How Can I Stop Someone from Stealing My Potted Plants?

Written by tracy morris
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How Can I Stop Someone from Stealing My Potted Plants?
Potted plants placed in public locations look inviting to thieves. (three pots with plants on the decorative shelf. image by Olena Talberg from

The first time a gardener has to cope with the theft of a plant, it can come as a surprise. Plants are not typically equated with the same value as other household items. Unfortunately, because a plant is both very beautiful and very portable, it may become a target for theft. Gardeners who have experienced multiple plant thefts can either give up gardening altogether or take steps to deter the thieves.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Erect a barrier around your yard. The barrier may consist of a chain link fence, a border of shrubs, such as boxwood, or even a low-growing herb, such as lavender. Barriers deter casual thieves by making their entrance more obvious to observers.

  2. 2

    Hang signs that deter people from taking plants. A casual thief may rationalise that her behaviour is not stealing. If she sees a sign that contradicts this attitude, she may be less likely to participate in the behaviour.

  3. 3

    Plant your potted plants in heavy containers. A thief who cannot pick up a potted plant cannot take it.

  4. 4

    Install video surveillance equipment in your front yard, such as a wildlife camera or motion-triggered video camera. If a thief thinks that there is a chance of being caught, he is less likely to participate in risky behaviour.

  5. 5

    Install outdoor lighting to illuminate the exterior of your home at night. This often deters not only plant thieves, but also home invaders who would not wish to be seen at night.

  6. 6

    Place your porch light on a motion detector. If someone approaches your home at night with the intention of stealing your container plants, her presence will cause the light to turn on and dissuade her.

Tips and warnings

  • Signs like Beware of Dog or those that inform would-be thieves of video surveillance will also deter thieves. Even if you do not actually have a dog or video surveillance, some would-be thieves will not wish to assume the risk entailed in stealing your plants.

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