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Do Deer Eat Zinnias? (Quick Answers)

Zinnias are symbols of friendship and lasting affection. The zinnia blooms come in countless colors and can dramatically enhance your house’s aesthetics. But should you worry about deers if you have zinnias in your garden? Do deer eat zinnias? 

Keep reading to know essential information about zinnias and deers.

Do deer eat zinnias?

Zinnias are deer-resistant. Deers usually don’t eat zinnias. But no plant is safe from the deers if there is a food shortage or they can’t find their favorite ones. But most of the time, the deers will take a bite of the zinnia plant and split it out. It’s also nontoxic and safe for pets.

Zinnias are annual flowers that you can grow from seeds. That makes them one of the easy plants to grow for flowers. But is it safe from deers?

Yes, zinnias are safe from deers. Deers are naturally curious and timid animals. They want to try everything they see. Deers can take a bite from the zinnia plant for tasting purposes. But they will not eat zinnias.

Why do deers not eat zinnias? I did not find any scientific reasons why zinnias are deer resistant. But they usually don’t like plants that have pungent smells.

Deers, rabbits and such carnivorous animals live on plants. But plants can’t run or defend themselves from getting eaten. 

That way, some plants developed characteristics that can save them from the plant-eaters. Some plants are toxic, and some plants have thorns, while some plants produce some chemicals that just taste bad to those animals.

Zinnias usually taste bad to the deers and other carnivores. Or maybe zinnias taste like toxic plants, but actually, it is not.

However, deers can eat even toxic plants when there is a drought or a shortage of food around them. But that can happen very rarely, and that should not be a matter of concern.

Still, there must be other plants in your garden. So, you must take steps to save your garden from the deers. A small group of deers would not need a whole day to deal considerable damage to your garden. 

Spring is the best time to plant zinnias. Zinnias will start blooming in late July and continuously bloom till the first frost. Within this time, you will not have to worry about the deers. You can focus on watering them and ensuring they get proper nutrients from the soil.

Check out if deers eat those parts of zinnia plants.

Zinnias flowers: 

Deers don’t eat zinnia flowers. It does not taste good to the deers. However, zinnia flowers can attract a variety of pollinators in the garden. You can get more flowers by cutting the flowering branches of zinnia.

Zinnia plants: 

Deers can sometimes take a bite to taste the zinnia plant, but they will not eat the plant as it tastes terrible.

Zinnia seeds: 

All parts of zinnia plants are safe from deers, including the seeds.

Do zinnias deter deer?

Zinnias don’t deter deers from your garden, although deers will not eat zinnias. That means zinnias are deer-resistant, but they don’t help repel the deers from your garden. If your garden has only zinnia flowers that can repel the deers. (That’s not a good idea)

If you want to deter deers from your garden, you will have to build some protection that makes the garden out of their reach or do something that makes them feel there is a predator nearby.

Deers are keen to observe their surrounding environment, and if they find any signs of danger, they will leave the place and will not return. Spreading hair clippings, bones, and dried blood near your garden can keep your garden safe from deers. 

We will discuss more on deer protection in the following section of the article.

Are zinnias deer-resistant?

Zinnias are one of the best deer-resistant ornamental plants. Many deer-resistant plants are toxic and are not usually safe for pets. But zinnias are different. They are safe for cats, dogs, horses and other pets. 

Usually, pets and other animals don’t eat any part of zinnias, but it will attract pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Pollinators get attracted by zinnias for their sweet nectar. 

Zinnias can bloom red, pink, orange, white, yellow, purple and multicolor flowers. So, planting zinnias will add a lot of colors to your garden. The flowers are also deer resistant.

Zinnias are drought resistant, and they can grow with a minimum amount of water. So when there is a heavy drought, and other plants are passing away, zinnias can survive quite comfortably. Deers can eat zinnias when there is a drought and a lack of food. 

Why are deer eating my Zinnias?

Deers are eating your zinnias? That’s unusual but not impossible. Deers usually do not munch on zinnia plants as they don’t like the taste of zinnias. 

Why are some plants deer resistant? Plants develop some biochemicals that cause health problems to plant-eaters. That’s part of their defense mechanism. 

Those plants have a different taste that deers can distinguish. They usually do not eat those plants. Zinnia plant may taste like a toxic plant, although it’s safe for all animals. Here are the possible reasons why deers are eating zinnias in your garden.

There is a shortage of food:

Deers don’t like to come close to humans. They are timid, and that keeps them safe. But when they are coming close to humans and invading the gardens, that indicates a lack of food in the wild. 

Due to global warming and many artificial reasons, wildlife is greatly hampered. If deers are continuously visiting your garden, you should let the local wildlife center know about the issue. Only taking steps to save our own garden may not be the ultimate solution.


When there is a drought, deers face a lack of food and water in the wild. They can choose to come close to humans and look for food options in that situation. Zinnias are not on the food menu of deers, but a hungry deer is not a picky deer. 

In this situation, you can take steps to protect your garden. But if you care for the deers, you can plant some grass for them.

How to stop deer from eating zinnias?

Zinnias don’t need protection from the deers as they are deer resistant. But in the drought season, deers can rarely deal damage to your zinnia plants. You may have other plants in your garden that are not deer resistant. 

Keeping some types of protection is essential to stop the rabbits and deers.

But the issue is that adding a fence to protect your garden can badly affect the natural look of your garden. Here is what you can do to stop deer from eating zinnias and other plants in your garden.

Hair clippings:

Spreading hair clippings around your garden can keep your plants protected from the deers. Hair clippings will make the deer feel there is a predator nearby, and they will leave your garden.

Bones and dried blood:

Bones and dried blood also work like hair clippings, but they are hard to find. The good thing is dried blood, hair and bones will decompose and provide nutrients to the plants.

Deer protective sprays:

There are commercial deer protective sprays that you can apply around your garden to save the plants from deers. The spray contains the smells of predatory animals.


Fences are the most conventional way to keep the deers away from your garden. If you fence your garden, consider that deers can jump pretty high.

What animals eat Zinnias?

There are not many animals that eat zinnias. But still, there are a few you must be careful of. Mostly bugs and small pests eat zinnias. But other animals like rabbits and deers can munch on zinnias if there is a leakage of food. 

Zinnias are prone to bacterial and fungal diseases. They often get infested with white mildew. So you also should keep an eye on those. Here is a list of common pests that eat zinnias.

  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Beetles
  • Earwigs
  • Aphids and
  • Caterpillars

Flip the leaves and check under fallen leaves to spot those pests that can damage zinnias. 

Final Thoughts 

Zinnias are usually not a food option for the deers, but they may choose to eat zinnias in surviving conditions. Zinnias are deer and rabbit resistant, but if you notice something is eating your zinnias, check if caterpillars or slugs are in your garden.