Are Zinnias Deer Resistant

zinnia is one of the only flowers that bloom aboard the ISS and is a very popular genus in both North and South America. They can grow very large in open areas, making them easy for deer to reach.

If you live in a deer-rich area, it’s natural to wonder if deer eat zinnias and how to prevent deer from eating them. In today’s article, I’ll answer these questions while also suggesting ways to keep deer out of your garden.

Do Deer Eat Zinnias?

Yes, deer eat zinnias, but very rarely. Zinnias are rarely seriously damaged by deer, according to a study by Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

This means that they are hungry and cannot find food is the smell of zinnias, or rather the absence of zinnias.

Just like people, deer are naturally attracted to food that smells good, whereas zinnias have almost no scent.

It’s also important to note that while they’re nibbling on zinnias, deer will stick to the flowers and usually won’t eat the leaves.

Deer will avoid plants that are painful to eat (cacti), taste bad (iris), but also avoid plants that smell bad.

While zinnias can grow up to 3 feet tall, which means deer can jump over the fence to reach them if they grow right next to a fence, they won’t bother with your zinnias if other food is available.

Is it safe for deer to eat zinnia?

While not scientifically proven, most experts agree that zinnias are not dangerous to deer or other ungulates.

Interestingly, zinnias are also considered non-toxic to humans. Not that you should include them in your diet, but they can be a source of calories in a pinch if you’re lost in the wild.

Will deer grow back after eating zinnia?

Are Zinnias Deer Resistant

Well, zinnias are annuals, which means they die after they go to seed (usually after the first frost). If a deer eats a zinnia bush it won’t grow back, but that has nothing to do with the deer.

Zinnias grow, flower and set seeds, then die. Even if the deer don’t eat it, the plants will die.

When it comes to flowering potential and how beautiful zinnias are, know that they actually benefit from deadheading. Deadheading, if you don’t know, is the practice of removing wilted or dead flowers to encourage new flower growth.

So a deer eating a few dying flowers can actually improve your zinnia display and save you a job in the garden.


Are there deer resistant zinnias?

No zinnia is completely deer resistant (honestly, no plant is deer resistant – even poisonous ones can be eaten by deer), but all varieties of zinnias lack the allure Smell, and not at all interesting to deer.

Naturally, they don’t want to eat it because of this, and also because there is not much food in the zinnia. Deer don’t eat stems and leaves, they must eat thousands of flowers a day to get enough calories.

You might also like to read how deer eat geraniums and

How to keep deer from eating zinnias.


In most cases, zinnias won’t need your help to protect themselves from deer. They are naturally protected because they do not have a strong smell and deer are not interested in them.

Still, here are some ways you can generally help with deer in your garden.


deer out is relatively easy, at least compared to other pests. Unlike rabbits and moles, they cannot dig under fences, nor can they climb or pass through fences like squirrels or mice.


If you want to keep deer out in the most efficient manner, then I recommend building or installing a fence that is at least 7 feet high. That’s because deer have a hard time jumping above 7 feet, and since they can’t climb or dig, a tall fence is almost guaranteed to keep them out of your garden.

However, installing a fence can be costly, so here are some other options for you to consider.


Letting your puppy into the garden may seem like a dangerous idea, but know that deer are a non-opposing species and will always run away if attacked. Deer will only fight back when they have nowhere to run or are cornered.

So if there’s a low fence they can jump over easily, when your dog starts chasing them around the yard, they’re likely to jump back over the fence.

Mechanical Panic

Like any animal, deer are afraid of loud sounds and lights at night. You can find simple motion-activated systems that, once activated, make a deterrent sound or start flashing lights. Either way, these systems are a surefire way to keep deer from fleeing.

You can also go for a less expensive but equally effective version and install your sprinkler system with a motion sensor. Whenever a deer activates the sensor, it activates the sprinklers and sprays the deer with water.

All of these fears can cause the deer to flee.


How to Make Your Own Deer Repellant

Repellent Not mentioned in the previous section, repellants are also a great way to keep deer away. Unfortunately, they’re usually temporary because the repellant evaporates within a few weeks unless rain or irrigation systems wash them off beforehand.

Therefore, until you find a more permanent solution, I would only recommend insect repellent as a temporary solution.


are garlic, boiled eggs, hot peppers, oregano, dish soap, and even Dijon mustard works well to repel them. All of these can combine with water to make a good insect repellant.

Read on to learn the exact steps to make your own homemade deer repellent.

How to Make Homemade

Deer Repellent Here’s my recipe for a very basic yet very effective way to make deer repellent in your own kitchen using just a few simple pantry basics.


Choose one or both of the following: garlic, hard-boiled eggs, paprika, oregano, dish soap, or Dijon mustard, plus water.


Simply blend the ingredients until they are very fine – don’t use too much water, just enough to blend until smooth.

Step 2 – Mix with Water

Mix the mixture with a gallon of water and strain through a sieve. The mixture you leave behind will have a very strong and pungent smell to the common man, and even more so to the deer.

Step 3 – Apply the repellent All

that’s left is to spray the mixture on the plants you want to protect. Remember, you’ll need to do this every few weeks if you want them to be protected.

Conclusion: Do Deer Eat Zinnias?

Yes, deer do eat zinnias, but they’re not happy about it. If deer are eating zinnias in your garden, it means they have little food in the wild and they are desperate.

They aren’t naturally attracted to zinnias, nor do they like its leaves and stems, which means other plants are at greater risk. Deer can be kept at bay, though, by using one of the deterrents I mentioned above.

Read more

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Randolph Snider
Randolph Snider

I'm Randolph Snider, the founder and CEO of I started the company in order to provide honest, unbiased reviews of hunting equipment and to help people make informed decisions when they're ready to buy gear.

Being a lifelong hunter, I know what it's like to be on the hunt for the best products available. I also understand the importance of getting good value for your money. That's why my goal is always to provide thorough, accurate information that will help you make the smartest choices possible when it comes time to buy hunting gear.

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