Do Deer Eat Marigolds - Are They Deer-Resistant Plants?

Written by Ivy

Jan 03 2023

Do Deer Eat Marigolds - Are They Deer-Resistant Plants?

Marigolds are not typically eaten by deer. They dislike their smell and will frequently pass the plants by without eating them.

Planting flowers that are deer resistant or even a deer repellent gives you peace of mind if you're hoping to prevent deer from eating your hard work in the garden this year.

Since they are pollinator friendly and help provide necessary food for bees, brightly colored marigolds have a reputation for being a great addition to gardens.

Why Deer Avoid Marigolds

Although deer are herbivores, they aren't always that way.

If nothing else is available, do deer eat marigold plants?

To survive, they'll eat just about anything they can find, and occasionally they'll even consume items that aren't food.

Since their typical diet of grasses and shrubs isn't available in the winter, this is particularly true during that season.

For years, people have used marigolds as a natural deterrent against deer, but why do they work?

The answer is simple: marigolds taste bad to deer. They contain an organic substance called pyrethrum, which deer find bitter and is toxic to insects.

Additionally present in Chrysanthemums, this chemical deters flies, mosquitoes, and other insects.

Deer Are Sensitive to Smells

Because they can taste them through their noses, deer typically avoid eating flowers that have a strong scent.

They lack nose hairs that would obstruct scent and have enormous nostrils. Instead, they rely on their sense of smell to stay one step ahead of predators, gather information, and stay away from poisonous plants.

Because of this, Whitetail deer often lift their heads to smell the air.

A predator or human can be detected from 500 feet away, in addition to the territory markers left by other deer.

Dogs only have 220 million scent receptors, while humans only have 5 million. Deer have 300 million scent receptors.

Precautions You Can Take to Protect Your Marigold and Other Plants

Choose the Right Marigolds That Deer Will Not Eat

The smell of marigolds varies; some have a mild scent, while others have a strong one. There are 50 different species of marigold flowers, and more varieties and hybrids are constantly being created. There are varieties of options to choose from, so if you live in a deer-infested area, plant the ones with the strongest scent.

Scavengers like deer do a great job! When starving, they'll eat anything, but the pungent smell makes them reluctant. To increase your chances of deterring these destructive animals, you should pick the scents with the strongest scents.

Before deciding which marigolds you want, visit a nearby nursery and sample a few different varieties. You may also get helpful advice from the nursery staff.

Eliminate Other Plants That Deer Love to Eat

Deer will always visit your garden if you have the right plants. Your marigold will have a better chance to grow and flourish if you remove them. The best time to do this is in the spring when mother deer are out gathering food for their developing fawns. Some of the plants that deer love include:

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

Keep them closer to your home rather than out in the yard if you must have any of these plants in your garden. To prevent deer from entering your garden, make sure to harvest your fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ripe.

Eliminate Easy Hiding Spot

A good yard's landscaping can also keep deer away. A densely populated area, as well as your bushes and trees, should be kept well-trimmed. Deer prefer areas with cover in case a predator or the farm owner finds them. Eliminate every cover in your yard where they could hide. Deer find clear areas uncomfortable, so they will probably leave and seek out new habitat.

Do Deer Eat Marigolds

What Other Plants Do Deer Not Like?

There are numerous plants, shrubs, and bushes that deer do not like, similar to marigolds.

You can start creating your deer-resistant garden now that you are aware of the fact that deer like to eat plants with smooth foliage and don't smell strongly.

But which other plants do deer dislike?

Panicle Hydrangeas

Normally, deer are unconcerned by these lovely flowering shrubs.

The woody stalks and rapid growth of panicle hydrangeas. The deer's idea of the ideal meal is probably not the thick, woody stalk.

But when other food sources are scarce, hungry deer will consume almost anything. Your hydrangea will quickly regrow even if they do take a bite or two out of it.


The osmanthus shrub resembles hydrangeas. Clusters of tiny white flowers are also present on this plant. Along with that, it gives off a lovely but potent fragrance reminiscent of gardenia flowers.

