What Animals Eat Marigolds in the Garden?

With marigolds blooming in every garden around, it’s no wonder that a variety of animals are enjoying their beautiful color and tantalizing scent. From rabbits to deer, it can be quite a surprise when you find out your precious marigold plants have been nibbled on by these garden visitors. In this guide, we’ll explore what animals eat marigolds in the garden and provide useful tips to protect them from hungry visitors.

What Eats Marigolds?

Marigolds are a popular garden flower, but they’re not just attractive to us humans. Many animals also find these bright yellow and orange flowers irresistible.

Rabbits, deer, groundhogs, and other herbivorous mammals will munch away at marigolds if given the opportunity. Browsing animals such as goats and sheep may even eat enough of them to completely wipe out your entire marigold crop!

What Eats Marigolds?

Insects that feed on marigolds include aphids, flea beetles, cutworms, and Japanese beetles. Slugs or snails can be particularly damaging pests when it comes to marigolds since they often feed on the leaves or flowers rather than the roots.


Grasshoppers are one of the most common garden pests that can be found eating marigolds in the garden. While they may seem harmless, large infestations of grasshoppers can cause a lot of damage to your marigold plants. Grasshoppers are mostly herbivorous, so they will feed on the leaves and flowers of your marigolds. If you notice any signs of grasshopper activity in your garden, it’s best to take preventive measures to control them as quickly as possible.

The most effective way to get rid of grasshoppers is by using traps and insecticides specifically designed for this purpose.
Additionally, you can also handpick the insects from your plants or contact a professional pest control service to help you out. With proper prevention and control, you can keep your marigolds safe from these garden pests.

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails may not be the cutest garden visitors, but they can munch away on your marigolds. You may want to keep an eye out for these critters if you notice any suspicious activity around your marigold patch. If you find that slugs or snails are feasting on your flowers, there are several ways to handle the situation. The most natural method would be to introduce some predators into the area like ground beetles, frogs, lizards or birds since they will help keep the slug and snail populations in check. Another option is to use bait specifically designed for slugs and snails. Place it around the perimeter of your marigolds so that when these pests approach, they will come in contact with the bait and be repelled from your garden.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles are a common garden pest that often feasts on marigolds. These voracious eaters can be controlled by applying insecticide or removing the beetles manually. To keep Japanese Beetles at bay, it’s best to plant varieties of marigolds that have high levels of resveratrol and other compounds which repel these pests. Additionally, hanging wind spinners and spraying repellants around your flower beds can help deter these insects from munching on your marigold blooms. Keep in mind though that Japanese Beetles are very persistent, so if you don’t take the proper precautions to protect your flowers they will quickly devour them!

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny arachnids that love to feed on the leaves and flowers of marigolds. They can cause damage quickly, leaving behind yellow spots and webbing on plant foliage. To control them, try spraying your plants with a mix of water and insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Spider Mites

You can also use predatory insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs to keep spider mite populations in check. Keeping your marigold bed free from debris and dead leaves can also help reduce their numbers.​


Earwigs are insectivorous pests that can devastate a garden, including marigolds. They feed on the plant leaves, buds, and petals of your marigold plants as well as other vegetables in the garden. To prevent earwigs from making their home in your garden, you should remove any debris or mulch around your marigold plants. You can also set traps using wet newspaper or shallow pans of soapy water to lure them away from the marigolds. Additionally, if you spot them eating your plants, hand-picking them off is an effective way to get rid of them without causing damage to the plants.


Aphids are one of the most common garden pests, and they love to eat marigolds. These tiny insects can do a lot of damage to marigold plants, so it’s important to take preventive measures against them.

Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids and can be used as a form of biological pest control if you notice an aphid infestation.
It’s also important to check your marigold plants regularly for signs of aphid activity, such as yellowing or wilting leaves. If you find any, try spraying the plant with a mixture of water and dish soap to get rid of them quickly.


Rabbits are one of the main culprits when it comes to marigold munching. These furry critters love nothing more than a nice, tasty marigold snack. If you find your marigolds being chomped down by an unknown source, chances are a rabbit is to blame! The best way to keep rabbits away from your marigolds is by erecting a fence around them. This will stop them in their tracks and ensure that they don’t get their paws on your flowers. It’s also important to clean up any garden debris as this can attract unwanted visitors such as rodents and squirrels – which could also lead to hungry rabbits!

