Are Sunflowers Deer Resistant? [And How to Protect Your Plants]

Do deer love to eat sunflowers? Planting them can bring so much joy from their bright and cheerful flowers, but that joy can be easily squashed if you find them demolished by deer. It's no fun to look out the window at what had been flowers the day before only to find mangled stalks.
Unfortunately, deer do love to eat sunflowers. There are even some hunters who will plant fields of sunflowers to draw deer in for hunting.
Sunflower field with a deer in the background in the Midwest in full bloom at sunset., Are Sunflowers Deer Resistant? [and How to Protect Your Plants]
So how can you prevent deer from getting your sunflowers if you're not planting the flowers for them? We'll look at some options below.

Deer And Sunflowers

Sunflowers are a unique plant because their seeds make them high in protein. It offers deer a food source, that if your neighbors aren't also planting sunflowers, the deer won't find anywhere except in your yard. Which, if you're not drawing them in on purpose, can be a real pain. 

But you desperately want a plot, or two, of glorious sunflowers? Is there a way to keep deer from eating them?

How Do You Keep Deer Away From Your Sunflowers?

You aren't going to be deterred by pesky deer, and you want to find a way to plant your sunflower plot, there are some options for you. 

Liquid Deer Repellant

There are many different deer repellants on the market, from spray on to granules to stakes. They each work in slightly different ways, and you may have to experiment to find out what works best for your gardening style.

This deer repellant from Imustgarden is our personal favorite. It comes in a concentrate or easy spray bottle, but we recommend buying the concentrate and your sprayer so that you'll have enough to use for several applications. Some of the liquid repellants are quite harmful in odor, but this one has a peppery spice scent that is not too awful for the gardener but does keep deer away. It has a wax-type sticking agent that helps it stay fast to the plants even after a rainstorm, and one application lasts 3-4 weeks. It's non-toxic as well and can be used on vegetable and harvest plants.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

A garden pump sprayer like this is great for mixing up deer repellant and keeping it handy between applications. Click here for this one on Amazon.

Granule Deer Repellant

Granular repellants are meant to be sprinkled around where plants are eaten off the ground, like hostas, young sunflower seedlings, and other flowering plants. The smell of these products is often quite strong and may worsen with rains. The thought is the deer will smell the stench and stay away. It also supposedly works with rabbits. Click here to see this on Amazon.

Ultrasonic Deer Repellant

This product is created to make an uncomfortable environment for any animal intruders that may be interested in your plants. Reviews rate it positively for keeping deer, squirrels, even skunks away from the areas in your yard where you don't want them. It has three modes to choose from, ultrasonic, LED, or motion alarm. It operates on batteries or power plug. It's also a humane solution because though it will deter the animals, it will not harm them in any way. Click here to see this on Amazon.

Deer Fencing

Though it might negate the whole purpose of having a beautiful flower garden, deer fencing is another option. You will, of course, see the fencing, but at 7' tall, it will keep out most deer. Although if you're growing the Mammoth sunflower varieties which get up to 12' tall, the deer might be able to reach up on their hind legs to get those nearest the edge of the fence.

Click here to see this on Amazon. 

Other Tricks For Keeping Deer Away From Sunflowers

Sunflower field with deer in the background in the Midwest in full bloom at sunset.

Along with commercially available products, there are some old wives' tales of ways to keep deer away. Some say that you can get hair clippings from a local salon and spread them around in your garden. The smell of human hair will keep deer away.

One gardener we knew, used to use his urine placed in coffee cans around the edge of his garden as a deer deterrent. 

Another gardener swears by cutting up bars of Irish Spring soap and hanging them in pantyhose or cheesecloth around the garden. The strong odor is unappealing to the deer, and they'll stay away.


This 20 pack will take care of a big garden. Click here for these on Amazon.

And finally, if none of this works, get a big dog. They'll happily chase the deer off of your property and on down the road.

What Other Kinds Of Animals Eat Sunflowers?

Planting sunflowers is a beautiful thing to do for the natural world around you. These plants are loved by a host of bugs, birds, and wildlife. Whether for the pollen or their seeds, these flowers are a great addition to a garden ecosystem.

You'll have to protect young seedlings from voles and moles who like to burrow under the soil and eat the roots from below. One of the ultrasonic repellants can work for them. This also works for rabbits who love to snack on tender sprouts.

As your plants mature and grow, you'll see more bug activity like bees and butterflies visit your flowers. Once your sunflower begins to develop seeds, you'll see even more activity. Squirrels, chipmunks, and possums will be attracted to the delicious seeds. If you're not harvesting those seeds for yourself, consider leaving the flower heads in your garden for a while so that they can store the food for winter months.

In conclusion, you will need to do some work to keep deer from decimating your sunflower patch. There are many different tactics to take, and it may be a bit of trial and error, depending on how persistent or prolific your deer population is. Still, it is possible to have sunflowers in a deer-rich environment.

If you'd like to learn some other fabulous sunflower facts, please check out these other posts here at below:

Why Are Sunflowers Yellow? (And What Other Colors Can They Be)

Can You Grow Sunflowers Indoors? [Yes! And Here's How To!]

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