Deer dislike the smell, even though it is pleasant to humans. The spiny leaves will scare off deer even if they approach close enough to bite.

Unfortunately, the leaves also make it difficult for people to handle the plant.


Lavender is a different quickly expanding and fragrant plant. The fragrance is one of the most utilized for humans and can help promote relaxation.

Conversely, deer avoid plants with lavender because of the strong scent. These shrubs, which are low-lying, are wonderful accent plants for gardens. You can also grow them in pots.


Ninebark shrubs are a great addition to your garden area because they have clusters of tiny white flowers and lovely foliage. In the late spring or early summer, they will bloom.

It's crucial to plant shrubs or other plants that flower at various times of the year to provide the best deer defense.

Deer and other pests can be repelled all season long by maintaining a regular schedule of aromatic plants.


These shrubs, also called butterfly bushes, have clusters of vibrant purple flowers all year long.

These shrubs provide essential food for many pollinators including butterflies and bees.

Planting a few buddleia plants around the perimeter is a lovely and easy way to create a flourishing garden space this season if you want to draw pollinators to your garden and deter deer from eating your crops.

Purple Coneflower

Growing a few perennial flowers is a great way to brighten the area and deter deer if you want to avoid taking up too much space with shrubs.

Deer tend to steer clear of purple coneflowers because of their potent scent, which is similar to that of marigolds.

Deer prefer a softer, shinier leaf, so they avoid coneflowers because of their spiny center.

But butterflies and bees will be drawn to the color purple. assisting you in building a haven for pollinators!

Bearded Iris

In many gardens across the country, irises continue to be a popular and iconic plant.

These bulb-blooming flowers add visual interest to flowerbeds and low-lying plants. Irises grow tall and give pollinators access to simple food.

Deer, on the other hand, find the taste and smell of irises disgusting. Deer can actually be repelled naturally by growing a few iris plants.


Baptista, also referred to as False indigo, is a low-lying shrub that grows quickly and emits a potent odor.

Deer do not like the scent, but humans do. Deer dislike the lace-like foliage that the plant grows on in addition to the smell.

False indigo does not appeal to deer, but many kinds of butterflies do! A lot of butterflies actually do this.

What Other Ways Can I Repel Deer?

You might be wondering if there are any other strategies to deter deer if you have already planted a garden and are finding that the deer are eating the produce.

You can grow deer-resistant or deer-repellent plants as well as employ a number of other methods to keep deer out of your garden and protect your vegetables or flowers.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are one method of deer repulsion. Used coffee grounds should be scattered all over your garden.

The smell and pH of coffee grounds are altered when hot water is poured through them.

Although it is unclear if deer are put off by the smell of coffee per se or whether they only associate it with people, it is believed to be an effective natural deer repellent.

When using this method, you should exercise caution. An excessive amount of coffee grounds can cause the soil to become slightly acidic, which can stress some plants.

The direct placement of the grounds into the plant beds is therefore not advised.

Instead, scatter some dirt all the way around your garden's edge.


Hanging fabric softener strips or even soap bars from the trees or scattering them around your garden will deter deer as well.

The deer's sense of smell may be confused by the aroma from these items. Deer will avoid whatever tasty treats you have growing in your garden because their sense of smell is 50 times more acute than ours.

Placing a bar of soap in each leg of a pair of pantyhose is a typical method for hanging them.

Then, you can cut the pair in hand and hang each from a different location in your garden. Since natural or environmentally friendly soaps will wash away in the rain, it is best to use those.

Lawn Ornaments

Sundials, scarecrows, and other lawn decorations may not always be the most aesthetically pleasing, but they can be very effective at keeping unwanted deer away.

Deer are neophobes, meaning they do not like anything new or different looking. Since deer are prey animals, they tend to be on high alert and always aware of their surroundings.

It might be enough to scare them away with a scarecrow or another obtrusive object to prevent them from entering your garden area.

Motion Activated Sprinklers

Looking for a way to water your plants and keep them secure at the same time?

