These 10 Plants Will Protect Your House 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 resort to theft. 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.

Benefits of Using Naturally Defensive Lands

  • Defensive landscaping is not obvious which mean your home doesn’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”.

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.

bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

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

Agave

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 drops “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 which does well in U.S. zones 5 to 8. Barberry is tolerant of many different types of soil conditions as long as soil is not 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

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.

hawthorn

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.

rose bush

Roses

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.

Final Word

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.

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About Megan Stewart

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Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of six grandsons, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

12 comments

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    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]

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      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.

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    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)

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      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.

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    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.

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      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.

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    I live in sandy ground near the ocean is there any one of this that will live here?

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      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.

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    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!

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      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?

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    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.

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      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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