Squirrels & Chipmunks

These rodents are one of the most common garden visitors and yes, they do eat marigolds! You can easily spot them nibbling on your flowers from the corner of your eye. Although they may be cute, they can still wreak havoc on your flower bed if left unchecked. To prevent these animals from eating too many of your marigolds, put up a fence or some other type of barrier to keep them out. Alternatively, you could also plant some less attractive (but still edible) plants nearby to distract the squirrels and chipmunks away from your marigolds. Just make sure that whatever you’re planting is safe for these creatures to consume!


Rats are keen on marigolds, and it’s often the leaves that they are attracted to. To discourage rats from eating your plants, remove any weeds or debris around them and use a rodent repellent spray such as Ropel®. Additionally, you can consider enclosing your marigold bed with fencing or netting to keep them away.


Thrips are small, yellow-colored insects that can feed on marigolds. They have a long, slender body and two pairs of wings. Thrips are known to cause damage to marigolds by feeding on the flowers and leaves. To prevent them from attacking your marigolds, you should regularly spray an insecticide onto plants.


Additionally, it is important to remove dead or wilted foliage as soon as possible, as this will attract the thrips into your garden. If you notice any signs of damage in your marigold plants, make sure to take swift action in order to protect them from harm!


Deer love to eat marigolds in the garden. Though they won’t consume the entire plant, deer will pull and nibble on the petals or leaves of marigolds. To protect your marigolds from these hungry critters, consider putting up a fence around them or spraying them with an unpleasant-tasting liquid repellent. You can also try planting other flowers that deer do not like which may help keep them away from your marigold plants. Keeping your garden tidy and free of spilled food or garbage is another great way to deter deer from snacking on your flowers![1]

Can Insects Damage My Marigolds?

Insects can cause damage to your marigolds. Many garden pests feed on the foliage and flowers of marigolds, including aphids, caterpillars, thrips, slugs, and cutworms. They can cause minor damage or even completely defoliate the plant if left unchecked.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect your marigold plants from these pesky insects. Keeping up with regular garden maintenance will go a long way – removing weeds that may harbor insects will help reduce their presence in your garden.

You could also introduce beneficial predators such as ladybugs or lacewings into your garden to hunt these pests down.
Finally, using an insecticidal soap or neem oil spray is effective for controlling insect populations and can be sprayed directly onto the marigold plants for protection. [2]

By taking these preventive measures, you can keep your marigolds safe from insects and other animals that may try to feed on them!

How to Stop Animals From Eating Marigolds

If you love having marigolds in your garden but don’t want animals to be snacking on them, there are some steps you can take to protect your flowers.

  • Place physical barriers around the flower bed. Fencing off the area with chicken wire or netting is a great way of keeping animals from getting close enough to reach and eat your plants.
  • Use deterrents like scented sprays and soaps. Many animals have a strong sense of smell, so spraying a scent that will repel them can be helpful. You can use commercial animal repellents or make your own using essential oils mixed with water in a spray bottle.
  • Add some motion. Animals are easily scared off by sudden movements, so you can set up a sprinkler to scare them away. You can also purchase motion-activated lights that will flash and create noise when triggered.
  • Plant marigolds in a container or raised bed. This will make it harder for animals to access them and therefore reduce the chances of them eating your flowers.
  • Keep your garden clean and free of food scraps and litter. Animals may be attracted to the area if they think there is food available, so make sure any potential food sources are removed from the area around your marigolds. [3]

How to Stop Animals From Eating Marigolds

With these simple steps, you can keep your marigolds safe from animals in the garden!


What has eaten my marigolds?

This is a question that many gardeners ask when they notice their marigolds have been chewed on. It could be any number of animals, including rabbits, deer, mice, and squirrels. If you see the tracks or droppings of these animals near your marigolds, then it’s likely one of them has been munching away at your precious flowers. You can take steps to deter these visitors by setting up motion sensor lights or using repellents such as predator urine around the area. Doing this may help keep the animals away from your marigolds in the future.

Do rabbits eat marigolds?

