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Are zinnias deer resistant? Do deer eat zinnias? Let’s take an in-depth so you can grow a garden bursting with color and abundant with gorgeous blooms!

You can enjoy the flowers and greenery of your yard regardless of whether deer are in the area. The right plant choices can keep your garden thriving and bring you good feelings each time you view your garden while a variety of beautiful flowers simply grows.

Do Deer Eat Zinnias?

A common question asked by gardeners is, “do deer eat zinnias?” The short answer is, no. They do not seem to like them as a food source. Zinnias are a great flower for deer-resistant gardens.

They bloom all season, attract hummingbirds and butterflies, and have a long vase life. The blooms can be up to 6 inches across, so they’re perfect as cut flowers.

Do Deer Eat Zinna Flowers or the Whole Plant?

Stunning red zinnia flowers

Deer tend to avoid plants with certain textures, smells, and bright colors. This is because, in nature, some of these are indicators of toxic plants so they avoid them to be on the safe side.

An example of this is Foxglove and Oleander. They’re beautiful to look at and have a floral scent but are a deadly poison to humans and animals.

Any plant with a strong odor is likely to deter deer from coming near it, so those with a strong fragrance are good choices for your garden.

Deer also tend to avoid plants with thick stems and leaves as well as those that have gray or fuzzy textures. Lamb’s ear is a perfect example of a plant with fuzzy leaves.

Zinnias are Deer-Resistant Plants

Young doe with foxglove flowers

Zinnias are a summer bloomer that is also deer resistant. Deer tend to avoid zinnia plants because they do not like the smell of them. The flowers on zinnias are usually bright and colorful, making them a lovely addition to any garden. 

Winter is a time when food is scarce for deer, so they may eat plants close to your zinnias if they’re still blooming. You can try to deter them with fencing or repellent sprays, but this may not be practical if you want to grow them in an area where they can be seen from the house.

Although Zinnia and some other plants are known to be deer-resistant, during winter when food is scarce, deer will eat whatever is available to survive until spring. A good idea is to plant things that they do like far away from your garden so they will eat that instead. 

What Is the Preferred Food of Deer?

Deer are herbivores and therefore eat plant material. They will eat grasses, flowers, shrubs, trees, nuts, legumes, berries, and other vegetation. They have also been known to eat the bark off of trees or any other plants they can find. The amount of food that deer consume per day depends on the size of the animal. 

An adult male whitetail deer can consume up to 12 pounds of food in one day! If you have ever seen a deer in your backyard eating your plants, it is probably because they do not get enough nutrition from their natural diet so they need more food to survive.

Foods deer love to eat:

  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Corn
  • Pecans
  • Acorns
  • Hickory nuts
  • Clover leaves
  • Persimmon

The Origin of Zinnias

Zinnias (Zinnaea spp.) are native to Mexico and Central America and were introduced into Europe in the early 1700s. The most common type of zinnia grown by gardeners today is Zinnia elegans which is also known as China aster or annual cornflower. 

They can grow up to six feet tall and produce large clusters of colorful flowers on sturdy stems that are often used as cut flowers for bouquets or arrangements. Zinnias also make excellent border plants because they’re attractive even when not in bloom since they can survive drought conditions well once established in the ground.

These beauties are a lovely addition to any garden, but they can also be a great way to keep deer away. If you’re looking for a beautiful flower that will also deter deer from coming into your yard, zinnias are your best option.

Growing Zinnias

This plant can be grown from seeds or purchased as seedlings at most nurseries and home & garden centers. Even if you buy an established bed of zinnias from a nursery, they should grow well in your yard because they are easy to care for and have few pest problems.

Another way to pull together a complete garden theme is to plant a variety of flowering shrubs that work together cohesively so that they complement one another beautifully while still being resistant to deer visitors.

Purple-leaved barberry, viburnum, snapdragon, and blue salvia are some of the possibilities along these lines that may bring you closer to creating your perfect garden aesthetic.

Plant a Deer-Resistant Garden

A rural country garden at the edge of Oregon woods, composed entirely of deer-resistant flower varieties; including red poppies, rhododendrons, wild daisies, and native foxgloves.

When choosing plant species for your deer-resistant garden, don’t forget that you’ll need to choose companion plants as well.

After all, it’s not a matter of picking the prettiest flowers on the market! If they aren’t deer resistant, they will be even less likely to survive if planted in a garden without other plants that can provide protection. There are plenty of options when it comes to growing flowers that deer won’t eat and also look great too.

The best advice for gardeners looking for deer-resistant plants is to plan your garden with the deer’s habits in mind. By thinking of your garden both in terms of appearance and functionality, you will be able to create a plan that uses plants to their full potential.

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