How to Prevent Plant Theft
As the weather heats up and your garden reaches the height of its beauty, have you considered how to prevent plant theft? Yes indeed, the theft of plants. Believe it or not, there are unscrupulous people out there who will steal your potted flowers, uproot your tomato plants, pluck the fruit from your trees, and run off with valuable perennials from your yard.
My mother-in-law experienced plant theft a few years ago. She was standing at her kitchen window looking out at the lovely flowering bulbs in her front yard when a car pulled up. A man jumped out with a pair of clippers, swiftly clipped her flowers, and drove away. It happened in just seconds, as my mother-in-law gazed speechlessly at her now-bald bulbs. I kid you not. It was an obviously premeditated drive-by flower robbery!
From the stories of people who have had their plants stolen, I’ve garnered a few tips that will help you to prevent plant theft. (See also: Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins)
1. Use Big Heavy Planters
To prevent people from stealing potted plants, pot and all, go for big, heavy planters that aren’t easy to move. While heavy planters won’t necessarily prevent a determined criminal from taking your plants, they can be a deterrent to the casual thief. Better yet, chain or bolt the planter to the ground. That way, even if thieves dig up your plants, at least you won’t lose that expensive planter!
2. Choose Flowers Wisely
Apartment Therapy had this great tip — don’t plant those rare bulbs in plain view in your front yard. Actually, don’t plant any expensive flowers where thieves might see them and be tempted. In the front yard, stick to low-growing flowers that are pretty but aren’t tall enough for cut flower arrangements.
3. Harvest Your Fruit
A fruit tree loaded with ripe fruit is very tempting to people who pass by. My husband’s grandparents had an entire tree stripped of ripe grapefruit. Somehow the thieves had managed to pick every single grapefruit, several hundred pounds' worth, and cart it off without being noticed. Harvesting ripe fruit in a timely fashion shows potential thieves that you care about your fruit tree and are keeping an eye on it.
4. Chain Plants Down
If you’re in the process of putting in some landscaping, and your neighborhood is known for plant thieves, consider weaving chain or cable through the roots of your trees as you plant them, and then connecting them either to other trees or to something immovable. Determined thieves might bring cutters, but chaining your plants down might discourage them a bit.
5. Get It on Tape
Catch thieves on tape — or at least fake it. Placing a fake security camera near your plants (but high up where thieves can’t reach) can be an effective deterrent. Alternatively, place a nanny-cam in your front window. Some people have also installed motion-sensor lights to good effect. Putting a few deterrents around your home can make your plants less appealing to thieves, who may then choose to look elsewhere for their loot.
6. Keep Ornaments Out of Sight
Flowers and plants are not the only targets for thieves. If you have a pretty dish, unique ornaments, lanterns, or candles sitting around on your front patio, you can be sure that these small items are tempting to unscrupulous pilferers. Keep them inside the house until you are ready to use them.
7. Put a Lock on Your Gate
If your backyard is fenced in, you might want to consider installing a lock on your gate to protect not only your backyard plants, but also your patio set and barbecue. Believe it or not, people have had plants stolen right off their back patios.
Have you ever had plants stolen? What tips would you recommend to prevent plant theft?