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Do Deer Eat Geraniums? How To Protect Your Plants From Deer

Do Deer Eat Geraniums? How To Protect Your Plants From Deer

If you are considering planting geraniums but are unsure about their ability to deter deer, rest assured that we have all the information you need.

Do deer eat geraniums? Thankfully, geraniums are not a preferred food source of deer. That means your flower beds are likely safe from these hooved pests most of the time. However, during drought or food shortages, geraniums are seen as fair game by deer and other pests that wouldn’t normally eat them. 

Read on below and learn everything you need to know about how to protect your geraniums from deer!

Deer and Geraniums – What You Should Know

The smell of geraniums isn’t appealing to deer. That means they aren’t very interested in eating them most of the time.

But, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and deer will eat your geraniums when there is a food shortage.

In the following sections we break down why deer aren’t attracted to geraniums but why they’ll still eat them if they have no other choice and much more (including how to protect your geraniums from deer).

Are Deer Attracted to Geraniums?

Deer are not attracted to geraniums, thanks to the flower’s strong scent. 

If you’re growing geraniums, chances are you’ve touched their petals before and noticed how strong their aroma is.

Imagine being a deer sniffing it… with a sense of smell 500 to 1,000 times more powerful than yours.

This pungent aroma is more than enough to keep most pests, including deer, at bay most of the time.

Will Deer Eat Geraniums?

Deer, despite the fact that they are naturally unattracted to geraniums, will indeed eat these common flowers if they are hungry enough.

For example, if there has been no rain and grasses and other plants aren’t growing, deer will look to your gardens and flower beds for food rather than starve.

Likewise, if there are too many deer in the area, deer may venture further onto your property in search of something to munch on.

Reasons Why Deer Might Eat Geraniums

The number one reason deer will eat geraniums is that they can’t otherwise find enough available food to support themselves.

This food shortage could be due to bad weather, overpopulation of game animals, or other various reasons.

Every now and then, a deer might get curious and munch a few geraniums, especially after rain when the scent of the flower is greatly decreased.

Are Geraniums Deer Resistant?

Depending on whom you talk to, geraniums may or may not be classified as fully deer resistant… but what plant is 100% resistant to anything?

In reality, geraniums are as deer resistant as any strongly scented flower and far more resistant than some.

Deer are repelled by the natural scent of geraniums, and even if they are munched on, they bounce back pretty quickly unless they are completely grazed down to the ground by the pests.

Additionally, they are affordable enough to replace or even start extras if you do have an uncommon deer problem.

Are Hardy Geraniums Deer Resistant?

Hardy geraniums are among the most deer-resistant species of flowers out there. 

They look better than other types, smell stronger, have more petals with bright colors, and are generally considered superior when it comes to growing conditions and the care that’s required.

Out of all common geraniums you could plant in your flower beds, these are the least likely to be disturbed/eaten by deer (and other pests for that matter).

Will Deer Eat All Types of Geraniums?

Deer don’t typically eat geraniums if they have a choice to eat something else they prefer (which is almost anything else). 

That said, when they do take the chance to munch on these flowers, it’s likely they don’t care much about what type it is.

When deer stop to eat geraniums, it is usually because they are on the brink of starvation and are ready to vacuum up anything edible in their path.

What Animal Eats Geraniums?

Animals aren’t exactly fond of geraniums; however, some of them will have a nibble then and again. 

For example, rabbits and small rodents like rats are prone to eat geraniums. However, bud worms are actually the number one species that eat your geraniums. 

A window box planted with red geraniums and trailing ivy.

How To Keep Deer From Eating Geraniums

There are several ways to deter deer from eating your geraniums if they do indeed decide to sample one:

  1. Plant deer-repelling plants like sage, lavender, mint, basil, and lamb’s ear near your geraniums.
  2. Human hair is supposed to have a similar effect to the above-listed plants (a scent that keeps deer at bay).
  3. Places bars of soap, or squirt Dawn liquid dish soap, around the flowers or garden beds.
  4. Point flood lights with motion sensors at your flower beds where your geraniums are planted.
  5. Spray the area down with deer-repellent spray.
  6. Sprinkle red pepper (crushed or powder) around the area.
  7. Pour or spray vinegar around the base of your flowers.
  8. Put tomato cages or mesh over them (the last resort if deer are actively eating them).

Deer Resistant Annuals

Not sold on geraniums’ deer resistance? Perhaps you’re looking for some great companions for your flowers? 

Here are a few more deer-resistant annuals to consider:

  • African lily
  • Basil
  • Bleeding hearts
  • Brunnera Jack frost
  • Columbine
  • Crape myrtle
  • Fountain grass
  • Foxglove
  • Hens and chicks
  • Lamb’s Ear
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Salvia
  • Peony
  • Nepeta
  • Verbena
  • Veronica Royal Candles

Related Questions:

Do Deer Eat Impatiens?

Unfortunately, deer will indeed scarf down your impatiens if they are given the chance. That means you need to take appropriate steps to keep your impatiens protected from deer and other pests.

If deer spot them in your landscaping, they will seek them out for a quick lunch, breakfast, or dinner. 

Do Deer Eat Petunias?

Petunias are another flower species that is gorgeous and well worth growing but are unfortunately not deer resistant.

In fact, they are the opposite of resistant to deer; petunias are known to attract deer. Deer love the taste and smell of petunias and, for all we know, the way they look as well!

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how deer feel about your geraniums, you know what you need to do to keep them as safe as possible!

You also now know what species to consider planting as companions for your geraniums.

Hopefully, armed with your new knowledge of geraniums and deer, your flower beds will look even better than ever!