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Do Deer Eat Marigolds? [Best Ways to Deter Them]

The aromatic shield of Marigolds is strong enough to protect your garden from bugs and voracious feeders like deer that eat the houseplant if not supervised.

Generally, the overpowering musky smell of Marigolds acts as a natural deterrent that makes them resistant boundary plants, preventing deer from feeding on garden flowers like Daylily, Hosta, and Hydrangea. However, the seedling stage of Marigolds might attract the herbivore.

Stay with the article to learn how to protect your garden from jumpy ruminant animals, primarily if you reside near a forest.

Are Marigolds Deer-Resistant?

Given the sensitiveness of deer due to 300 million scent receptors, the herbivore cannot go near the Marigold surrounding.

The blooms of Marigolds possess an organic compound, namely Pyrethrum, that gives the plant a bitter taste and smell that deer can smell from their big nostrils.

Deer do not need to go near the plant or eat the Marigolds to get a taste, as the receptors of the herbivore can sniff off the scent even from 500 feet away.

But the scents are not the only factor. The fuzzy, compact textured flowers and leaves make it challenging for deer to eat Marigolds.

Two Deer are roaming in a garden
Deer can differentiate between plants thanks to their sensitive nose.

Some variations of Marigolds that deter deer are French Marigolds, African Marigolds, and Marsh Marigolds (not true Marigolds, though).

However, this is not 100% perfect in resisting deer as a 10% chance makes deer attack your Marigolds if no other plants are available to feed on.

Other herbivores like rabbits eat Marigolds in case of food deficiency, mainly during winter days, along with deer.

Deer-attracting Marigolds

The repelling capacity of Marigolds exists only because of the strong scent and the rough texture of the leaves.

So if the variety lacks the strong smell and gives out a citrusy, aromatic scent and flavor, it acts oppositely and starts to attract deer instead.

The Signet Marigold stands to the definition as it gives off a lemony fragrance from the foliage and spicy tarragon flavor, making it a non-repelling Marigold.

You can differentiate the Signet Marigold by looking over its lacy foliage and single-head orange to deep yellow flowers ranging 2-3 inches in diameter.

Capture the variety in your eyes so you do not make the mistake of planting deer-attracting Marigolds.

How to Keep Deer Away from Marigolds and Gardens?

Planting Marigolds does protect your garden to some extent. However, deer can still jump over the Marigolds to eat other flavorful, aromatic plants like English ivy, Fir, and Arborvitae.

So plan your garden accordingly and apply all the precautions necessary to prevent any damage to the floras.

  • Deer-resistant Annuals and Perennials: Considering sensitivity, plant low-maintenance deer-resistant annuals like Polka Dot, Wax Begonia, and Basil and perennials like Lavender, Mint, and Peonies, whose scents deer hate the most.
  • Deer-resistant Marigolds: Some other varieties of Marigolds with strong scents are Sweetscent Marigolds, Mayan Marigolds, and Mexican Marigolds, which you can grow with plants like Rosemary and Geraniums.
  • Fence the garden: Build an 8 to 11-foot tall fence around your garden using wooden or metal t-bar garden posts to prevent deer from jumping over.
  • Deer Repellants: Deer hate the pungent smell expelled by raw eggs, garlic, cloves, and mint. So you can use the spray from them or repellants in the market.
  • Motion-activated sprinkler: The sprinklers burst the water in the motion’s direction. So you can use it in vegetable, herbal or flower gardens to scare off the animals.
  • LED light motion sensor: Harmless solar device that triggers infrared sensors to emit LED red light, ultrasonic sounds and intense flash to make deer uncomfortable and escape.
  • The scent of danger: You can also apply predator-related scents around your garden, like wolf urine, to keep them out of the garden.

However, do not blame deer if the Marigolds are healthy one day and have cuts and chew parts the other day, as the culprit can be slugs and snails that eat Marigolds at night.

Take reference from the video for further explanation!

From Editorial Team

Extra Tips!

You can never be sure about the wild herbivores. So better not to depend on the Marigolds solely to deter them away and plant deer-loving plants indoors.

Also, many believe coffee grounds keep deer away due to the bitter scent and taste. However, it is yet to be proved.

So why not try it out yourself?