Do deer eat marigolds, is a question that shouldn’t worry you if you have planted these amazing flowers. They shine with their bright yellow color, and add aesthetics to your garden. Also, they help with pollination by providing food to bees.

Do Deer Eat Marigolds Plant America


You don’t have to worry more because deer don’t eat these flowers. They will eat them only if they are very hungry and they cannot find a different source of food. However, you can keep reading to find out everything about them and how you can plant other flowers as well which won’t get eaten. Other animals and pests love Marigolds.

Do Deer Eat Marigolds?

💥 No, deer do not eat marigolds. They are disgusted by the very strong smell of the flowers as well as the texture of the flowers makes them challenging for deer. This flower is a great deer-repellent, which won’t trigger them into your garden.


We all love to cultivate marigolds in our gardens. When the flower blooms, its bright yellow color enhances the garden’s look. Nevertheless, no one wants to see their flowers bitten off, and these flowers are not ones that will get eaten by most animals; on the contrary, they are deer repellents.

– Strong Smell

The best news is deer usually don’t live on marigolds. In 90 percent of the cases, deer will find the strong smell of the marigold flowers unappetizing. In addition, you should remember that these flowers are very strong in their fragrance, especially when they are just starting to bloom.

Deer have one of the strongest noses on the animal planet. They can sniff smells from miles away. As a result of having such a nose, they can sniff their food from miles with an intense nostril. This solid-smelling sense also deters them from eating marigold leaves and flowers.

Whenever these flowers are planted, through their living rate, they produce a smell that actually fills the garden as much as it is a strong smell coming from the marigold flowers and foliage.

In contrast to this, deer find this even more intense and smell it from far away. So, they do away from the flowers sensing their most intense fragrance. In fact, deer will dislike almost all types of flowers and garden plants with an intensified smell.

– Texture of Leaves

Moreover, deer strongly dislike the foliage of marigolds as it contains a solid anti-bacterial facility, as well as the texture of the leaves.

Also, whenever they tend to consume the foliage, it may cause stomach aches and blots, due to the texture and the properties, because it doesn’t have a smooth surface, and it has different chemical properties, hence the strong smell. Thus, deer will leave the marigold and look for other plants in the garden to make their feast.

Marigolds work more like a deer repellant in your garden. Also, the deer’s apathy in eating them makes the plant deer-resistant. Marigolds will be safe in the garden from deer.

Deer choose their food depending on the texture. Deer usually decide plants with smoother textures for their meals. If the foliage texture is rough, they will not eat it. This meal preference of the deer works against the favor of the marigolds, hence it is something they dislike.

When you look closely at its foliage, you can see its rough texture. The blades are sharp on either side of the leaves. It makes the foliage less smooth and attractive to deer. Also, it has a lace-like shape that deters the deer from eating the foliage. As a result, both the flower and foliage of marigolds are well-protected from deer.

What Are Marigold Varieties and Their Deer-Resistance Ability?

The marigold variations are the French marigolds, the African marigolds, and the signet marigolds. These have various properties, which will keep deer away from them, although they do differ in their scent, but they are able to repel animals away.

When you choose a marigold for your garden, you need to be picky. There’re multiple types of this flower, and not each will deter deer. In fact, one variety of it will attract the deer with its sweet smell instead of deterring it.

– French Marigold

French marigolds are smaller in size. The plants are bushier too. The flower spreads across three inches in diameter. On the other hand, plants can grow somewhere between six and 18 inches. Also, the flower can be either double or single-headed.

There are three standard colors of these marigolds, especially the color variations of yellow, orange, and mahogany-red. The French variations are classic ones.

French Marigold Plant America


Thankfully, these types will deter deer due to their strong fragrance. Thus, they aren’t as appealing as tomatoes and other vegetables to these horned animals.

Some cultivars have invented mixed colors of the classic French marigolds. With a longer blooming season, these flowers are seen throughout the spring and early winter. However, it releases a strong smell that keeps the deer away.

– African Marigold

African, more commonly known as Mexican marigold, this variation is seen widely in North America and worldwide. The flower of this type is larger than the French variation. Usually, the flowers will grow four to five inches in diameter. So, you can easily differentiate it from the French ones only by looking at its size.

Moreover, these flowers always have double-head. The flower color varies from bright yellow to orange. You will see a few color mix-ups with the African types.

