Do Deer Eat Geraniums? (and How to PREVENT Damage)

As a nature lover with a passion for all things deer-related, I often get asked the same question – do deer eat geraniums? The answer may surprise you! With my experience and expertise, I can confidently say that while some species of deer may occasionally nibble on geraniums, it is not a preferred food source. In fact, geraniums are often cultivated as a natural repellent to deter deer from gardens and crops. So, let’s dive in and explore the surprising truth about do deer eat geraniums!

Do Deer Eat Geraniums?

Deer are unlikely to eat geraniums due to their dislike of the plant’s smell and taste. In fact, geraniums are often cultivated as a natural repellent to deter deer from gardens and crops. While some species of deer may occasionally nibble on geraniums, it is not a preferred food source and can be easily discouraged with other available options. As a result, gardeners can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of geraniums without worrying about deer damage.

Understanding Deer Feeding Habits and Protecting Geraniums

Deer can be both beautiful and destructive. These majestic animals are herbivores and thrive on a wide range of leafy foliage, including shrubs and flowers. If you have a garden, especially one with geraniums, you know how frustrating it can be to wake up and find your plants decimated by foraging deer. But taking steps to prevent deer damage and protect your geraniums can be both effective and satisfying.

The Feeding Habits of Deer

Deer have a varied diet and will eat just about anything from grass to bark, depending on the time of year and what is available. However, they are not indiscriminate eaters and have some preferences. Some deer prefer particular plants to others, while others appear willing to eat almost anything. Some deer species, such as white-tailed deer, have a particular fondness for flowers and shrubs. However, they also consume grasses, herbs, and other vegetation depending on the time of year and their nutritional needs.

It’s worth noting that deer have sensitive digestive systems and can have negative reactions to eating something new. They may avoid geraniums until they have a better idea of what the plant does to their digestive system.

Why Geraniums May be Attractive to Deer

While not all deer like the same thing, geraniums may be attractive to deer under specific circumstances. First, their bright colors and sweet smell can be enticing to foraging deer. Second, geraniums are soft and easy to chew, making them an attractive choice for animals that have difficulty digesting more fibrous vegetation, such as grasses. Third, geraniums are often planted in gardens and landscapes, where they can be easily accessed by foraging deer.

However, deer will usually prefer other food sources if available and will eat geraniums only if there’s nothing else more appealing available.

The Effects of Deer Feeding on Geraniums

Deer feeding on geraniums can have a range of effects, depending on the severity of damage and the age of the plant. Moderate to severe feeding damage can cause stunting or killing of newly developing buds or shoots. With persistent feeding and browsing, the geraniums can completely die off.

Deer browsing can also have knock-on effects on the geraniums that may not be visible right away. For example, frequent nibbling can weaken the plants, making them more susceptible to fungal or bacterial infections, further reducing their vigor and lifespan.

Preventing Deer Damage to Geraniums

Using Fencing and Barriers

If you want to prevent deer from eating your geraniums, fencing and barriers are a highly effective solution. Such measures create an obstacle that dissuades deer from entering your garden. A range of fencing materials can be used, including electrical options, mesh netting, and wooden structures. Simple barriers can also be constructed using wire mesh and stakes.

Make sure your fences are high enough to deter the majority of deer species, as well as other garden pests like rabbits.

Chemical Deterrents

Deer repellent sprays are another effective option for deterring deer from eating geraniums. These sprays typically contain a mixture of natural compounds that have been shown to repel deer, such as putrescent eggs or rotten eggs, peppermint oil or clove oil.

However, it’s worth noting that repellents may not be effective against all deer species or in all conditions. Additionally, deer can develop tolerance to certain repellents over time. If you decide to use deterrent sprays, it’s essential to reapply them regularly and in the right quantities to achieve the best results.

Companion Planting with Deer-Resistant Plants

One way to deter deer from eating geraniums is to plant them alongside other plants that are less attractive to deer. Choosing companion plants that are naturally deer-resistant can be an effective way to protect geraniums from deer damage.

Some plants that are useful for companion planting with geraniums include lavender, thyme, and sage. These plants have strong fragrances that can help mask the scent of geraniums and make them less attractive to deer.

Alternative Plants to Geraniums

If you are struggling to protect your geraniums from deer damage, it might be worth considering alternative plants that are less attractive to deer. Some good options include marigolds, bulb flowers, herbs like rosemary or oregano, and some succulents.

