Do Deer Eat Petunia Flowers and Plants?

Your petunia garden was thriving. But then, one day, you noticed that the petunias were disappearing. The culprit? Deer! But do deer eat petunias? It turns out that deer will eat just about anything if they’re hungry enough.

This includes both the flowers and the leaves of petunia plants. Deer tend to prefer the leaves over the flowers. So, if you see that your petunias have been nibbled on, it’s likely that a deer is a culprit.

Petunias and DeerPin

Read on to learn more about why deer eat petunias and how to keep them out of your garden.

Why Do Deer Eat Petunias?

Like most animals, the answer to this question largely has to do with deer looking for food.

However, when they eat petunias, they get a fair amount of nutrients they need to survive. Petunias are also relatively easy for deer to access.

They don’t have to struggle to reach the flowers or leaves, and they are often found in areas where deer are already frequent.

This makes them an easy and convenient food source for deer.

What Do Deer Eat?

Deer are herbivores, which means that their diet consists mostly of plants. In addition to petunias, they also eat a variety of other flowers, leaves, and grasses.

They also consume a significant amount of acorns and other nuts.

In fact, deer have been known to eat up to 20 pounds of acorns in a single day! This is especially true in the fall when acorns are abundant.

In the winter, when food is more scarce, deer will eat just about anything they can find. This includes twigs, bark, and even other animals’ feces.

While deer will eat almost anything when they’re desperate, their preferred diet consists of plants high in protein and nutrients. This helps them stay healthy and strong, especially during winter.

What Other Wildlife And Pests Eat Petunias?

In addition to deer, petunias are also a favorite food of squirrels, rabbits, mice, groundhogs, and voles. 

These animals are all herbivores, so they share the same reasons for eating petunias as deer do.

Petunias are also susceptible to various pests, including aphids, Japanese beetles, and budworms. 

These pests are all attracted to the flowers and leaves of petunias, and they can quickly do a lot of damage.

How To Tell Which Kind of Animal Or Pest Is Eating Your Petunias

Some telltale signs can help you determine which type of animal or pest is eating your petunias.

If you see small, round holes in the leaves or flowers, aphids, Japanese beetles, or budworms likely are to blame. Unfortunately, these pests will also leave behind a sticky residue known as honeydew.

If the holes are larger and irregularly shaped – or your flowers are just plain gone – it’s a good indication that deer, rabbits, or other animals have been nibbling on your petunias.

You may also see footprints or droppings around the plants.

If you have petunias that deer or other animals are eating, you can do a few things to deter them.

5 Ways To Prevent Deer from Eating Your Petunias

So now that you know why deer eat petunias, how can you keep them from eating your plants?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Plant your petunias in an area that is not easily accessible to deer.
  2. Surround your petunias with plants that deer don’t like.
  3. Put up a fence around your garden.
  4. Use deer repellent.
  5. Try a motion-activated sprinkler.

Let’s take a look at each of these methods.

1. Plant your petunias in an area that is not easily accessible to deer.

First and foremost, to keep deer away from your petunias is to plant them in an area that is not easily accessible to deer.

For example, if your petunias are on a hill or in a difficult-to-reach spot, the deer will likely leave them alone in favor of an easier meal.

2. Surround your petunias with plants that deer don’t like.

One way to keep deer away from your petunias is to surround them with plants that deer don’t like.

Some examples of such plants include the following:

  • Marigolds
  • Zinnias
  • Daffodils
  • Lavender

The strong smell of these plants will often deter deer from coming near.

While these plants are not a foolproof method for deterring deer, if the deer can find other things to eat nearby, there’s a good chance they’ll leave your petunias alone.

3. Put up a fence around your garden.

If you’re serious about keeping deer away from your petunias, one of the best things you can do is put up a fence around your garden.

A fence will not only keep deer out, but it will also keep other animals and pests from getting to your petunias.

Ideally, your fence should be at least 8 feet tall. But if you live in an area with huge deer, you may need to go even taller.

4. Use deer repellent.

Various deer repellents on the market can help keep deer away from your petunias.

Unfortunately, these repellents, such as garlic or cinnamon, usually contain strong smells or tastes that deer don’t like.

5. Try a motion-activated sprinkler.

Another way to discourage deer from eating your petunias is to use a motion-activated sprinkler.

These devices will turn on and spray water whenever they detect movement, which can startle deer and other animals.

While this method can be effective, it’s important to note that it will also water your plants – so you’ll need to be careful not to oversaturate them.

Final Thoughts

Deer love to eat petunias – but there are a few things you can do to deter them.

By planting your petunias in an area that is not easily accessible to deer, surrounding them with plants that deer don’t like, or putting up a fence around your garden, you can help keep your petunias safe from hungry deer.

You can also use deer repellent or a motion-activated sprinkler to help keep deer away from your petunias.

Following these tips can help keep your petunias safe from hungry deer and other animals.

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