Do Deer Eat 4 O’Clock Flowers? (and 11 Ways To PROTECT Your Garden)

I’ve always been curious: do deer eat four o’clock flowers? So, I did some research and here’s what I found.

Deer are notorious for their voracious appetites and are known to graze on a wide variety of vegetation, including flowers. Four o’clock flowers, however, are not typically a preferred food source for deer. While hungry deer may nibble on them in times of scarcity, they tend to avoid them due to their unpleasant taste and toxicity. The plant contains poisonous compounds, including alkaloids, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and other adverse reactions in animals that consume them.

Do Deer Eat Four O’Clocks?

As a gardener, you might worry about whether deer like to feast on the flowers that you’ve planted. While deer tend to munch on a wide variety of vegetation, four o’clock flowers are not usually on their preferred food list. Although deer may eat them when there is a lack of a food source, the four o’clock flowers have an unpleasant taste, making them unattractive to deer. In addition, four o’clock plants contain poisonous compounds, such as alkaloids, that can cause adverse reactions in animals that consume them, including nausea and vomiting. Therefore, these flowers are generally deer-resistant.

Are Four O’clock Flowers Deer Resistant?

Four o’clock flowers are surprisingly deer-resistant. These flowers are grown for their fragrant and showy trumpet-shaped blossoms that bloom late in the day, making them ideal for garden enthusiasts. These flowers’ poisonous nature and unappetizing taste cause deer to avoid them, making them an excellent choice for deer-prone areas. Planting four o’clock flowers will help keep your garden safe from hungry deer, making them one of the most popular deer-resistant plants for gardeners.

How Do I Keep Deer From Eating My Four O’clock Flowers?

If you have a problem with deer eating your four o’clock flowers, I have you covered!

Are those deer munching on your beautiful garden? Don’t fret, I’ve compiled an exhaustive list of solutions to help safeguard your plants, flowers, and trees.

1. Fencing

Deer are majestic creatures, but you don’t want them in your garden! Construct a fence that’s at least 8 feet high, made from heavy-duty material such as metal or plastic. You can also add a slanted top or double fence to deter them from jumping over. Remember to bury the fence at least 8-12 inches into the ground to prevent them from digging under it.

2. Use Deer-Resistant Plants

If you can’t beat them, plant things they don’t like. Deer tend to avoid plants with strong scents or prickly textures, so opt for fuzzy lamb’s ear, spiky yucca, fragrant lavender, and Russian sage. But keep in mind that no plant is completely deer-proof, so plant a mix of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to minimize their interest.

3. Motion-Activated Sprinklers or Lights

Motion-activated sprinklers or lights can startle deer and make them run for the hills! It’ll teach them to stay away from your garden. Sprinklers release a burst of water when it senses movement, while lights can make it harder for them to navigate around your garden.

4. Deer Repellent Sprays

Deer repellent sprays are an excellent option for the chemically-averse gardener. They use a combination of ingredients, including garlic, hot pepper, and eggs, to create an unpleasant taste and scent that will keep the deer away. But remember to reapply after rainfall to ensure it remains effective.

5. Hang Reflective Objects

Want to add some pizzazz to your garden while keeping deer out? Hang shiny objects such as CDs or aluminum foil strips. The reflection of light off these shiny items can confuse deer and keep them from coming towards your garden.

6. Physical Barriers

Protect individual plants or small garden areas by creating physical barriers, such as cages made from chicken wire or heavy plastic netting. Row covers are also effective in protecting sprouts and young plants from being eaten by deer.

7. Sound Deterrents

Deer have a keen sense of hearing, and certain sounds can frighten them away. Wind chimes or ultrasonic devices emit sounds that can deter deer from coming near your garden.

8. Smell Deterrents

Deer’s sensitive noses can be put to use! Human hair, soap, and rotten eggs are examples of strong scents that deer dislike. Spread these around the garden to discourage deer from coming close.

9. Natural Barriers

You can use nature to your advantage by planting holly or barberry bushes around the perimeter of your garden. Deer will avoid these prickly and thorny bushes. Alternatively, use a natural deer repellent such as bone meal or blood meal, which emit strong smells that deer dislike.

10. Clean Up Debris and Fallen Fruit

Old leaves, fruit, and debris attract deer, so clean up your garden regularly. By doing so, you’ll eliminate any potential food sources that might draw deer to your garden.

11. Rotate Your Methods

Deer are smart creatures, and they figure out how to outsmart your preventative measures. Rotate your tactics to keep them guessing. For example, start with building a fence, use sound deterrents or deer-resistant plants, then switch to natural barriers or deer repellent sprays. Keep mixing them up to keep them off-guard.

What Are Four O’Clocks?

Four o’clock flowers are plants that are native to the Americas, particularly North and South America. They are perennial and grow well in warm climates, thriving in soils with good drainage. The leaves grow up to 3 inches long and are alternately arranged on the stem. Four o’clock plants get their name because they bloom late in the day, often around four o’clock in the afternoon. These plants produce vibrant trumpet-shaped flowers, available in a variety of colors, such as white, pink, red, and yellow, and they smell of blooming coffee.

History and Characteristics

Four o’clock flowers have a rich history, having been used in traditional medicine and shamanic rituals for a long time. Indigenous people believe that the flowers contain healing properties, and some cultures believed that they had magical powers. Due to its beauty, fragrance, and properties, four o’clock flowers have become popular among gardeners.

Caring for Four O’Clocks

Four o’clock flowers are an excellent choice for garden enthusiasts because they are easy to grow and maintain. Below are some great tips on growing these beautiful plants.