The plant grows from 10 inches to 30 inches. It also helps in differentiating the flower from the other variations. You will also see the leaves broader with visible blades into it.

African marigold plants are so widely seen in the USA that it has the nickname American marigold. It, too, releases a strong and pungent odor. So, deer usually won’t attack these marigolds.

If you see deer eating the African variation, it’s almost certain that they are starving for days. So, you don’t need to deter the deer as it won’t regularly live on the African marigold.

– Signet Marigolds

Signet marigolds have distinctive foliage and flowering patterns. So you can quickly detect it from the other two variations. Often, the foliage is lacy, and the plant looks bushy. The flower will be orange to deep yellow. Also, it is a single-head flower of two to three inches in diameter.

They frequently bloom in summer. As the bloom reaches the peak, the flowers will cover the entire plant. So, people choose the signet marigold for its flowering. That indeed looks fantastic.

Two of its main features are having an unpleasant lemon fragrance of the foliage, and spicy tarragon flavor of the flowers.

Unfortunately, the fragrance and flavor seem appealing and attractive to rabbits and deer. Deer loves their sweet flavor. So, you will see both animals having a feast on the signet marigolds in your garden.

Planting too many signet marigolds in your garden will invite the deer to taste them. As a by-product, they will also feast on the other flowers and vegetables in your garden. Therefore, you must carefully select the right types of marigolds in your garden. You need to choose the deer proof variations to protect your garden.

Nonetheless, the signet marigold variation is different. It releases a citrus flavor and a sweet fragrance. Deer will detect it from miles and also are attracted to it. So, you will see them eating the signet marigold. If you plant this variation of marigold in your garden, you invite the deer to feast on them.

Thus, you must carefully select the type of marigold you choose. Thankfully, these three marigolds have distinctive patterns to help you differentiate between them.

How To Use Marigolds In Garden To Deter Deer?

You can use marigolds in the garden to deter the deer by joining some companion plants, by adding and strengthening the number of choices. On the other hand, you can even start to plant them as a shield to the garden beds, and adding them as a fencing structure.

You already would realize the deer resistance and deterrent feature of the marigolds. You may use the marigolds to protect other plants and vegetables in your garden. Plus, it will help you save money on fencing. Also, marigolds will add a different aesthetic to the garden with the attractive colors of the flowers.

– Companion Plants

The easiest way of using marigolds as a protective fence against deer is to use them with companion plants. The companion plants for marigolds also have an intense fragrance. So, the plants will intensify the fragrance.

Companion Plants Plant America


As deer sense a more intensified smell in the garden, they won’t enter it, so you must make sure that you plant some lavender, rosemary, sage, and lastly some geranium.

These shrubs and flowers have distinctive fragrances, as a result of which, it will confuse the deer. They often mistake the smell of marigolds and other flowers as their deterrent.

– Strength in Numbers

Of course, deer dislike the marigold fragrance. However, you will need more than just planting one or two marigolds. Unless you grow them in numbers, deer won’t sense the smell. You need to plant them thickly around the garden beds so that the smell becomes intense.

When you grow the flowers thickly, deer will fail to enter their muzzles into the beds. So, they will encounter the marigolds even before entering their muzzles inside the bed. Deer will strongly dislike it due to the lacy foliage and intense fragrance of the thickish marigold bushes. As you plant them around the garden beds, it will protect the vegetables.

– Shielding Garden Beds

Plant the marigolds around the garden beds, as a result to this, when deer come along towards other harvests that you have planted, such as vegetables of different kinds, they won’t reach the vegetables, even if they enter your nursery. Planting the companion plants and the marigolds around the nursery bed will surely add a protective layer to your plants.

– Fencing Structure

You can also use them as fencing for your garden. You can grow these flowers right along the boundary of your garden in large numbers. Choose the American marigold for this purpose. They will grow up to 30 inches. As a result, they will work as natural fencing in your garden. Also, it improves the privacy in your garden and lawn.

As you see, marigolds will serve two in one purposes. It will indeed improve the aesthetics of your space. Plus, the protection it brings is a bonus.

What Are Some Deer-Resistant and Repellant Plants?

Some deer-resistant plants and repellant ones are panicle hydrangeas, lavender, and verbena. On the other hand, you may also plant some buddleia, boxwood plant, juniper trees, and Russian sage. These will keep the animals off your property due to their texture and strong smell.