Consider adding a few different types of plants to your garden to diversify your landscape. Keep in mind that deer have different preferences and habits, so you may need to experiment to find the best alternative plants for your garden.

Here are some examples of deer-resistant plants to include in your garden:

  • Lavender – this fragrant herb is disliked by deer and can also repel other pests such as moths and mosquitoes.
  • Salvia – known for its beautiful spikes of colorful flowers, salvia is another herb that deer avoid.
  • Mint – a useful and easy-to-grow herb that deer don’t usually bother.
  • Daffodils – the bulbs of this spring-blooming flower are toxic to deer, making them a great addition to your garden.
  • Butterfly bush – this shrub produces beautiful, fragrant flowers that attract butterflies but not deer.

By incorporating deer-resistant plants into your garden, you can reduce the likelihood of deer causing damage to your other plants.

Importance of Protecting Geraniums from Deer Feeding

While geraniums are not a preferred food source for deer, they may still be nibbled on if other food sources are scarce. Furthermore, even small amounts of deer feeding can cause significant damage to geraniums, and repeated feedings can ultimately kill the plants.Therefore, it’s important to take steps to protect your geraniums from deer feeding. This can include using physical barriers such as fencing or netting or using chemical deterrents such as sprays and repellents.

Additional Resources

For more information on deer-resistant plants and other aspects of garden pest control, there are many resources available. You may want to consider checking out the following:

  • Local gardening centers and nurseries
  • Online gardening forums and discussion boards
  • Books and magazines about gardening and landscaping
  • University extension offices and master gardener programs

These resources can provide valuable insights and tips on how to create a beautiful, deer-resistant garden.


What scent is detested by deer?

Deer have a strong aversion to certain scents, which can be used to deter them from entering gardens or eating foliage. Some odors that are known to repel deer include those that signal danger or threat, such as predator urine or decaying meat smells. Other scents that deer dislike include those with strong herbal notes, such as garlic, cloves, and mint. By incorporating these aromas into garden design or using them in repellent sprays, it may be possible to reduce deer damage to crops and plantings.

Which plants are most disliked by deer?

The avoidance behavior of deer towards particular plants can be attributed to several factors such as the presence of strong odors, rough textures, and peculiar foliage. Among the flora, herbs like rosemary and sage are known to possess fragrances that repel deer, while thorny plant species such as holly and yew, deter deer from browsing.

In addition, geraniums which are annuals or perennials, have minimal damage from deer and may be grown in tall containers or hanging pots to increase their effectiveness. Nevertheless, the success of deer-resistant plant selection may depend on regional factors as choosing native plant species may increase their chances of success.

Do deer and rabbits consume geraniums?

Geraniums are a highly pest-resistant plant that tend to be avoided by both deer and rabbits. In fact, these animals will typically leave geraniums alone, making them a great option for those looking to prevent damage to their garden. One strategy for further deterring pests is to grow geraniums in hanging pots or tall containers out of reach.

How to stop rabbit from munching on geraniums?

If you find that your geraniums are being disturbed by pesky rabbits, there are a few things you can do to discourage them from snacking on your plants. Consider surrounding your geraniums with rabbit-proof fencing, or placing a wire mesh barrier around the plants. You can also try planting other rabbit-resistant plants nearby, such as lavender or marigolds. Applying a rabbit repellent spray or using a scent-based deterrent, such as cinnamon or hot pepper spray, may also help to keep curious rabbits at bay.

Which geranium is least appealing to deer?

Geraniums are great plants to have in your garden if you’re looking for pest-resistant options. Among them, there’s a particular type of geranium that stands out as one of the most deer-resistant ones. They are often referred to as “wild geraniums” and are a great option for those looking to keep deer away from their garden. These geraniums have properties that make them unappealing to deer, causing them to look for other, more delicious plants to munch on. Consider planting them in hanging pots or tall containers for added protection.


So there you have it, folks! Do deer eat geraniums? The age-old myth that deer love to chow down on geraniums has been debunked. Turns out, these majestic creatures are not big fans of the smell and taste of geraniums. Gardeners can now breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the beauty and benefits of these lovely plants without worrying about deer damage.

Who knew that geraniums could also serve as a natural deer repellent? It just goes to show that there’s always more to learn about the fascinating world of plants and wildlife. So go ahead and plant those geraniums with pride, knowing that you’re outsmarting the deer and adding some charm to your garden at the same time.

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