Do deer eat sunflower plants is a worrying question if you’re a gardening enthusiast thinking of planting sunflower plants of the genus Helianthus in your garden, you might ask yourself this question.

Deer Eat Sunflower Plants

Well, sunflowers can give your garden a bright and vibrant appeal. But you might be quickly disappointed if you keep dealing with deer eating your cheerful yellow flowers.

Deer love to eat sunflowers, and this guide will help you know how best to prevent these animals from eating your lovely flowers.

Do Deer Eat Sunflower Plants?

💥 Yes, deer eat sunflower plants because they are attracted to them. In addition, they also love sunflower leaves, and they won’t spare your garden if they find these plants in your yard.


They would also find sunflower seeds and plants attractive. Sunflowers are a favorite food for deer and they will eat them both in their natural form in the wild or if planted in a garden.

You might be thinking of planting sunflowers in your garden but are worried about pest infestation. Since deer are usually considered agricultural pests, it’s vital to know whether these animals feed on sunflower plants. More importantly, you should know how to prevent them from damaging the lovely plants in your garden.

💬 Suggested Read

You may also be interested in “15 Deer Resistant Herbs That Will Thrive In Your Garden“.

Usually, pollinators are quite picky about the flowers they visit. Butterflies and bees will feed on unhybridized bloom
s. They prefer these flowers over others and will visit them frequently. However, deer aren’t as picky. Deer will only prefer smaller sunflowers over larger ones since they find them easier to reach and graze on them.

Larger sunflowers are easy to spot and are a huge payoff for these animals since they will try their luck to visit your garden. Dwarf sunflower varieties like Teddy and Little Becka are their favorites. 

– Source of Protein

Deer are animals which would typically get attracted to young sunflowers. If you have sunflowers in your lawn and the plants have been squashed overnight with the leaves eaten, this might indicate that you’re dealing with deer in your garden, this is because they would barge in, and start chewing on it, knowing that this is a source of protein for them.

They will eat both the leaves and the flowers of this plant.

Therefore, these animals will eat these plants to meet their protein quota. Whether young or mature sunflowers, you should know that your plants are at a high risk of being eaten by deer. If these animals are hungry, they will also devour the flowers. Raising sunflowers’ height won’t discourage these animals from eating your plants.

– Phosphorous

Deer also enjoy eating sunflowers because of the phosphorous content in these plants. Phosphorous is an essential nutrient that helps with bone development. The nutrient also helps in strengthening their antlers.

Sunflower Contains Phosphorous

When deer invade your yard, they will target the young plant leaves before they even think of eating the flower heads. Young sunflowers are more appealing compared to their older counterparts. Young sunflowers are considered ideal grazing spots for these creatures.

– Rich in Fiber

Another reason why these animals would sneak in into your garden that’s planted with sunflowers and starting eating them, stepping on the bushes, and then eat another one, is that they are rich in fiber, and they love to eat these types of foods.

When they feel like a sort of food is rich in fiber, it means that this food, generally, doesn’t upset their stomach, and as a result, they will eat it. Don’t forget that it also has a high fat content too, which means that as they eat some, their nutritional satisfaction will reach its peak.

Hence, they will, by all means, want to eat it, and it will result in chewing of the leaves and some beheaded flowers.

How To Know Whether Deer Ate The Sunflowers?

To know whether deer ate the sunflowers you must check the bite marks that are on the flowers, in addition, check for the stomped leaves around the garden. Lastly, you could also look for some deer droppings on the ground.

– Bite Marks

If you suspect the animals you recently saw roaming in your garden to have ravaged your garden, you should look for deer bites. Dirty tearing and ripping of the sunflower plants is one sign you might be dealing with deer attacks. 

Bite Marks of Deer

Unlike small animals, deer don’t nibble; they eat large chunks of leaves or flowers. In addition, they would be more like a big one that has been scooped out of the flower.

