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Do deer eat mums (or chrysanthemums) is a question for gardeners that have free-roaming deer in their area. You don’t want your beautiful mum blooms chomped by the local wildlife after all the effort you have put in to get them to produce the flowers! Try our suggestions to make your mums deer resistant!
Deer do not actively seek out chrysanthemums in gardens to eat, but they may eat the plant while foraging for other garden plants. Some mums are fairly deer resistant and will bounce back after being nibbled by deer, but others need protection in the form of strategies to repel the deer.
Gardeners treasure chrysanthemums for their beauty and variety, from daisy-shaped flowers to pompom-shaped flowers or even little button flowers; these plants bring beauty and color to a garden. What can you do to prevent your mums from becoming appetizers for the local deer population?
Table of contents
Do Deer Eat Mums?
Yes, deer do eat mums. It’s not their first choice, but in hard times, mums will be on a deer’s shopping list!
Chrysanthemums are popular among gardeners for the showy beauty their flowers bring to the garden. With more than 40 different chrysanthemum varieties to choose from, you can find mums that will flourish in most climate zones.
But will these garden beauties attract the local wildlife to decimate the chrysanthemums that you have so lovingly cultivated?
Many areas have free-roaming deer that wander into suburban and semi-suburban areas in search of an easy, tasty meal in our lush gardens. Are mums included on the menu for local deer populations, or will they leave your chrysanthemums to bring color to your garden?
Will Deer Eat Mums Flowers?
Unfortunately, mums are eaten by deer, and if there are other plants in your garden that deer enjoy, your chrysanthemums will also fall victim to marauding deer.
Deer are primarily classified as browsers or leaf eaters, but this type of vegetation is only a part of their varied diet. A more accurate description of a deer’s diet would be to consider them mixed-feeders. They will eat grass, herbs, mushrooms, berries, fruit, and leaves.
The deer will eat the leaves as well as the flowers on your mums plants, which makes the plants susceptible to damage by these animals.
Do Chrysanthemums Repel Deer?
Chrysanthemums do not repel deer and are not deer resistant in the sense that the deer will actively avoid them, but they are also not specifically targeted by deer as a favorite treat.
To repel deer, look at plants that have a heavy scent. Heavy scents tend to make deer uneasy – quite likely because they can’t sense threats when their senses are blocked by heavy fragrances. Great repelling plants include the allium family (onions, garlic, chives) and other heavily scented herbs like mint, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and sage.
Mums will likely be collateral damage by a deer foraging in your garden. They may munch on a chrysanthemum or two while they are eating other plants around them.
However, the deer will not actively seek out all the chrysanthemums in your garden and wipe them out in a single night.
Will deer eat mums flowers? Yes, they will, but the deer will not actively seek them out and target them as a meal.
How Do You Keep Deer From Eating Your Mums?
We have some ideas you can implement in your gardening and mums-growing to discourage the deer from including them as part of a meal.
- Plant chrysanthemums in containers near the house. Planting your mums in containers or pots and locating them close to the house where there is more human activity can be a deer deterrent. This strategy is not guaranteed in all situations, as some deer can become quite relaxed around humans and will not hesitate to venture close to your home.
- Plant your mums with deer-resistant plants. Some other garden plants are deer resistant and will actively repel deer, which will keep them away from your chrysanthemums. These plants include Peonies, Foxgloves, Poppies, Daffodils, Begonias, hot peppers, and Bee Balm, among others.
- Fencing. Fencing can be an option, but many gardeners do not what to exclude the deer completely from the garden and don’t want their gardens looking like a maximum security prison!
- Motion-activated sprinkler systems. Sprinkler systems that come on when motion is detected can be an effective deterrent for deer in the garden, but the deer may eventually come to realize that the sprinkler system poses no real danger, and you could lose the advantage these systems offer.
- Get a dog. Dogs are an effective deer repellent if they actively chase the deer from the garden. Deer will naturally see dogs as predators and give your garden a wide berth.
Will Chrysanthemum Plants Grow Back After Deer Eat Them?
Some chrysanthemums fare better than others after being nibbled on by deer. Some chrysanthemum species, such as the FeverFew Chrysanthemum, are more resilient to the occasional nibble from a deer than the Shasta Daisy Chrysanthemum.
If you have deer frequently visiting your garden, speak to your local garden center for varieties more resistant to damage from deer and grow these varieties in your garden.
Create a Less Attractive Environment for Deer
Another way to take decisive action to protect your mums from deer is to deter the deer by making the environment less attractive to them.
The best way to implement this strategy is to use deer repellant products or even natural remedies that deer dislike to keep them away from your garden.
The following are effective deer repellents for the garden.
- Crushed garlic cloves. Crush several garlic cloves and scatter them on the ground around the mums. The strong odor will keep the deer away from the plants. You may need to replenish the garlic as it dries out and loses its pungency.
- Plant-safe chemical deer repellants. Plant-safe deer repellants such as Harris Deer Repellant can be sprayed directly on the plants to keep deer away.
- Spicy sprays. Natural remedies such as hot sauce mixed with water and sprayed on the plants will repel the deer.
Will Dawn Dish Soap Keep Deer Away?
Dawn dish soap is a good DIY deer repellant that works well to keep the deer away from your chrysanthemums.
Several recipes use Dawn dish soap that you can try to create a concoction that will work in your garden.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap or another dish soap in 1 gallon of water.
- Decant the mixture into spray bottles.
- Spray the soap mixture directly on your garden plants.
Another deer repellant recipe that uses Dawn dish soap is as follows.
- Mix 1 egg, ½ cup milk, 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap, and 1 tablespoon of cooking oil into 1 gallon of water.
- Spray this mixture around the base of your plants.
Adding hot sauce, chopped chilies, or chopped garlic to either of these deer repellants will make them more pungent and distasteful to the deer.
Where to Get Mums for Your Garden
If you are looking to source some mums to plant in your garden, I can recommend the varieties supplied by TrueLeafMarket, which offers various chrysanthemum varieties.
The Edible Chrysanthemum Shungiku is an heirloom variety that you can include on your dinner table and enjoy the beauty the flowers bring to your garden!
Verdict: Are Mums Deer Resistant?
Mums or chrysanthemums are not deer resistant and will be eaten by deer foraging in your garden. The deer are not attracted to your garden by the mums, but the deer will eat them while feeding on other plants in your garden that attract these animals.
The best method to protect your mums from deer raids is to plant your chrysanthemums among other plants that deer actively avoid or take active steps to place deer repellent mixtures on your plants.