Growing Tips

  • Four o’clock flowers can be grown indoors from seed before transplanting them outside after frost has passed.
  • You can grow four o’clock flowers in containers, but be mindful that larger varieties may not do well.
  • These flowers grow well in full sun to partial shade and prefer well-drained soil.
  • Watering is needed once or twice a week, depending on the climate and moisture level.

Soil and Water Needs

Four o’clocks grow easily in any condition, and their seeds can be planted anywhere in the garden as long as they get some moisture. The plants grow best in well-drained soils, and it is essential to avoid overwatering.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Four o’clock flowers prefer sunny to partially shaded areas and thrive in warm climates. They grow typically about 2 to 3 feet high, and their width is approximately 1 to 2 feet. These plants do not require heavy fertilization, making them low maintenance. Furthermore, seeding four o’clock plants is preferable to buying and transplanting mature plants, making them more affordable to grow.

Pruning and Fertilizing

To take care of your four o’clocks, there is no need for excessive maintenance. Giving them a bit of attention during early spring to feed them with an all-purpose balanced fertilizer can support their growth and blooming throughout the season. Additionally, monthly feeding or fertilization mid-season can be beneficial for maintaining the plant’s health and vitality.

If you feel that your soil lacks fertility, then monthly feeding will benefit your plant.In terms of pruning, four o’clocks can handle light pruning to retain their shape and encourage bushier and fuller growth. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. You can trim up to one-third of the plant’s length to keep it in shape.

Common Problems That May Arise with Four O’Clocks

While four o’clocks are generally hardy and easy to maintain, they can fall prey to several issues that require attention. Some of the common problems that may arise include powdery mildew, aphids, spider mites, and rust.

In case of an infestation, remove and dispose of infected plant parts, and use an appropriate fungicide if necessary.Aphids, spider mites, and rust are common pest issues that may affect your four o’clocks. Aphids are tiny, sap-sucking insects that can cause stunted growth, leaf curling, and yellowing of leaves.

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause a white powdery coating on leaves and stem, ultimately leading to leaf drop. It thrives in humid conditions, so ensure that you plant your four o’clocks where they can get adequate air circulation and sunlight.

Disease and Pest Issues

Four o’clocks are generally hardy and do not succumb easily to disease or pest infestations. However, some problems may occasionally affect them. One of the most common diseases is powdery mildew, which appears as a white, powdery fungal growth on leaves and stems. The disease is predominantly spread by high humidity and poor air circulation, so keep your plants dry and ensure they get ample sunlight.

You can use a fungicide to control the spread of the disease if necessary.Another pest issue that may affect four o’clocks is spider mites. These tiny insects cause discoloration, shriveling, and death of leaves. To prevent their infestation, use insecticidal soap or a strong stream of water to keep them away from your plant. Similarly, aphids and rust can also impact your plants’ growth, but they are relatively easy to control using natural predators or insecticidal soap.

Potential Solutions to Common Problems

Preventing the common problems that may affect four o’clocks is easy if you take the necessary measures in advance. For instance, ensure that your plants get adequate sunlight and air circulation, trim them appropriately, and avoid overwatering.

To keep your plants thriving, use a versatile fertilizer to give them the nutrients they need, and trim them occasionally to maintain their form. If you notice any pests or diseases, take prompt action to prevent them from spreading. You can use insecticidal soap, biological control agents, or a powerful burst of water to combat pest invasions.

Incorporating Four O’Clocks Into Garden Design

Four o’clocks are a versatile flower that can add a touch of elegance and beauty to any garden design. Their range of colors, long blooming season, and hardiness make them easy to incorporate into different landscaping projects. Here are some ideas for incorporating four o’clocks into your garden design:

Landscaping Ideas

  • Plant them as a border around your garden or mixed with other plants such as zinnias, petunias, and marigolds
  • Use them to add color to a rock garden or container garden
  • Plant them en masse in a flowerbed for a stunning floral display
  • Grow them on trellises or walls to bring a touch of color and beauty to otherwise dull spaces

If you’re looking for more information on growing and caring for four o’clocks, here are some additional resources that may be helpful:

  • Four O’Clocks Growing Guide
  • Best Fertilizers for Four O’Clocks
  • Common Problems with Four O’Clocks and How to Fix Them
  • Four O’Clocks: Tips for Incorporating Them into Your Garden Design


How to eliminate four o’clock flower?

If you want to remove four o’clock plants from your garden, you have a few options. One is to dig them up by the roots, which can be effective but also time-consuming. Another option is to use an herbicide that contains both glyphosate and triclopyr, which can kill the plants more quickly. Regardless of which method you choose, it’s important to be thorough and careful so that you completely eradicate the plant and prevent it from spreading to other areas of your garden.

Do 4 o’clocks reoccur annually?

Four o’clock plants are tough and adaptable beings that can flourish in a variety of environments. Once they take root, they can transform into flourishing shrubs and blossom all season long. Even if they come into contact with herbicides, they can recuperate quickly. If you need to control their expansion, you can either pluck them out or apply a glyphosate/triclopyr blend for faster results. In general, four o’clock plants can augment any garden or outdoor space, due to their fortitude and loveliness.

What causes the death of four o’clocks?

Four o’clock plants can grow up to three feet tall and bloom until frost, but can be managed by physically removing them or using a glyphosate plus triclopyr solution. However, the tough roots of mature plants may take several applications to eliminate completely.


So, do deer eat four o’clock flowers? The answer is not so straightforward. While it’s true that deer are notorious for their appetite and will happily graze on a wide range of vegetation, the good news for gardeners is that four o’clock flowers are not typically a preferred food source for these creatures.

So, if you’re looking to protect your garden from deer, planting a few four o’clock flowers might just be the solution you need. Not only will their toxicity and bitter taste discourage deer from feeding on them, but you’ll also get to enjoy their beautiful blooms in the early evening hours.

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