The best way to keep deer away from your garden is to strategically place motion-activated sprinklers.

Deer that approach too closely will be startled by the sprinkler's sound and water stream, which will make them flee. They will eventually stop aiming at your house because they will associate it with the sprinklers.

When the sun is at its strongest, make sure to keep the sprinklers far enough away from your plants to prevent water from burning the leaves.

Motion Activated Lights

Deer typically wait until after sunset to emerge and search for snacks, making your garden vulnerable after sundown.

Installing motion-activated lights, however, will be sufficient to startle any unaware deer.

Because deer dislike bright light, when the light is turned on, they will run away. A great way to deter buglers is to use motion activated lights!
Also Read: Do Marigolds Keep Rabbits Away

Final Thoughts

The battle to keep deer out of your garden and yard can seem never-ending and daunting. Deer-repelling plants and decorations are available for your outdoor area, though.

Whether you grow plants that deer do not like to eat or plants that deer cannot stand the smell of, there are many options for fragrant and beautiful flowers to protect your garden.

There are lots of natural and homemade things you can start doing right away to help your outdoor space flourish deer-free if you can't find any flowers or plants you want to grow to repel deer or if you want additional protection.


Do Deer Like the Smell of Marigolds?

I am aware that they despise them. I'm not sure if I would create a marigold garden. If they are too big or too numerous, I'm thinking that they may not be attractive to the deer. If they are smaller and more spaced out, then I think they wouldn't be too bothered.

Some people think it's a fantastic way to keep pets away from fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

What Smells Do Deer Hate?

Herbivores include elk and deer. They consume green plants as well as the leaves of trees, plants, and shrubs. Deer have keen senses of smell and can detect things that humans cannot. They don't like scents like lavender, rosemary or clove.

They also dislike the smell of the following things: Paint thinner, toxic cleaning products, gasoline, gasoline additives, or other fuels, fertilizers, chemicals, insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides, detergents, paints, varnishes, lacquers, or solvents, paints, dyes, and chemicals used to color hair, shampoo, hair spray, conditioner, hair gel, or hair spray, hair dyes, hair relaxers, or hair straighteners.

What Plants Do Deer Hate the Most?

There are many plants that deer will avoid. Deer avoid many plants because they have thorns, spines, or other unpleasant features. These are called "deer-resistant" plants. Landscape designers and gardeners frequently favor deer-resistant plants.

Deer dislike the distinct flavor of mint. However, they detest the smell more than they do the taste. Plants with an offensive odor will frequently cause deer to flee.

How Do You Keep Deers Away?

Deer enjoy eating leafy greens, fruits, berries, and tender perennials, as the majority of gardeners are aware.

Deer enjoy eating the leaves off of trees, bushes, and shrubs. When deer eat the bark off of trees and bushes, they can also cause damage. It is best to keep plants that are close to your house or yard trimmed back so that deer cannot easily access them. Additionally, keep your garden tidy by getting rid of any weeds and garbage that might attract deer.

What is the Best Homemade Deer Repellent?

If you've made it this far, you probably want to know what the best homemade deer repellent is. We want to assist you in locating an effective deer repellent that is also safe for your family. This post will give you some ideas about what you can use, but ultimately it's up to you to decide which one works best for your situation.

The first thing to consider when choosing a deer repellent is how you will use it. You may want something that is both harmless to them and won't leave any unwelcome residues if you have kids or pets.

You may want to use a repellent that is not easily smelled by humans but does not leave a residue on the vegetation if you are concerned about the smell. Deer repellent sprays, liquids, and powders are available in a selection of flavors, hues, and potencies.

How Do You Deer Proof a Vegetable Garden?

Making sure that your garden is adequately protected from deer is the first step in deer proofing a vegetable garden. If you have a fence around your garden, make sure that it is secure and well-made. Other types of barriers, like electric fencing or deer deterrents, are also an option. The plants in your garden can be treated with a deer repellent that comes in the form of a spray or mist.

You should remove any plants that are attractive to deer, and you should keep any areas that deer like to browse away from the rest of your garden.