– Stomped Leaves

You should also check for deer tracks. These animals are huge and aren’t as discrete as they might think. You can easily point out their tracks around your garden, make sure you look at these tracks in the morning time, because that is when they will be more clear. Which would mean that the ones who stomped the leaves that were perfectly fine, were these creatures who came in and ate them off. 

Deer will also eat the leaves and flowers and leave the sunflower stem intact, which means that after they have eaten some of them, they would skip and go for another one, as they would leave their hoof prints on the previous one, and head to new flowers to bite. Therefore, you can use this to determine whether deer invaded your garden.

– Droppings

If these animals took their time eating sunflower plants in your garden, look for their droppings. The droppings look like marbles.

They would also eat the sunflower seeds, leaves, and flowers. However, it’s worth noting that these animals don’t have the microbes required to digest hulls of sunflower seeds. Hence, they might struggle to digest this part of the sunflower plant, but this is not where it ends

How To Keep Deer Away From Sunflowers?

To keep deer away from sunflowers you can install a tall fence, or use liquid deer repellant. In addition, you may also plant some deer resistant plants, or use motion sensory sprinklers.

Keeping Deer Away from Sunflower

You can even try solar-powered lights, and lastly deer netting.

– Install a Tall Fence

If you don’t have a fence, fencing is the first step to ensuring you don’t deal with the frustrations of deer eating your plants. Put up a fence that is at least 12 feet tall. A tall fence will deter deer and other predators from accessing your plants. 

You will no longer see your flowers beheaded, because they will not be able to reach it and bite it off the hard work that you had been putting.

– Use of Liquid Deer Repellant

A deer repellent is another good idea that will help you deter these animals from invading your garden. Most of these products work differently. Therefore, it’s important to confirm that you pick the one that suits your gardening style.

When choosing from the different deer repellent products, confirm that you picked one without a harmful odor. Some odors are awful and could even discourage you from spending time in your garden.

– Plant Deer Resistant Plants

If you don’t want to use chemical products in your garden, consider planting deer resistant plants like lavender, chives, lily of the valley, Russian sage, daffodils and more. These will fill out the space with their aroma, and the deer won’t be able to come anywhere near the flower.

Planting Deer Resistant Plants

The good thing about having these plants in your garden is that they prevent deer from invading and beautify your lawn. For instance, daffodils will leave your garden with a bright-yellow appearance. 

– Use Motion Sensory Sprinklers

Sprinklers are also a good trick to prevent deer attacks on your lawn. Motion detection of these water shooters will do a good job of scaring deer from your garden. When they enter your garden, sprinklers will turn on automatically, gushing cold water to these animals. 

This alone is enough to drive the animals away. Using sprinklers will do the job for gardeners who don’t want to use pesticides or any other forms of repellents in their gardens.

– Use Solar-powered Lights

You can also install solar-powered lights that turn on when deer invade your garden. These lights will scare away these animals since they will think someone is roaming on your lawn.

Using Solar Powered Lights in Garden

Whenever they come by to eat, suddenly these lights will scare them away, and they will no longer be encouraged to come by.

– Deer Netting

If you have a few sunflower plants in your garden, deer netting is an affordable way to keep these animals away from your garden. They will be stuck, into trying to get into the task that they wanted, as a result the animals will be discouraged. In addition, you can even have some deer netting up higher in length and still, it will discourage them. 


Do deer eat sunflower plants? Yes, they do. To deter these animals from invading your garden, plant deer-repellent plants. Here are other things to keep in mind about deer and sunflowers:

  • Deer love to eat sunflowers and will leave behind tracks after invading your garden
  • Consider fencing your garden, using deer repellents and sprinklers to scare these animals from your farm.
  • You will know that a deer was the one who ate off your flowers through the bite marks, the droppings left, and the crushd leaves.

Generally, deer will do more harm than good to your garden. Therefore, it’s important to use the tips discussed herein to prevent them from accessing your lawn.

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