When it comes to securing your home, plants can be some of your closest allies.


Some of the best are thorny and spiky plants, and this needn't mean they look unattractive. In fact, most will provide interest in the form of flowers, berries or colourful foliage.

While these plants won't provide absolute burglary prevention, their thorns and often impenetrable stems and branches serve to deter any would-be criminals. Some of the best ways to use these plants are as hedges along fences and walls, creating a tough barrier that thieves will find harder to breach.

Many of the plants listed can also be grown against the walls of houses, below and around windows, where burglars will be looking to gain access – a thorny but beautiful climbing rose does a brilliant job of this.

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Discover 10 of the best plants to prevent burglary, below.


Most roses are thorny, but it's the climbing and rambling roses that are especially useful as they can be grown along walls and fences. Rambling roses are typically more vigorous and reach a larger size, so are good if you need to cover a long boundary, though they usually only flower once each year.

Pink rambling rose 'Super Fairy' growing over a wooden fence


Holly has evergreen leaves, providing a prickly, year-round deterrent. They make great hedges and there are lots of lovely varieties to grow. Discover how to grow holly and 10 of the best hollies to grow.

Spiky holly leaves

Solanum atropurpureum

Solanum atropurpureum comes with a few common names including malevolence and purple devil. It's almost obscenely thorny and is an easy-to-grow though short-lived perennial. Good for a spot in full sun, where it can withstand temperatures as low as -10°C for a short time.

Stems of purple devil covered in yellow and purple spikes

White-stemmed brambles

Brambles are extremely thorny, but that doesn't mean you want them all over the garden. However, white-stemmed brambles like Rubus biflorus and Rubus cockburnianus are highly ornamental and not as vigorous as their green-stemmed counterparts. As the stems are white they're a particularly visible deterrent.

White-stemmed brambles

Berberis julianae

There are quite a few thorny berberis to grow, but Berberis julianae is among the thorniest. It has deep, evergreen foliage that contrasts nicely with the pollinator-friendly spring flowers.

Red, young berberis leaves (photo credit: Getty Images)


Hawthorn is a versatile plant in the garden and can be used a hedging plant, as a clipped shrub or left to grow into a small tree. The thorny stems will help to deter thieves, and the plant itself helps wildlife with spring blossom and autumn berries. Check out more berried plants for birds.


Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, is a bushy shrub or small tree with thorny stems. It's also a fantastic native plant for wildlife. If you need more persuading to have one (or several) in the garden, blackthorns are also the source of sloes, which can be used to make sloe gin, jam and chutney.

Blackthorn bush

Poncirus trifoliata

The trifoliate orange or hardy citrus, Poncirus trifoliata, is a beautiful species with hooked thorns on the stems. Like other citrus, it has fragrant white blooms that appear in spring and fruits. The fruits aren't very palatable fresh, but they can be used to make marmalade.

White blossom and thorny stems of trifoliate orange (photo credit: Getty images)
A padlocked gate bolt

More ways to burglar-proof your garden

  • Keep fences and walls in good condition and ensure they're too high to climb or plant thorny climbers along them
  • Install an alarm system that is visible at the front of the house as a deterrent – some even come with cameras
  • Install motion-activated security lights around entrances to the house
  • Ensure lawns are regularly mown and post regularly collected – it might otherwise look like you're away
  • Make sure doors into the house have deadlocks as well as top locks
  • Stop your sidegate being a point of access by keeping it locked, making the handle tricky to step on and over and install trellis over the top – it's tricky to climb over without breaking it
  • Padlock sheds and other outbuildings so any tools and other kit inside can't be accessed