Yes, rabbits do eat marigolds. While it is not the favorite food of rabbits, they will nibble on marigold leaves and petals if other more preferred foods are not available. Marigolds provide a good source of essential nutrients for rabbits such as iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin A. However, it should be noted that too much consumption of marigolds may cause digestive issues in rabbits because they can be difficult to digest.  As such, it’s better to feed your rabbit small amounts of marigold leaves and petals as an occasional treat rather than a mainstay in their diet. It is also advisable to monitor any changes in your rabbit’s behavior or appetite when feeding them marigold leaves and petals. If you notice any signs of digestive stress, it is best to stop feeding them marigolds immediately.  To ensure your rabbit receives a balanced diet, provide them with hay, fresh vegetables and commercial rabbit food as their main sources of nutrition. As an occasional treat, small amounts of marigold leaves and petals can make for a tasty snack. [4]

It should also be mentioned that while rabbits may eat marigolds without harm, other animals in the garden such as cats or dogs may suffer from gastrointestinal distress when consuming these flowers. Therefore it is important to keep all animals away from areas where marigolds are growing. This will help to keep them safe and healthy in the long run.

Do cats eat marigolds?

The short answer is no. Cats are not known to eat marigolds in the garden, as they don’t find the smell of marigolds appealing. However, if a cat finds a marigold flower or plant with buds or seed heads that have fallen off then it may try nibbling on these parts of the plant.  But generally speaking cats aren’t attracted to marigolds and so aren’t likely to be found regularly eating them.  If you’re looking for ways to keep cats away from your garden, it’s better to focus on other methods than relying on marigolds alone.

For instance, using loud noises and motion-activated sprinklers can help deter cats from coming around your yard. Additionally, planting catmint or other plants that cats find attractive can help draw them away from the marigold beds.  While marigolds may not be your cats’ favorite food, they are enjoyed by many other animals in the garden and provide a feast of colorful blooms for you to enjoy! [5]

Do cats eat marigolds?

So if you’re looking to attract wildlife to your backyard, adding some marigolds is a great idea. Plus, these flowers are known for being able to repel pests from the garden, so it’s an added bonus!

No matter what type of critter visits your garden, it’s always important to be cautious when handling any wild animal. Make sure you take proper safety precautions and never attempt to feed any animal without consulting

Do slugs eat marigolds?

Yes, slugs will eat marigolds if given the opportunity. Slugs are attracted to moist garden beds and they feed on some varieties of flowers such as marigolds. It’s best to keep your marigold plants well-watered and protected from slug infestations by using a barrier such as diatomaceous earth or sharp sand around the base of each plant. Also, providing copper barriers and beer traps can help reduce slug populations in the garden. If you find that slugs have become a problem in your garden, it’s important to take action quickly before they start destroying plants.  You can remove them manually with tongs or tweezers and dispose of them away from the garden. There are also natural ways to get rid of slugs, such as using crushed eggshells or coffee grounds around the base of plants.  In some cases, it might be necessary to use an insecticide to eradicate large numbers of slugs from your garden. Make sure that you choose a product that is safe for your other plants and animals.  If you are unsure about which products to use, seek advice from a professional gardener or your local nursery. [6]

Useful Video: What Animal Is Eating My Marigolds?


Marigolds are a common flower in many gardens, and it is important to know what animals eat marigolds so that you can protect your garden from potential pests. A variety of animals may be tempted to sample marigold petals or leaves, including rabbits, deer, chipmunks, groundhogs, and squirrels. If you want to keep these animals away from your marigold plants, there are several effective methods you can use such as installing fencing around the garden, using repellents with natural ingredients like garlic or cayenne pepper powder, and hand-feeding smaller wildlife such as birds. Taking care to properly water and mulch your plants will also help ensure their health! With some careful planning, you can keep your marigolds safe from hungry animals.


  1. https://www.evergreenseeds.com/what-eats-marigolds/
  2. https://naturallist.com/what-is-eating-my-marigolds/
  3. https://www.evergreenseeds.com/what-eats-marigolds/
  4. https://hobbyfarmheaven.com/flowers-for-bunnies-can-rabbits-eat-marigolds/
  5. https://www.hepper.com/are-marigolds-poisonous-to-cats/
  6. https://agsci.oregonstate.edu/sites/agscid7/files/langelotto-dreves-2011-protecting-plants-em9027slugs.pdf