These 15 Plants Will Protect Your Home from Intruders

Unfortunately, we currently live in a world populated with some people who believe they can take what doesn’t belong to them. When SHTF, it’s likely even more people will turn into thieves and resort to looting.

For this reason it’s important to consider ways to protect what’s yours from those who have less than honest intentions.

There are many ways that you can safeguard your home. Some people turn to high fences and barbed wire or electronic surveillance complete with security cameras and flood lights.

But when SHTF and people are desperate for supplies, these obviously guarded homes will be among the first places targeted. If your home looks well guarded, it becomes a target before and after SHTF because you make it obvious you have things worth guarding.

If you’re serious about trying to deter intruders, consider trying a more passive defense. The best place to stop criminals is BEFORE they get onto your property or into your home.

Defensive landscaping can help persuade intruders to look elsewhere for valuables or supplies. These 10 plants will protect your house from intruders without making your home a target.

Can Plants Be Used as Security Barriers?

Yes! While some species of plants are undoubtedly lovely, they might be as unpassable and hazardous as twin coiled razor wire in certain instances.

In fact, in certain situations, flora may be even more intimidating than traditional barriers! Anyone who has ever had a nasty run-in with a vicious tangle of thorns or spikes will agree!

A row of cactus or a clump of brambles might be all that is needed to keep an intruder from crossing your property line. Every location has a climate that allows certain plants to thrive for the purpose of deterring intruders.

We just need to figure out which plants will work in our situation and how they will fulfill our various demands, whether we require control and seclusion around the perimeter of our land or near-perimeter protection immediately outside potential access points to our home.

This is both simpler and more difficult than using conventional barriers and other defensive measures, but with the right information and a bit of prepper creativity, you’ll find this procedure simple enough to complete!

Benefits of Using Naturally Defensive Lands

  • ✅ Defensive landscaping isn’t obvious which means your home won’t look like a target.
  • ✅ Using plants instead of metal or plastic fencing is better for the environment
  • ✅ Plants and trees are cheaper than electronic surveillance and security systems
  • ✅ Beautiful visual appeal adds to your curb appeal and keeps you from being seen as “that crazy prepper”.

Even the most tenacious invader will have a difficult time overcoming hardy, sharp bushes and other thorn or spine-bearing plants that are often put beneath windows.

Those without backbone or unwilling to pay the price will at best simply turn around and seek for less difficult options. The racket created by this might buy you more time to flee or act accordingly.

Defensive shrubs, such as those listed below, can be used to block, slow, or funnel an intruder’s movement. The most violent and the worst of the worst will still think twice if they have to deal with being impaled by some of the savage plants we have featured below!

As with any plant, you’ll need to do some studying before investing money or scattering seeds in the hopes of creating an impassable natural barrier.

While almost every environment on the planet supports at least one nightmarishly sharp plant, you can’t just mix and match them between environments haphazardly.

You should carefully assess what plants are appropriate for your area while still packing the most potent defensive adaptations.

Some plants, such as berry bushes, can certainly cause harm and will tear and scratch fabric and skin in addition to causing puncture wounds.

Crown of Thorns and Porcupine Tomato sport concentric rings of spines that will inflict significant penetrating injuries and tangle anyone trying to pass through them. You might say they will collect copious DNA evidence from those who trespass!

You should contact your local greenhouse or nursery right away to find out what species are appropriate for where you live, and if you can afford them, and if your climate supports them, definitely consider them!

After you’ve found a plant that will thrive in your region, make certain that it’ll get along with any other plants in the area, conduct an appropriate soil test and then feed it with the relevant supplement to make sure your new barrier grows robust and fast.

You’ll have a choice to make when it’s time to plant: you can spend time and effort to save money by planting a seed, sprouting, or sapling and waiting for it to grow while caring for it, or you may buy mature cultivars that are ready to “install” and do their tasks.

Plants are living things that need to be nurtured and protected from pests and parasites, so depending on your specific demands and the number of portals you have to defend, this may be a costly obstacle when assessing them against other options.

Those who have families, pets, or children of their own should remember that these plants are one active defensive measure that is always on, so to speak and their thorns care not at all if they are piercing a baddie about to clamber through the window, your pet, or your little child.

While these are among the most beautiful and “HOA-approved” deterrents available, they do come with risks unique to their station.

15 Plants for Home Protection

crown of thorns flowers
crown of thorns flowers

Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii)

This is a tropical plant with a thick spiral of extremely sharp spikes on all sides, and it even has irritant sap ready to sting any intruder.

It may be grown as a hedge or barrier, but it will require support to reach great heights. Thrives in hot, sunny conditions and produces crimson blooms when flowering.

Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Pyracantha (Firethorn)

Pyracantha (Firethorn)

The harmful toxins of this nasty shrub are in its attractive red-orange berries, which are quite poisonous.

More significantly for us, it has vicious, slender spines that may reach up to four inches long. This plant may quickly grow taller and wider than man height, and is quite hardy and sturdy.

