possums Dislike

A variety of plant species are known to be unattractive to possums:

  1. Cerastium tomentosum: An evergreen, drought-tolerant plant that possums find unpalatable.
  2. Chaenomeles speciosa (Flowering Quince): This deciduous shrub has a dense jumble of spiny branches and white, pink, or red flowers that deter possums.
  3. Hibiscus syriacus: A deciduous woody shrub with white, pink, or purple flowers.
  4. Datura Brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpets): This tall evergreen shrub has pendulous heavily perfumed flowers.
  5. Chilli plants: The spiciness of chilli plants is a deterrent for possums.
  6. Marigolds: The strong odor of marigolds is unpleasant to possums.
  7. Geraniums: These plants contain a strong-smelling substance that possums dislike.
  8. Native plants with highly fragrant foliage, such as Prostanthera (native mint), Eremophilas, Myoporum, and Philothecas.

These plants can be purchased from various online retailers, such as Amazon, The Sill, The Home Depot, and Etsy.

Why Possums Dislike Certain Plants

Possums are deterred by plants with strong scents or textured foliage. The strong scent of plants like rosemary or garlic is unappealing to possums. Similarly, plants with prickly, hairy, or sticky foliage, such as some types of Acacias, Chrysocephalum, and some tea tree varieties, are less likely to be eaten by possums.

Using Plants to Deter Possums

To use these plants effectively to deter possums from your garden or yard, you can follow these strategies:

  1. Plant possum-attracting plants like eucalyptus at the edge of your garden to keep them occupied and away from your other plants.
  2. Use scent-based deterrents. Some effective smells that possums hate include mothballs, camphor, garlic, onion, and animal-derived fertilizers.
  3. Erect physical barriers around your garden to prevent possums from accessing your plants. This can include netting systems, fences, or tree guards.
  4. Maintain a clean garden to make it less attractive to possums.
  5. Eliminate food sources like pet food left outside overnight, unsecured garbage cans, fallen fruits and vegetables, and seeds under bird feeders.
  6. Trim bushes and keep your yard free of debris to reduce hiding spots for possums.

Remember that these strategies may require constant reapplication or maintenance to remain effective in the long term.

The Impact of Climate or Region

The climate or region can indeed affect a possum’s aversion to certain plants, as their dietary preferences and tolerances are influenced by the local environment and the availability of specific plant species.


While plants alone may not be very effective in repelling possums, a combination of different pest control methods, including repellent sprays, predator urine, and motion-activated devices, may provide better results in deterring possums from your garden. Remember, each plant has unique requirements, so it’s essential to research the specific needs of the plants you purchase to ensure their success in your space.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other types of pests can these plants deter?

In addition to possums, these plants can also deter other pests like rabbits and deer. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these plants in deterring pests may vary depending on the specific pest and the local environment.

Can possums be harmful to my garden?

Yes, possums can be harmful to your garden. They are known to eat a wide range of plants, and in large numbers, they can cause significant damage to your garden. However, it’s also worth noting that possums can be beneficial to the environment as they help to control pests like snails and insects.

Are there any other ways to deter possums from my garden?

Yes, there are several other ways to deter possums from your garden. These include using repellent sprays, predator urine, motion-activated devices, or even getting a dog. However, it’s important to remember that these methods may require constant reapplication or maintenance to remain effective.

Are these plants easy to grow?

The ease of growing these plants will depend on your local climate and the specific needs of each plant. Some plants, like marigolds and geraniums, are generally easy to grow in a variety of conditions. Others, like the Cerastium tomentosum, may require specific conditions to thrive. It’s important to research the specific needs of each plant before you decide to plant them in your garden.

Can I plant these in pots?

Yes, most of these plants can be grown in pots. However, it’s important to ensure that the pot is large enough to accommodate the plant’s growth and that it has adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging.

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