Before security cameras and alarm systems were invented, our forefathers relied on Mother Nature to guard their livestock against predators and shield them from enemy attacks.
If you're serious about prepping and survivalism, better take a leaf out of their books.
Plants, particularly the ones with thorns and prickles, are some of the best home invasion deterrents around.
Here’s what you should know about landscaping your home for SHTF:
How Does Landscaping Help Your SHTF Plan?
If you live in the 'burbs, hearing about a neighbor getting robbed isn’t exactly news. The typical suburban home is unguarded and harbors tons of expensive stuff. It’s a thief’s dream come true.
When the grid goes down, things get worse. Folks will fight tooth and nail for even a crumb of food. Some won’t even have the decency to wait until nobody’s left in the house.
Now as a prepper, you understand how crucial it is to protect your home from thieves and the ill-prepared. You know why you need to build a nice fence, install locks in your windows, and upgrade your doors.
But do you know how awesome your landscape can be when you plant spiky, razor-edged shrubbery around your perimeter? They can help you:
Avoid Raising Suspicion
Barbed wire and Beware of Dog signs are common home security fixtures, but they’re not the most subtle. On the flip side, almost everybody has plants. Your home won’t look out of place with bougainvillea and rose bushes.
If you were a thief, what would you target — a house flanked by sharp-looking hedges or a house surrounded by a flat, green lawn?
No shit, Sherlock. You'd pick the one that's easier to break into.
Defensive plants make any home less inviting to trespassers. Getting a glimpse of all those thorns may be enough to deter them.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Planting
We know you can’t wait to work on your home’s landscaping, but don’t grab your trusty shovel just yet. Read these tips first:
Go for Plants That Are Thick, Wide, and Tall
Your plants will be useless if anyone can jump over them. You want them big enough to be a barrier, but also not too tall. Otherwise, intruders may be able to use them for cover.
Leave Them Near Weak Spots
Adding thorny plants isn’t enough. Be strategic. Vulnerable areas like windows and balconies can get a good security boost from prickly shrubs, hedges, and vines.
Make sure, though, that these plants won’t block your way when you need a fast escape during emergencies. Include a solution in your SHTF plan.
Defensive plants can stop shady characters from breaching your home, but if you’re not careful, they won’t be the only ones in a pickle.
Always wear a complete set of protective gear when you trim and prune your plants. A pair of work gloves is especially crucial. This set by TAC9ER can keep your hands from getting pricked and stabbed.
What Are the Top Plants for Home Defense?
Plants with defense mechanisms are excellent additions to your home. The more prickles and thorns they have, the more impenetrable your property.
While not every plant on this list is visually appealing, each one sure poses a threat to unwelcome folks:
Most folks think of Valentine’s Day when they see roses. We see things differently.
Roses are perfect for protecting your home from invaders. They have thorny branches that can prick a person and even draw blood. Planting rose bushes around your property will definitely help you trip up a trespasser or two.
Bonus: they’re nice to look at.
Crown of Thorns
A badass name for one badass shrub that can grow up to 5 feet high. Scientifically known as euphorbia, this plant may look pretty with its crimson flowers, but underneath them hides a sinister network of thorns.
Thorns aren’t the only painful thing about the crown of thorns. It also produces a sap that can be quite irritating to the skin.
The century plant is a popular ornamental succulent, but don't underestimate it. Its huge, spiky leaves make this large agave one of the most threatening house plants around. They can grow 3-4 feet tall and pierce an enemy’s skin with the slightest contact.
This plant also thrives in hot and dry environments and is easy to care for. But while it’s called the century plant, it’s only got a lifespan of 1 to 3 decades.
The firethorn, or the pyracantha, is one of the biggest plants featured on this list.
Guess how high it can grow? Up to 15 feet.
...That’s twice the size of an average Christmas tree!
With the firethorn’s height and barbed leaves, no intruder would wanna cross its path. It also grows fast, so it’s a great option if you need a deterrent ASAP. You just need to have the patience to trim it regularly.
You often see blackberry shrubs growing wild in woodlands or in abandoned areas. While it may not be the most attractive plant out there, it’s covered in some damn impressive thorns.
Plant the blackberry along the top of your fence or on the sides of your shed. Anyone who tries breaking in will fall victim to its spikes.
Now, fair warning — the blackberry sprouts quickly like the firethorn.
Is the constant upkeep so terrible, though, when it offers a ton of protection? We say nope.
Bougainvillea comes in different varieties; some species are shrubs while others are climbing vines. But no matter what you go for, the pronged branches make cool booby traps.
If you live in a place that gets a lot of sun, these plants are for you. Bougainvillea thrives in hot temperatures and can even endure droughts. Can't say the same if it's planted in areas with wet or cold weather, though.
You’ll like the bougainvillea if you’re the type who’d rather spend your free time learning how to create your own charcoal than pruning plants. It doesn't need a lot of attention.
The Spanish bayonet thrives naturally in tropical or warm environments. It grows up to 15 feet tall and has thick and pointy leaves.
Pioneers used the leaves to create clothes, footwear, and baskets back in the day. Quite daring of them, considering the leaves’ spiked tips can slice through clothes and jab skin.
To say the Spanish bayonet lives up to its name is an understatement.
Solanum pyracanthos is nicknamed the porcupine tomato because it looks like the lovechild of a cactus and tomato. Originally from Madagascar, this plant grows up to 5 feet tall and produces stunning lavender flowers.
No amount of flowers can mask this bad boy's fluorescent spikes, however. Thieves better watch out.
The honey locust is something straight out of a horror movie.
This tree has awful thorns — some reaching 8 inches long — bulging out not just from its branches, but also from its trunk. These thorns are sharp enough to puncture a tire. If someone touches it, they can get a sore wound that takes ages to heal.
Here’s another interesting fact: unlike most trees, the honey locust can grow in conditions most trees can’t stand. It can endure droughts and highly acidic soils. It’s serious nightmare fuel.
Plants are awesome, and that's a fact.
While it’s easy to overlook them in favor of today’s fancy-schmancy security alarms, these natural barriers won’t let you down when SHTF. They’re way cheaper, too.
Combine them with other affordable home defense tricks to create a fortress that folks would regret even looking at.
Do you have any of these defensive plants in your home right now? How do you keep them healthy? Share your tips in the comments!