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Do Deer Eat Marigolds?

If you rear deer or live in an area frequented by them, and looking to plant marigolds flowers, you might be wondering, do deer eat marigolds?

Known as ornamental flowers, marigolds are members of the sunflower family and they are native to North and South America.

Many marigold species have a musky, pungent smell. This makes them ideal candidates for deterring insects and nematodes from attacking garden vegetables and flowers.

Unfortunately, they aren’t too effective at keeping off deer.

Deer habits

Even if marigolds have an unpleasant smell, deer will eat anything when they are hungry enough.

The leaf-munching critters will also test out plants they are unfamiliar with. According to the Michigan State University Museum, when these animals visit your garden, they will bite off the flowers then drop them to the ground once they discover the unpleasant taste.

If there isn’t any other palatable food and they are hungry, the deer will feed on the less pleasant marigolds.

So we can conclude that the chances of deer eating the marigolds depend on whether the animals are hungry enough and whether there are other more palatable food materials in the area.

Also Read: Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?

Best practices

If your area is frequented by these animals, you should plant one marigold on the most used path to test the deer’s taste buds. If the deer don’t feed on the flowers after a few weeks, go ahead and plant more.

You should note that even if the animals don’t feed on the marigolds for some time, there is no guarantee that they won’t do it later on.

Even if they don’t feed on the marigolds, they will destroy them with their feet as they reach out to other plants they are interested in.

To reduce the chances of the animals feeding on the plants, go for marigolds with the most pungent smells.

If you have access to it, plant pot marigold. This tall, daisy-like plant has an awful smell that has been shown to keep off the deer that feed on Tagetes marigolds.

Keeping the deer off your property

Despite their pungent smell, you can’t rely on marigolds to keep off deer from your garden. The obvious way of doing it is putting up a tall fence around your garden but this is often an eyesore. It’s also expensive.

Luckily, if you don’t have a large budget there are plenty of cheap solutions to ward off deer, while maintaining the beauty of your yard.

On my 15th birthday, I became the designated gardener in my home.

Now at 32, I have a small garden and every day I'm out trying different plants and seeing how they grow. I grow guavas, peaches, onions, and many others. Want to know more about me? Read it here.

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