Deer Behavior

Do Deer Eat Marigolds? Tips for Protecting Your Marigold Garden

Buck Venwood

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Marigolds appear to be safe from the deer’s voracious appetites. These orange and yellow flowers, renowned for their pest-repellent qualities, are not on the deer’s menu. No plant is entirely safe from hungry deer, yet marigolds are usually not their top choice.

Still, hungry deer may resort to eating marigolds if food sources are scarce or preferred options are gone. Young or tender marigold plants could be more vulnerable to browsing by deer. Therefore, protect your precious blossoms when they are most fragile.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac states that marigolds release a strong scent that can repel both pests and larger animals like deer. This natural defense makes them a less desirable snack for these graceful creatures in the wild.

Why do deer eat marigolds?

Deer have a strange taste for marigolds! It’s believed that certain compounds in the flower give it a sweet and savory flavor that deer find hard to resist. Not only that, but marigolds are packed with nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Plus, they act as a natural insect repellent too!

However, not all deer species have the same level of interest in marigolds. Keeping native vegetation is important for their health and nutrition. The National Wildlife Federation says white-tailed deer are primarily herbivores and usually eat local plants. Marigolds can be an occasional snack – but the key to a balanced diet is variety.

How to prevent deer from eating marigolds

Marigolds are beautiful flowers that can be irresistible to deer. It is essential to take measures to prevent them from feasting on your marigolds. Here’s a simple and effective guide to keep deer away from your precious flowers:

  1. Choose deer-resistant varieties: Opt for marigold varieties that are known to be less appealing to deer. These include French marigolds (Tagetes patula) and signet marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia). These types have strong scents that deter deer from munching on them.
  2. Use deterrents: Apply repellents to your marigolds to discourage deer from getting close. There are various commercial deer repellents available in the market that contain substances like rotten eggs, predator urine, or hot pepper. These deterrents create an unpleasant scent or taste that keeps deer at bay.
  3. Install physical barriers: Create a physical barrier around your marigolds to prevent deer from reaching them. This can be done by installing a sturdy fence around your garden or using individual plant cages around each marigold plant. Make sure the barrier is at least 8 feet high, as deer can easily jump over shorter fences.

Remember that deer are persistent creatures, so it may be necessary to combine multiple prevention methods to ensure the safety of your marigolds.

In addition to these preventive measures, it is important to note that marigolds have been used for various purposes throughout history. They have been cultivated for their medicinal properties and as a natural insect repellent. Despite their attractive scent and vibrant colors, marigolds have had a long-standing reputation for deterring pests, including deer.

By implementing these techniques, you can protect your marigolds and enjoy their beauty without worrying about deer making a meal out of them.

Fence off the garden area and watch as the deer give up on marigolds and turn to a new hobby called ‘breaking my heart’.

Fence off the garden area

Protect your marigolds from hungry deer by fencing off your garden area. Follow this four-step guide for effective fencing:

  1. Choose the right type of fence – sturdy and 8 feet tall. Consider wire mesh or electric fences.
  2. Install the fence properly – anchor it into the ground and bury the bottom several inches deep.
  3. Enhance the fence – hang shiny objects or use motion-activated sound devices.
  4. Inspect and maintain your fence regularly.

Other suggestions to further discourage deer:

  • Plant aromatic herbs and flowers nearby.
  • Use natural repellents, like garlic or predator urine. Reapply after rain or watering.

Fencing acts as a physical barrier and additional deterrents make your garden area less attractive to deer. Enjoy the beauty of your marigolds without worries!

Use deer repellents

Deer repellents are a great way to protect your marigolds from being eaten. Consider these tips when using them:

  1. Place scented repellents like predator urine or soap around your marigolds.
  2. Make your plants less tasty with garlic spray or hot pepper wax.
  3. Use scarecrows or reflective tape to startle deer away.
  4. Install motion-activated sprinklers near your plants.
  5. Make homemade sprays with ingredients such as eggs and milk.

Mixing different types of repellents can give you better results. Now you know how to keep your flowers safe!

Plant deer-resistant flowers alongside marigolds

If you want to protect your precious marigolds from deer, plant some deer-resistant flowers alongside them. These additional flowers will help deter the herbivores with their scent and appearance.

To help this strategy work better:

  • Pick fragrant flowers, such as lavender, yarrow, or catmint.
  • Include prickly blooms like globe thistle or purple coneflower.
  • Choose tall, showy varieties like hollyhocks and delphiniums.

Make sure to space the deer-resistant flowers and marigolds well. That way their scents won’t mix up. Plus, surprise the deer by regularly rotating or interplanting different species of deer-resistant flowers. This will reduce the chances of them munching on your marigolds.


Deer love plants, but marigolds? Not so much. Despite their vibrant coloring and pest-repelling properties, these flowers don’t top the menu for hungry deer. Still, caution is key in areas with high deer populations.

Marigolds may not be the go-to choice for deer grazing, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely safe. In times of scarcity, deer may resort to munching on them. So, take measures to protect your marigold blooms from deer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do deer eat marigolds?

Yes, deer are known to eat marigolds. Marigolds are not typically their preferred food, but when other food sources are scarce, deer may resort to eating marigold plants.

2. Are marigolds toxic to deer?

No, marigolds are not toxic to deer. While deer may not prefer to eat marigolds, they are generally not harmful or toxic to them.

3. How can I protect my marigolds from deer?

To protect marigolds from deer, you can try using deer repellents, installing fencing around your garden, or planting deer-resistant plants alongside the marigolds. These measures can help deter deer from eating your marigolds.

4. Can marigolds attract deer?

Marigolds are not particularly attractive to deer, but they may still be drawn to your garden if other food sources are scarce. If you want to prevent deer from coming into your garden altogether, it’s best to avoid planting marigolds.

5. Are there deer-resistant marigold varieties?

No, there are no specific marigold varieties that are considered deer-resistant. However, some gardeners have reported that certain marigold varieties, such as the Mexican marigold (Tagetes lemmonii), are less likely to be eaten by deer.

6. Are there alternative flowers that are less appealing to deer?

Yes, there are several flowers that deer are less likely to eat. Some examples include daffodils, lavender, sage, yarrow, and foxglove. Planting these flowers alongside or instead of marigolds can help deter deer from your garden.


Buck Venwood

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