Creeping Juniper aka “Blue Rug”

It’s not a good idea to put hedges, bushes, or trees under your windows in most cases as these can give intruders a place to hide or a way to gain access to a second floor.

But you can use creeping juniper also known as “blue rug” as defensive ground cover under windows and around your home. It has thorny stems and leaves which will help deter anyone from crawling around under your windows.



This native South American plant thrives in subtropical and mild Mediterranean climates but will also grow in U.S. zones 9 through 11

Bougainvillea blooms with gorgeous purple-pink flowers up to three times per year. It will visually add charm to your home but as a perimeter plant, it deters trespassers with pointy thorns and toxic sap.

Agave plant
Agave plant


This succulent type plant comes in several different varieties, all of which can have different characteristics. Agave varieties generally bloom only once in their lifetime and the long stalk can be harvested to collect aguamiel from the heart, a sweet liquid, similar to honey.

Agave plants tend to have long, slender leaves with sharp teeth or spines running the length of each one which can help deter intruders.

Agave Americana, also known as the “Sentry Plant” can grow as large as ten feet wide by twelve feet tall. They drop “pups” which can take over small spaces so make sure to dig them out and move them to other weak points around your perimeter.


Barberry aka Berberis x mentorensis

This plant is an excellent choice as a barrier hedge around your perimeter. It’s a semi-evergreen plant that does well in U.S. zones 5 to 8. Barberry is tolerant of many different types of soil conditions as long as the soil isn’t too wet.

The leaves are spiny, and it grows up to seven feet tall and almost as wide which makes it a fairly impenetrable perimeter hedge. The pale yellow flowers that bloom in Spring add a bit of color to the hedge.

holly berries
holly berries

Holly Shrubs

Holly shrubs make a great perimeter plant. They grow well in most types of soil and stay green all year long which adds a pop of color to your curb appeal in the fall and winter months.

Any trespassers who try to push past them though will find their spiky leaves painful and will hopefully look for a target with easier access.


Berry Bushes

Berry bushes are a great plant to protect your house because they come with thorns and develop into a dense tangle of vines that can’t be easily penetrated.

Plant blackberry, raspberry, and gooseberry bushes around the perimeter of your property. These prickly bushes will deter trespassers and can also help to supplement your food stockpile.

Honey Locust

Honey Locust

Honey Locust trees are one more of the plants that will protect your house from intruders. This tree has a coarse-grained, dense wood that is shock-resistant and disease resistant.

The branches of the honey locust sprout thorns, which can discourage anyone from trying to climb them to get over a wall or to a second-floor window.

Oleaster Tree

Oleaster Tree

The Oleaster is a very pretty tree. It has light green leaves with silvery undersides. But the branches have spines that painfully let intruders know they’ve crossed the line.

Smaller than your average tree, the Oleaster grows to 15 to 20 feet. It can also double as a food source because it bears delicious fruit and edible flowers.

Devil’s Thorn

This ground creeping plant gets its name because the oval-shaped seed has a pair of vertical-facing thorns. The thorns on the seed are designed to stick into the feet or fur of an animal to facilitate transporting the seeds away from the parent plant so it can take root and grow.

Plant Devil’s Thorn under windows or in any weak points where you want to prevent an intruder from crawling on their hands and knees.

The extra bonus with this plant is that you can crush it and add water to create a mild soap or detergent which can be used for personal hygiene or to wash clothes in a SHTF situation.

roses bush
roses bush

Rose Bushes

Most of us are familiar with rose bushes; they are often used in gardens and around homes because of their beauty and to add a pop of color to an outdoor garden.

The occasional prick from those wicked rose thorns is often seen as the price to pay for beauty. But keep in mind that roses can also be planted as defensive landscaping to help protect your house from intruders.

Some strategically placed rose bushes beneath your window can help to deter anyone from trying to get close enough to open the window from outside. Just about everyone knows rose thorns are wicked sharp and can even cause infection in some cases.

That’s all there is to it! A wide range of plants that will keep undesirable guests off your property. You’ll be sure to come up with at least one or two ideas that would work well on your own home if you put some effort into planning.

Factors to Consider When Choosing and Developing Defensive Plants

When it comes to selecting plants for security reasons, there are a few things to think about:

The mature plant’s size. Will it be big enough to deter people? Does it have enough of a presence in relation to a door or window nearby? Is it tall and broad enough to meet the needs of a hedge or fence?

The growth rate of the plant. How quickly will it reach full size? When will it have any defensive value? Will planting seeds or purchasing young plants save you time, or will you need to spend a lot of money to get a decent plant?

The plant’s thorns, spines, or prickles. What degree of sharpness and pain do they possess? Will they catch clothing and scratch skin, or will passers-by receive actual lacerations and puncture wounds as a result of their needlelike spikes?

What is the plant’s density? What will the leaves look like? Will it offer a visual barrier on the other side? How much pruning and shaping will it be necessary?

