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Are Sunflowers Deer Resistant? (Read This First!)

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Deer are seen to munch on almost every flowering plant that they can reach within their limit.

As a result, if you are growing sunflowers and deer have access to your garden/home’s boundary, it may concern you with the thought of whether are sunflowers deer resistant or not. 

So, let’s have a quick look into the explanations added ahead regarding this query to find answers.

Are Sunflowers Deer Resistant? 

Sunflowers are not deer resistant at all. In fact, deer love to munch on the entire sunflower plant including its flowers, leaves, and sunflower seeds because sunflowers make a protein-filled easy food source for them. Deer particularly prefer to eat the young and growing sunflower plants more.

Sunflowers have many species, among them, the Mexican sunflowers, False sunflowers, Maximilian sunflowers, and Tickseed sunflowers are the commonly planted ones.

However, it’s possible that you may not know whether all of these sunflower varieties are deer resistant or not. So to let you know, answers are individually added below. 

Mexican Sunflowers:

Mexican sunflowers that are known as Tithonia rotundifolia are mostly deer resistant but deer occasionally can damage the Mexican sunflowers if they are really very hungry or cannot seem to fund any other alternative food sources.

However, the chance of deer eating these Mexican sunflowers is less as even if deer are hungry they don’t tend to eat them. 

False Sunflowers:

False sunflower, an easy-to-grow species of sunflowers is another variety of sunflowers that is deer resistant. Deer tend not to bother this variety of sunflowers at all, nor do they like that much to munch on these false sunflowers. 

But being herbivores, if deer have no other food options, they probably will eat these false sunflowers but again chances are less. 

Maximilian Sunflowers:

In terms of a deer meal, the Maximilian sunflowers are not the first choice of deer to eat when there are other food options.

However, deer tend to feast on Maximilian sunflowers which means Maximilian sunflowers are not deer resistant. Deer mostly prefer consuming the new tender leaves and growing seed heads of Maximilian sunflowers. 

And the White-tailed deer are seen to munch on young Maximilian sunflower leaves but they don’t continue eating them when the sunflower plant has matured. 

Tickseed Sunflowers:

Tickseed sunflowers also happen to be a deer resistant variety of sunflowers. Deer neither damage these sunflowers nor they do eat them, and this makes them a popular choice for planting in the garden without any risk.

4 Reasons Why Sunflowers Are Not Deer Resistant?

As you know by now that deer absolutely love feasting on these sunflowers, thus, you may wonder what are the reasons behind that make sunflowers a non-deer resistant plant. 

So to give you a detailed insight, 4 major reasons are explained below. 

Rich In Protein: 

Sunflowers are incredible flowering plants that are highly enriched in protein, not just any specific part but the entire plant including its leaves and sunflower seeds make a great source of protein for Herbivorous animals.

When deer eat sunflowers as a whole plant or just its leaves or seeds, it helps to fulfill their need for protein, especially the sunflowers seeds really fulfill the protein quota for deer.

Thus, it makes one of the main reasons behind sunflowers being non-deer resistant plants. 

Loaded With Phosphorus: 

Apart from protein, sunflowers are packed with phosphorus as well. And deer highly need phosphorus for their bone development, some amount of phosphorus also helps deer strengthen antlers too.

Thereby, deer choose to eat sunflowers to fulfill the required amount of phosphorus in their body to develop bones and strengthen antlers. 

And it’s the other main reason why sunflowers aren’t deer resistant.

An Easy Food Source: 

Sunflowers do make an easy food source for deer to satisfy their hunger because deer can reach up to 6 feet in height, so even if it’s a tall sunflower plant, deer easily can reach the plant and eat it.

Besides, it’s a hustle to find food in the wild but eating sunflowers from the garden is not, which makes sunflowers a non-deer resistant plant too. 

Deer Are Herbivorous:

Being herbivorous, deer eat almost all flowering and vegetable plants that they can reach which means they will just eat sunflowers too.

So it’s a reason too why sunflowers aren’t deer resistant. Especially the young and booming sunflowers are mostly non-deer resistant.

Do Deer Like Sunflower? Are Sunflowers Good For Deer?

Although sunflowers may not ne be the first preference of deer to feast on, deer anyway will like and eat sunflowers if they can reach.

