Are Cosmos Deer-Resistant? How to Keep Your Plants Safe from Hungry Deer

As a deer enthusiast, I’ve often wondered: do deer eat cosmos? If you’re a gardener concerned about your plants’ safety from hungry deer, keep reading.

Deer have a varied diet and while they may have preferences, they are less picky when hungry. Cosmos may not be their first choice of food if there are more appetizing options available. However, in times of food scarcity, deer may consider cosmos as a tasty snack. Therefore, it can be concluded that deer do consume cosmos but the frequency of consumption depends on availability and abundance of other food sources.

Do Deer Eat Cosmos?

One of the most common questions that gardeners ask is whether deer eat cosmos. The answer to this question is not straightforward. Deer, like humans, have food preferences. While cosmos flowers are not at the top of their list, deer may sometimes consider them as a snack when there is nothing else to eat.

Deer possess a flexible attitude toward picking their meal, drawing sustenance from an array of foliage, branches, and vegetation available to them. Although they generally lack a sophisticated palate, some plants can repel deer, including the cosmos flower. With almost 25 types of cosmos species, each with its distinct scent and flavor, deer maintain universal distaste for the flower, causing it to qualify as a deer-resistant plant.

Understanding Deer Diet

Deer are herbivorous animals that feed on different types of plants, including trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers. They have a varied diet and eat what’s available, but they do have preferences. In general, deer prefer plants that are high in protein and nutrients, such as clover, alfalfa, and soybeans. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t eat other plants. When food is scarce, deer may accept any available food source, including cosmos plants.

If you want to protect your garden from deer browsing, it’s important to understand their feeding behavior. Deer are active at dawn and dusk and can cause significant damage to your plants overnight. They tend to feed on the lower branches of trees and shrubs and will often stand on their hind legs to reach higher up plants.

Varieties of Deer-Resistant Cosmos

To safeguard your cosmos plants from deer damage, consider opting for deer-resistant types. Several cosmos cultivars are not appealing to deer, including the Cosmic Orange variety – boasting vivid orange blooms. Other deer-proof cosmos options include the Purity white cosmos, Sensation mix cosmos, and Pinkie cosmos. Varieties with strong aromas are also ideal as deer have an aversion to strongly scented plants.

Protecting Cosmos Plants from Deer

If you live in an area with a high deer population, you need to take some measures to protect your cosmos plants from deer damage. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a physical barrier around your plants. This can be done by installing a fence around your garden or putting a simple wire cage around individual plants.

Another way to protect your cosmos plants from deer is to use repellant sprays. There are many deer repellent sprays available in the market that work by making the plants smell or taste unappetizing to the deer. These sprays can be sprayed on the plants every few days or after a heavy rainfall to maintain their effectiveness.

Deer Repellent Sprays

  • Deer repellent sprays are available in ready-to-use spray bottles or concentrate form that can be mixed with water.
  • To apply the spray, thoroughly wet the leaves and stems of the cosmos plants according to the product instructions.
  • Repellent sprays need to be reapplied every few days or after heavy rainfall to maintain their effectiveness.
  • Keep in mind that deer may still eat your cosmos plants if they are particularly hungry or there is a shortage of food sources.

Additional Measures to Protect Cosmos Plants

  • Plant garlic, onions, or other alliums around your cosmos plants. These plants have a strong scent that repels deer.
  • Spray predator urine around your garden to deter deer. You can buy predator urine from garden supply stores or online.
  • Install motion-activated sprinklers in your garden. These sprinklers have sensors that detect movement and spray water, scaring away deer and other animals.

Keeping Deer Out of the Garden

  • Plant deer-resistant plants in your garden. Some deer-resistant plants include lavender, yarrow, daffodils, and mint.
  • Install a motion-activated sound system that plays the sound of a barking dog. The sound of a dog barking can deter deer and other wildlife from entering your garden.
  • Fence your garden. A fence around your garden can effectively keep out deer, but it can be expensive to install and maintain.

Reviving Cosmos Plants After Deer Damage

If your cosmos plants have been damaged by deer, don’t fret. Cosmos are annual plants and can often recover on their own if the damage is not too severe. To help your plants recover, remove any damaged leaves or stems to promote new growth. You can also fertilize your plants with a balanced fertilizer that is high in nitrogen to encourage new growth.

Water your plants regularly and make sure they are getting enough sunlight. If you are unsure how to care for your damaged cosmos plants, consult a local gardening expert for advice.


Which plants are the least preferred by deer?

Deer tend to avoid plants with strong fragrances and those that have rough or prickly textures. Some examples of plants that deer dislike due to their pungent aromas include lavender, oregano, and rosemary. Additionally, deer seem to stay away from plants that have a fuzzy or spiny texture, such as thistles or cacti. Planting these types of vegetation can be a good way to deter deer from feasting on your garden.

Which plant repels deer?

If you’re looking for a way to keep deer away from your plants, consider choosing ones with aromatic foliage or spiny, fuzzy characteristics that repel them. Some examples include herbs like lavender, rosemary, and thyme, as well as garlic and chives. These types of plants emit strong scents that deer find unappealing, making it less likely that they will munch on them. By incorporating these plants into your landscape, you can create a natural deterrent that helps protect your greenery from getting eaten.


So, do deer eat cosmos? No, usually they don’t. They prefer more appetizing options and will only turn to cosmos when they have no other choice. And let’s face it, who can blame them? Cosmos are beautiful, delicate flowers that we love to admire in our gardens, but they lack the nutritional value that deer need to survive.

If you’re worried about your garden becoming a deer buffet, there are a variety of methods you can use to keep these hungry visitors at bay. You could install a fence, use deer repellent sprays or even plant deer-resistant species. Whatever method you choose, just remember to be kind to our wildlife friends and give them a helping hand when they need it most.

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