The plant’s color and form. Will it blend in with its surroundings or stand out among other plants? Is it attractive to the eye?

Upfront and Care Costs. There is always a cost when it comes to adding plants for security reasons, and these costs vary from one structure to another. You’ll have to pay for plants, if required, as well as maintenance services.

Habitat. Select plants that are appropriate for your region and soil type. Make sure the plants you pick will thrive in your area’s weather and soil type. Some plants are much more particular than others, and may not flourish in conditions that are too hot, cold, sunny, or shady.

These are the most important factors to consider while selecting which plants are ideal for our requirements. Take a look at your property and what needs might be filled by burglar-busting plants before you go out and buy that fence or install those bars on your windows.

The ideal method to find out which defensive vegetation is best for security is to communicate with other like-minded preppers in your region. Most likely, someone has already addressed this issue and can provide helpful insight!

Let’s Do Some Planting!

Do you use any of these plants to protect your house from intruders? Let us know how it’s working for you in the comments below. If you have other plants that you use for defensive landscaping, feel free to share that experience as well.


plants protecting pinterest

12 thoughts on “These 15 Plants Will Protect Your Home from Intruders”

  1. Hi Megan, i grew up in South Al. But now live in Northeast Ga. After 9/11 i to have become a prepper. I have roses as my main planets in the front and want to continue around the house under the windows.
    Its nice to meet another prepper. Maybe we can shair some of our ideas. Rebecca [email protected]

    1. 9/11 was one of the catalyst events for me to begin prepping as well. I’m still in NE Ohio and not near as much land as I’d like to have, but I hope to get to Southern KY/Northern TN one day soon. I have relatives in Georgia though, it’s beautiful. I haven’t done roses yet. My grandmother had extensive rose beds when I was a child and I remember how much attention she gave them to keep them to her standards. I feel like I need life to settle down a bit first.

  2. I would suggest the below. It has wicked thorns and citrus can be grafted onto it. So you can get security and food in one package.

    Poncirus trifoliata – The trifoliate orange is recognizable by the large 3–5 cm (1.2–2.0 in) thorns on the shoots. Because of its relative hardiness, citrus grafted onto Citrus trifoliata are usually hardier than when grown on their own roots.(extracted from Wikipedia)

    1. good suggestion. It’s always good to have plants that have more than one purpose. I love citrus plants for the scent they provide too. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  3. I have Agave in several varieties. The thorns can but used for needles. The roots, sap, juice and leaves can be used for constipation, jaundice, dysentery, as well as healing wounds, burns and skin irritations. The leaves and roots contain saponins which can be made into a cleaning agent. Boiling or burning the leaves and you can make rope.

    1. good point about the multiple varieties of Agave. We could probably do an entire article on just those! It’s always good to consider plants with multiple uses, especially for a SHTF type event. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Michael,

      If you’re right on the coastline, sand could become too wet and compacted, most of these plants prefer well-draining soil. The issue with sandy areas, further from the coast, for most plants is that sand can drain very quickly and dry out. Most succulents, such as Agave, will do okay as they are more tolerant of drought periods. The others, with the exception of Holly could do okay in sand with some extra care. The key is monitoring the moisture level in the soil. For most you may need to water more frequently in warm weather. Also, consider using organic compost to enhance the areas where you want to plant to help plants do better. The typical recommendation is a couple inches of organic compost annually. I would start by testing the pH level and by monitoring the moisture levels in the areas you want to plant. Then contact your local state extension office who may be able to give you more specific information on how to provide extra care in your specific area for the plants from this list.

  4. For Megan:

    When my parents built our house in Mansfield, not far from you but years earlier, Dad planted Pyrocantha under each of the first floor windows. Nice red berries, but thorns that would score you for life!

    1. Charlie, sounds like perhaps you had some first hand experience with those thorns as a child! Do you think your parents planted it as a defensive plant back then?

  5. When we built our house I planted dwarf Chinese holly along the entire west side of the house where the guest bedroom windows were located and the north side where the family room and dining room windows were located. The plants help to keep the ground from shifting and protect the foundation as well as making it extremely difficult for anyone wanting to enter through the windows as the plants are right up against the walls and extend about 3 1/2 to 4 feet and several inches above the bottom of the windows. Also, these plants do not like to be trimmed back, every time I have pruned them back they come back even more dense. Finally, the points on the leaves are extremely sharp. I have had the points go through gloves I was wearing and the punctures get inflamed almost like fire ant bites.

    1. Sounds like a good deterrent for anyone trying to get up close to your windows, normally I don’t recommend bushes beneath the windows as they can be hiding places for intruders and actually help them get close without being seen. But the thorns and density of Chinese holly shrubs would make that tough. That’s the point of defensive landscaping. Keep intruders from getting too close to your home by making it difficult or at least very painful. For me, the goal is to keep intruders OUT of my home and away from my family for as long as possible.

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