Besides, deer are herbivores, thus, deer tend to eat almost flowering plants, especially when there is a scarcity of food sources. This means they will like to eat sunflower as well if they don’t find other food options. 

Additionally, sunflowers are really good for deer because these flowers are packed with protein, so eating sunflower leaves, seeds, flowers add protein to the deer diet.

Sunflowers also add phosphorus to a deer’s health and strengthen its bone development. 

Do Deer Eat Perennial Sunflowers?

Deer tend not to eat perennial sunflowers because perennial sunflowers are deer resistant. 

Many grow perennial sunflowers to harvest seeds, so after chopping off the spent flowers, only the stems are left. And don’t prefer munching on those stiff and spikey leftover stems.

As a result, these perennial sunflowers’ deceased stalks work like a deer deterrent. 

How Do I Keep Deer From Eating My Sunflowers?

There are several methods of deterring deer from eating sunflowers, here the most effective ones are listed below, check them out to know. 

Install A Strong Fence: 

Building a strong, solid fence around your garden’s boundary is really an effective method to keep deer away from munching on your sunflowers. 

You can use any fencing material such as mesh, wire, or wood but you must make sure that your installed fence is tall enough and tightly built from deep inside the ground to the top. There shouldn’t be any gap. 

Also, if the fence is a vertically standing up one, make sure that it’s 8 feet tall at least. And if it’s a slanting one, the fence must be 12 feet tall. As this height is considered to be tall enough to keep deer away from eating plants.  

Dalen Deer X Protective Netting for Gardens and Landscapes - 7′ x 100′ - Strong and Durable 3/4″ Polypropylene Mesh with UV Inhibitors …

Deer Repellent Sprays: 

There are tons of commercial deer repellent sprays that contain awful odors like rotten eggs, decaying animals, or hot pepper.

You can spray any of these sprays around your sunflower beds or around your garden’s perimeter to keep deer away because deer find these odors very unpleasant and don’t go near them. 

Bobbex Deer Repellent Ready-to-Use Deer Deterrent Spray (32 oz.) B550110

Motion-Detecting Sprinklers: 

Installing a motion-detecting sprinkler will do an amazing job in repelling deer away from your sunflower plants. 

Upon installing a motion-detecting sprinkler, the sprinkler automatically is going to sprinkle off cold water on deer as soon as it will detect their movement in the garden. This device alone is enough to scare off deer and make them run away. 

Havahart 5277 Motion-Activated Animal Repellent & Sprinkler, 1 Pack, Green

Create Constant Or Loud Noise: 

Deer are scared of noise, so you can install moving decorations such as wind chimes everywhere in your garden that will move with the breeze and make constant sounds.

This way deer will assume your sunflower garden as a busy and unsafe area to invade, and they will not dare to go near the sunflowers to eat them. 

You can also use other moving decorations such as moving pans or cans everywhere in your garden to make it look like a busy area. 

Moreover, using sirens, whistles, radio, or any other device that creates a loud sound will keep deer away from your sunflowers, as deer really are afraid of sudden loud sounds. 

Grow Deer Repellent Plants: 

There actually are several deer repellent herbs and flowering plants that deer absolutely detest because of their pungent smells. You can grow these herbs and flowering plants between the sunflower plants to keep deer away from munching on sunflowers. 

These flowering plants include- pot marigolds, lavender, mint, foxglove, crape myrtle, lily of the valley, daffodils, catmint, verbena, brunnera, etc. 

And herb plants include- garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, and Greek oregano. 

What Animals Are Attracted To Sunflowers?

Sunflowers are not tempting to deer only, they also do attract and make an easy food source for other animals as well.

Some of them may eat the juicy flowers only while others may devour the entire plant with its fresh leaves, young stems, and sunflower seeds. 

So to help you saving your sunflowers from those animals, here is a list of the other animals that are attracted to sunflowers.

  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits 
  • Chipmunks 
  • Possums 
  • House rats 
  • Raccoons 
  • Hedgehogs 
  • Groundhogs 
  • Voles

Final Thoughts 

Neither sunflower garden nor the sunflowers are deer resistant. Deer really like to eat not only the young leaves of sunflowers but feast on sunflower seeds and juicy flowers because sunflowers as a whole plant is a great source of protein for them. Thus, if deer can reach sunflowers, they will eat.

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