Do Deer Eat Marigolds? [And How To Prevent That]

You might have heard that planting marigolds will help to keep certain animals, such as deer and rabbits, out of your garden or away from your plants. Or maybe you are considering planting marigolds just because you like the way they look or smell and want to make sure you don't waste your time or money. Either way, it will be essential to know whether or not these flowers are at risk to be eaten by deer, and if so, how to prevent that. We have researched this to get you all the information that you need to protect your precious flowers. 

Deer do eat marigolds. The good news is that there are some precautions you can take to prevent this from happening:

  • Choose the right Marigolds.
  • Eliminate other attractive plants
  • Minimize potential hiding spots
  • Use natural and human-made deterrents 

A marigold at full bloom on the hot sun, Do Deer Eat Marigolds? [And How to Prevent That]

There are several detailed steps you can take to keep deer from destroying your marigolds. Continue reading to find out some tips and advice for preventing these beautiful flowers from falling prey to hungry deer.

Choose Marigolds with a Strong Scent

Not all marigolds smell the same or even have the same intensity of smell. The flowers we commonly know as marigolds are made up of over 50 different species of flowers. With new varieties and hybrids developing all the time, there are a plethora of options from which to choose. 

Deer are excellent scavengers that will eat almost anything. Strong smells deter them, so you will want to find varieties of marigold with the strongest scents to increase your chances of keeping them away. You can do your research online to try to determine which marigolds have the most robust scent, but we recommend going to a local nursery and smelling different types in person. 

Eliminate Other Plants that will Attract deer

If you remove other plants that might attract deer from your garden, you can help to give your marigolds a fighting chance for survival. This is most critical in Spring when mother deer are searching for food for growing fawns. Some of the plants that deer love are:

  • Hostas
  • Daylilies
  • English Ivy
  • Arborvitae
  • Fir
  • Many fruits and vegetables

If any of these are a must-have for your garden, keep them closer to your home instead of out in the yard. You should also harvest your fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ripe to keep the enticing sight and smell from luring deer into your garden. 

Minimize Available Hiding Spots

Keeping your yard landscaped well is another way to deter deer. Keep your trees and bushes well-trimmed along with any densely planted areas. Deer are easily spooked and prefer areas that provide ample cover in the event of being discovered by a potential predator. Make this a scarcity in your yard, and there is a good chance they won't hang around for long. 

Use Deterrents


If you happen to have a dog or other animals, letting them hang out in your yard is a great way to keep deer from spending time there. After being barked at a few times, deer will determine that your yard is not a great lunch location and seek out more amenable options. 

Physical Borders

Planting hedges around your yard can be an effective method for discouraging nosy deer from further inspecting the landscape. Boxwoods are lovely for this purpose. Due to their density, they create a visual obstacle and encourage deer to keep searching for somewhere else to eat. 

Installing a fence is another option, but it will need to be quite tall to keep deer out. White-tailed deer can jump up to eight feet in the air, so your fence should be at least this tall. Depending on your landscape design preferences, this may be an obtrusive sight in an otherwise peaceful and tranquil setting. 

Natural Repellents

Planting strongly scented shrubs or herbs is a standard method for keeping deer at bay. Some of the plants that have proven successful at repelling deer due to their pungent smell or undesirable texture are:

  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • French tarragon
  • Lavender
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Bush Cinquefoil
  • Japanese Spirea
  • Juniper

Take note - not all deer are the same. Just like people, they have varying tastes, so you may have to make a bit of trial and error to determine which plants the deer in your neighborhood are opposed to and which ones might become unexpected attractors. 

Man-Made Repellents

Another option that can also be effective is to hang wind chimes throughout your yard. Deer are easily startled, and the more consistent noise you can make in your yard, the more likely they will steer clear.

Motion-activated sprinklers are another great way to deter deer from your yard along with ultrasonic repellers, which emit deep penetrating ultrasonic sounds to scare away a wide variety of pests and animals.

Check out this motion-activated sprinkler on Amazon.

This ultrasonic repeller is another option you can find on Amazon.

There are many spray repellent products available online, as well as in local hardware stores. Read reviews and see which one might work best for you. Be sure to read any cautions and instructions on the bottle to be sure the product is safe to use on the plants or location you plan to apply it. 

This deer repellent spray can be found on Amazon.

Some people have even had success with stringing up fishing line a few feet off the ground between trees to create an invisible fence. The deer walk into the line and become confused about the source of resistance, resulting in them abandoning your yard for greener pastures.

In Summary

Some deer may find your marigolds a tasty snack. The good news is that there are myriad options for repelling and deterring them. Just be sure to start small and test out different solutions to ensure their effectiveness. Deer are finicky creatures and very smart. Your first attempt at a solution may not work perfectly, so be sure to have a backup plan ready if it doesn't.

If you found this article interesting, be sure to check out some other posts about deer and your garden below:

Do Deer Eat Petunias? [And how to STOP them from doing that]

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

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