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November 30, 2020 2 min read

Do deer eat sunflower? This post will find out if this is true and what you can do about it.
Deer eat everything! That’s the exclamation that comes to mind when you consider that deer can eat over 400 different plant species.

Their diets are also incredibly dynamic, changing with each season and whatever is available. Unfortunately, this means more trouble for the grower. She must consider plants that are less likely to be eaten to prevent these invaders from devouring, and even wholly wiping out her garden. One of the best ways is to avoid attracting them. Hence, you need to be mindful of the kind of plants you grow. Therefore, if you are considering growing sunflowers, you may wonder—do deer eat sunflower?

Attractants and Meal Time Favorites

Sadly, deer can and will eat sunflowers. This is shocking especially if you consider that the sunflower has a big bright head with lots of thick hairy stems.

Deer will eat its leaves, shoots, and stems, marauding through and leaving nothing behind. Sunflowers are eye-catching not only to humans but deer as well, so the chances of sunflowers keeping deer out of your garden are zero to nil. However, according to the Rutgers Cooperative, sunflowers are not at the very top of favorite deer meals, but they can be occasionally eaten, causing severe damage.

Mixed with deer-resistant plants

If you still wish to grow your sunflowers, then we recommend adding deer-resistant plants to the list. Some include the American Holly, Arrowhead, and lots more. Do keep in mind that deer-resistant plants can also become edible snacks depending on the deer pressure in your area

Use fences

Fences are an acceptable way to keep deer from entering your garden. Make sure it is long enough—a minimum of 8 feet, but can go as high as 12 feet on a slope. You can also consider tensile wire fences and woven mesh, as long as you have them secured tight to the ground. That way, deer will not crawl in from under it. An electric fence can also work, but you may have to search for weak points or damage from time to time.


You can purchase a commercial repellent, but always check the label to ensure you are not poisoning yourself in the process. Human hair, a strong-smelling soap, and predator urine can also help keep them away. However, they are not potent for a very long time, as deer quickly get used to them. Motion-activated sound and light devices are also effective deterrents, but they also don’t last long.

Concluding thoughts

Do deer eat sunflower? Yes, they do and can wipe them out of your garden if there are no stringent deer deterrent methods in place. Therefore, growing sunflowers also demand these deterrents outlined above in your garden. Implementing these measures as you begin your sunflower cultivation can save you many heartaches that come with deer-proofing only after the disaster.

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