Marigold will indeed offer better protection to your nursery; however, these plants won’t sustain all year round. So, you need other plants during different times of year to deter the deer. Also, the strength of these plants lies in their numbers. If you don’t grow marigolds with other companion plants, their fragrance won’t be strong enough to keep deer away.

– Panicle Hydrangeas

Panic hydrangeas are famous for their flowery shrubs. Its large blooming will not only enhance the garden’s beauty but also improve its security. These flowers are fast-growing and spread in moist soil quite brilliantly.

Also, they have woody stalks. These woody stalks aren’t on the favorite list of meals for deer.

Panicle Hydrangeas Plant America


Also, deer will find it hard to penetrate the bushy and woody solid stalks of the hydrangeas. So, they will think twice about entering nurseries with hydrangeas around them.

Moreover, these hydrangeas will proliferate even if deer eat them. During dry days and winter, deer would live on anything. At this time, deer may try their luck in hydrangeas. Thus, their fast-growing facility will help maintain the hydrangeas with ease.

– Lavender

Lavender is known for its intense aroma. Also, these are among the fastest-growing perennial plants in your garden. Of course, the aroma of lavender is widespread among humans. It helps in relaxation with a soothing effect.

However, deer won’t like this intense aromatic appearance of lavenders, no matter how much we like it. This intense aroma will deter deer. Also, with a low-lying appearance, lavenders are an excellent option as accent plants in your garden.

The colorful appearance truly lifts the aesthetics in your garden. So, you will find them quite helpful as ornamental and protective plants in your garden.

You can grow the lavenders in pots as in the indoor plant. So, you can hang them around the nursery wall and provide it with a different but engaging look.

– Verbena

Verbena, with its vivid purple colors, looks stunning when it blooms. You can trim the plant in midsummer. It will yield perfect flowers in spring and continue booming till early winter. So, you will enjoy a couple of months of brilliant blooming and aesthetics.

Besides the gorgeous flowers, verbena is also ideal for turning off the deer. Its strong fragrance is a big turn-off for the deer. You can grow them in abundance in zone 8 to 11. In other places, you can grow them annually.

– Buddleia

Buddleia, aka butterfly bush, is another excellent bush plant to deter deer. The flowering is clustered and thickish, forming a carpet-like appearance. Also, the flower color is purple and bright. Once you grow the bushy plant, it will bloom during spring and add elegance to the landscape.

The smelly flower is ideal for resisting deer. Deer don’t eat the buddleia and like to stay away from them. It works as a perimeter bush around the garden. So, you can use them as fencing in the garden. It provides your space with a distinctive outlook.

What’s more, buddleia works as a brilliant pollinator apart from deterring deer. It attracts butterflies and bees to pollinate the germs. It will improve the blooming and vegetable harvest in the garden. Also, marigolds are easy to maintain without any tricky suggestions.

– Box Wood

Boxwood helps brilliantly in building a deer-resistant garden. It is an evergreen shrub and is also highly versatile. If you grow it in the garden’s perimeter, it will deter deer and rabbits. You will get them in various sizes and shapes. Deer hates the rough foliage of it.

You can maintain the boxwood shrubs through regular pruning. As you prune the shrubs, it takes a beautiful carpe-like appearance to enhance the accent in your space. Also, its strong smell will shun the deer away successfully.

You can grow them in zones 8 to 10. The shrubs can spread up to 20 feet. Thus, it can work on lawns too.

– Juniper

Juniper grows in full sun in zone 4 to 7. These plants will repel deer, thanks to their volatile oil. You will find this oil in the needles of the plant. Also, juniper is among the most versatile plants in your garden.

Juniper Plant America


You may use it in different ways. It includes the groundcovers, accent plants, topiaries, and even privacy screens.

As you see, juniper works both privacy screen and deer-deterrent in your garden. What’s more, its volatile oil will deter a few pests too. The plant will grow three to five feet, adding perfect privacy to your space. Also, drought tolerance allows these plants to thrive ideally on dry days. Thus, you don’t need to worry about their watering cycle.

– Russian Sage

Russian safe is a deer-resistant perennial famous for its striking beauty. It works as a filler plant and has stunning silver foliage. Also, its bright purple flowering will improve your landscape’s aesthetics.

The flowers blooming on its tall and thin stalks will look brilliant. Also, the great plume of color with vivid presence is eye-catchy and functional. The grassy plant has sharp blades on the foliage that can cause cuts on deer legs. So, deer usually try to avoid the Russian sage.

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