Do Deer Eat Zinnias & Are These Plants Deer Resistant?

A zinnia flower that is deer resistant

Zinnias are a lovely flower that many people enjoy planting on their property. They add a pop of color that can really spruce up a yard!

But do deer eat zinnias?

These animals are known for snacking on various plants in gardens all around the world. So are zinnias deer resistant? Read on to find out.

What Are Zinnias?

Zinnias are colorful annual flowers that come in a spectrum of colors and shapes. They’re one of the most popular backyard flowers to cultivate. It’s not hard to see why.

Not only are zinnias beautiful, but they’re also easy to grow. They perform well in most areas of the country, thriving in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 10. Plus, they can resist periods of drought without much supplemental watering.

As a whole, zinnias are beginner-friendly. You don’t need a seasoned green thumb to keep these plants healthy. They come in so many variations that it’s easy to create a unique look for your garden. 

Zinnias can do wonders to boost a home’s curb appeal and fill a backyard space with amazing floral aromas. But because of their benefits, homeowners want to make sure pests don’t eat them!

Do Deer Eat Zinnias?

If you’re worried about deer ruining your garden and eating your flowers, don’t fret. Deer do not eat zinnias and typically stay away from it!

For this reason, many gardeners like to use zinnias strategically in their backyard. Deer can be a nuisance in many parts of the world. While you don’t see much of them during the day, they come out at night and in the early morning to scavenge for food.

These animals have a healthy diet that includes many different types of foods. They’re herbivorous and highly opportunistic, so they eat what they find. Some of the most beloved treats include ornamental grasses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and flowers.

A group of deer not eating zinnias

Therein lies the problem for backyard gardeners. Most of the stuff you would plant can attract deer. Whether you have a massive garden full of pumpkins and fruiting vegetables or a few container plants of showy flowers, it’s all at risk. Deer can come in anytime, snack on your plants, and effectively kill them!

The animals are notorious for snagging young buds before they can bloom and fruit, making it difficult to reach the harvest stage. Sure, there are many things you can do to keep deer out. But the creatures always find a way.

Zinnias are attractive alternatives to other blooming flowers. You get the variety in color and cultivar, they also offer easy growability. Most importantly, deer won’t eat zinnias!

What is it about zinnias that deer dislike? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not because of any level of toxicity. The flowers don’t produce a harsh aroma, either. The issue that deer have with zinnia comes down to its taste.

These majestic animals are more than willing to eat any other plant in your backyard. But there’s something about the zinnia flower that these animals hate! Many will try to eat the flower at some point in their lives. 

However, most deer instantly spit it out any zinnia they try to eat and learn their lesson. After that initial try, the animals will usually avoid them like the plague!

Using Zinnias Effectively

Since zinnias are quite deer resistant, you can use this to your advantage.

While zinnias don’t have a distinct smell or poison, deer usually avoid these plants as much as possible. Many homeowners will use zinnias as a natural alternative to physical barriers and chemical-based sprays. You can try it yourself!

All you have to do is plant several zinnias around the perimeter of your backyard. The flowers do well in pots, too. If you don’t want to take up valuable gardening space, grow the flowers in a pot and move them around your yard as you see fit.

Since zinnias are fairly deer resistant, having it in the area will usually discourage these animals from sniffing around the area.

It’s a surprisingly effective deterrent method (depending on how much you use) that’s completely safe. Zinnias don’t bother other plants and animals. So, you can have them throughout your yard without disturbing other wildlife.

Furthermore, the zinnia plants aren’t toxic in any way despite the fact that deer won’t eat them. That means they’re safe for pets and children. Instead of problematic chemicals, you can enjoy a deer-free yard while enjoying the sweet smell of zinnia blooms!

Are Zinnias Completely Deer Resistant?

Zinnias are known for being quite deer resistant, but are they totally foolproof? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

Tobe fair, no plant is. Deer dislike zinnias and won’t eat them, but there are always outliers and exceptions.

Even if you have a yard full of zinnias, there’s always a risk that deer will take a chance at eating it. Young fawns are most likely to experiment. In many cases, the hatred for zinnia comes after a first taste.

You might see young deer trying to eat the flower before deciding it’s not something they like!

In other cases, deer might not have a problem with its taste at all. Younger zinnia flower buds don’t have the same intense flavor as mature plants. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see deer nibbling on the buds before they get a chance to bloom.

In all likelihood, zinnias won’t be eaten by the deer on your property. But if you want an added element of protection against these animals, consider pairing the zinnias with another deterrent. Odor-based repellents and physical barriers are your best bet.


While deer technically will eat zinnias, they typically don’t make this mistake more than once. These deer resistant plants often discourage these animals from snacking in your yard, especially if you plant enough of them.

Are you having any luck with these flowers? Let us know!

Previous Post
Bleach that you can use to try to repel mice

Does Bleach Repel Mice & Keep Them Away? (Full Guide)

Next Post
Lavender that you can use to repel mice

Does Lavender Repel Mice Or Do They Like It?