Do Deer Eat Petunias? (And How to Keep Them Away)

Petunia is a popular flowering plant primarily grown as an annual. Best known as perennials, these plants are abundantly found in US hardiness zones 10 to 11. Interestingly, many experts tend to claim that petunias are resistant to deer.

But is that true?

Well, deer are known to devour almost any plant they stumble upon. But, of course, they also have their favorite options, and petunias happen to just not fall under that category.

Your petunias might, however, be damaged if one or more deer visits your yard.

Also, it is worth noting that deer can consume almost any plant if they are hungry enough. So, if a hungry deer passes through your petunia yard, they may bend their head for a bite.

Over the next few sections, we will discuss the risk posed by deer to your petunia plants. We will also share some guidelines that will help protect your yard from potential deer attacks.

Are Petunias Deer Resistant?

Unfortunately, petunias are not deer-resistant. As with any other succulent plant, deer will spot your petunias, and there are chances they might devour them.

So yes, if you live in an area with a high deer population, it’s possible to have a bunch of deer feast on your petunias the next time they’ll be passing on your yard.

But don’t worry!

With a few measures, you can keep deer off your petunia yard, but more of that will come later in the article.

Why Do Deer Like Petunias?

Deer like petunias for the same reasons they do other flowers — they have a sweet smell. Plus, petunias are young plants with almost succulent growth, which is a major attractant for deer.


In addition, most deer may find petunias attractive because they are extremely moist. Research shows that deer get a third of their water intake from plants, which means succulent plants are an attractive option for these herbivores.

But then, it’s worth noting that petunias aren’t deer’s favorite meal. You see, as much as deer are attracted to sweet-smelling flowers, they prefer those with a milder fragrance. In fact, if you have any of such in your garden, it’s very likely that deer will sidestep the petunias for them.

However, when planting petunias, it’s better not to leave your plantation to chance. It’s always best to go the extra mile to ensure proper protection of your flowers if you want to minimize the chances of being damaged by deer.

How Do You Keep Deer From Eating Petunias?

While deer will sometimes take the opportunity to devour your petunias, there are some ways to prevent them from doing this. Following is a list of guidelines that will help protect your property from deer infestation.

1. Establish Levels

This is probably one of the easiest ways to keep deer at bay. Since these animals aren’t the best climbers, you might want to add a bunch of terraces or beds to dissuade them from encroaching on your yard.

In case your property is woodsy, you might also want to add a bunch of pallets. Since most deer are afraid of pallets, they would no longer enter your yard or harm your beautiful petunias.

2. Add the Right Fence

Fences are often deemed the best way to protect your property from deer and other intruders. You might want to add a bunch of straight fences with a height of 8 feet.

Once you do this, the deer can no longer jump right over them. If this doesn’t work in your favor, you can also add fences with a height of 6 feet and a slant of 45 degrees.

Now, when choosing your fencing, there are a variety of materials to choose from, but wire and mesh are some of the most affordable but effective ways to keep these creatures from your home.

A mesh fence may not be as sturdy as the wired counterpart, but it blends better with your garden surroundings and is generally more convenient to have.

Electric fence

If setting up an electric fence, use a single strand and ensures it’s at least 30 inches from the ground. Also, ensure that it’s flagged with tape or a poly tape for the deer to notice it.

3. Get Plants With Fuzzy Foliage

This is yet another surefire way to ward off deer from your property. You can always plant several deer-resistant plants around your petunias to keep the deer at bay.

While exploring your options, closely examine the type of foliage the plants come with. The easiest way to do this is by rubbing the leaf around your cheek. If you think the leaf has tiny hairs, it might be an excellent choice for your garden.

Most deer do not enjoy textures that are hairy and fuzzy, and that’s because they bother their tongues. Just ensure to plant them around your petunias to be assured of deer not touching them.

Flowering tobaccos, yarrows, poppies, vervains, and similar other flowers are all great at keeping deer at bay. You can also plant a bunch of lavenders and peonies. They do not feature fuzzy leaves, but they have a very strong scent that serves as a perfect deer repellent.

If you are not sure of what plant to get, choose multiple plants, and position the petunias strategically near them. This way, you will soon be left with a sprawling garden free from potential deer attacks.

4. Use Invisible Nets

This is yet another great way to keep deer off your property. Just get a quality black mesh net and fasten it to a garden post (wooden or metal). This simple tactic will go a long way in keeping deer away from your petunias.

While fastening the netting to the garden post, ensure it is at least 8 feet tall. This will act as a major hindrance preventing the deer from jumping right over.

Also, for the first few months after setting the fence, you might want to add a couple of colorful streamers right above the fence. This will prevent the deer from accidentally moving over it in case they are scared.

5. Fence Your Petunias Individually

In case you quite don’t like the idea of getting a fence for your entire yard, you can always fence the petunias individually.

Just add a layer of netting over your plant and then create a solid and sturdy fence around it. This method is quite convenient, and setting up the entire thing doesn’t take much time.

6. Use Homemade Deer Repellants

Homemade deer repellants work just as well as their artificial counterparts. All you need is some patience and the correct trial-and-error strategy.

One of the easiest ways is by hanging strips of fabric softeners along with the trees. If this doesn’t work, team it up with a wrapped soap bar. Both these scents will confuse the deer and repel them from your yard.

You might also want to use pepper sprays, a mixture of garlic and egg, and rags soaked with ammonia in your garden. As with you, deer find these items smelly and will avoid them at all costs.

Ultimately, the hack here is to keep mixing things up and using multiple items until you finally figure out the most effective method.

Sure, it might appear intimidating at the outset. But at the end of the day, it will be truly rewarding given the fact that your garden will be free from deer invasion.

7. Try String Fishing Lines

This is a cheap and effective way to ward off deer from your property. Easier than setting an entire fence, this process doesn’t take much time either. All you need is a string of your fishing line (monofilament preferred) along the flower beds.

Make sure they are positioned right near the potential deer feeding spot, typically not more than 3 to 4 feet over the ground. Like light, smell, or glass, this string-based barrier will confuse the deer, eventually sending them away.

What Other Animals Eat Petunias?

While deer sometimes find them to nibble on your petunias almost irresistible, they aren’t the only suspect here. Your beautiful flowers may also be at risk from rabbits, squirrels, mice, budworms, chickens, and other animals and insects.

If you find your petunias ravaged overnight, your first suspect should be the rabbits. While white-tailed deer and mules can also do this, they do not usually ruin the entire garden like rabbits.

Squirrels too are especially fond of petunias. However, unlike deer, squirrels prefer the foliage over the flowers. Most squirrels are attracted to the spicy flavor of the petunia leaves.

Among insects, the biggest culprits would be caterpillars, budworms, and cutworms. Most of them prefer eating the leaves and buds of the plant as opposed to the entire thing. Still, you should do your bit to keep them off your property.

And that’s it!

Now that you have a clear idea about whether or not deer might consume your petunias, what are you waiting for?

Follow our guidelines and devise a solid strategy to keep deer and other wild animals at bay. Remember, with smart planning and a tad of diligence, you can have your perfect petunia blooms throughout the summer.

Keep doing your homework (like reading our blog), and you will soon have a blooming yard free from potential animal attacks.

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About Arindom Ghosh

A professional writer, editor, blogger, copywriter, and a member of the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors, New York. He has been part of many reputed domestic and global online magazines and publications. An avid reader and a nature lover by heart, when he is not working, he is probably exploring the secrets of life.