Do Deer Eat Sunflowers? (Yes, here’s why)

Do Deer Eat Sunflowers? (Yes, here’s why)

Are you ready to grow Sunflowers in your garden? So what do you do when Deer lurks around? 

sunflowers | Plant Gardener

Do Deer eat sunflowers? Here’s what I found after I asked some professional gardeners this question:

Deer eat Sunflowers all the time. Sunflowers are rich in protein, and the chemical compound is known as Glucosinolates, which is found in the hulls of the plant also help Deers to develop their antlers. Keep your sunflowers out of the reach of deers or plant some companion plants that will deter deer.

However, the strong aroma of Sunflowers often prevents deer from eating them. In most cases.

Note: If Deers are not accustomed to the smell of sunflowers, they may be attracted to them.

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Why Deers Are Attracted To Sunflowers 

In addition to phosphorus, sunflowers are also highly attractive to deer due to their beautiful and soothing leaves, and their leaves are often smeared with dirt and dead leaves. 

Since sunflowers are very attractive to them, deer will often browse them at night. It’s important to note that not all types of sunflowers are suitable for Deer, however.

Occasionally, in the absence of the ideal food source, the fact is that deer will eat anything and will even eat the young plants in your garden, including Geraniums, Lucky Bamboo, etc.

What Percentage of Sunflowers Do Deer Eat?

When it comes to eating sunflowers, deer prefer mature sunflowers. In general, they will not consume more than 10% of the plant, so it is best to plant sunflowers in areas where deer are not abundant.

Depending on the type of vegetation, there are varieties of sunflowers that can be eaten by deer.

The best way to avoid this situation is to keep your plant away from the presence of deer. While avoiding the presence of deer will keep your garden free of unwanted guests, you can still prevent this.

Deers May Eat Sunflower Seeds Due to The Protein Content

If deer eat sunflowers, they are probably eating them for the right reasons. The seeds have a high level of protein, so they are perfect for deer. They’ll also devour any other plants they find attractive.

The sunflower seeds are also highly nutritious. Some female Deers will consume these seeds — which aids in their baby’s development, especially when they’re pregnant. 

In general, Deers may not eat your sunflowers, but rather, destroy them. So, don’t let them destroy your sunflowers.

Do Deer Eat Sunflowers with Striped Shell (and black-seed sunflowers)?

striped sunflowers | Plant Gardener

Sunflowers with striped shells are common in our gardens. The question is, does this variety of sunflower serve as a delicious meal for Deers?

The answer is Yes, Deers prefer sunflowers with a striped shell, but they don’t eat them if they are young. They won’t nibble at them if they’re young.

Deer usually favor black-seed sunflowers because they’re more protein-rich. 

They’ll be more likely to snack on them.

Many people wonder if deer eat sunflowers. Yes, they do. If you have a garden, you’ll probably want to put sunflower seeds in it. This is an excellent way to ensure that your garden is full of different flowers, herbs, and other plants.

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What Animals Eat Sunflowers?

1). Deer Eat Sunflower Leaves

Sunflowers are very nutritious, and many animals eat sunflower seeds, including deer. They are herbivores, and their diets include vegetation and other foods. Because they are high in phosphorus, deer consume them in large quantities.

The nutrients help them grow strong bones and antlers. So, it is no surprise that they like to eat sunflowers. Despite their size, sunflowers don’t harm them much and can be a great food source.

2). Birds Eat Sunflower Seeds

Birds are among the most common diners, though deer are also fond of the plants. These animals will usually dine on the seeds, so you should keep a close eye on the plant and be aware of your surroundings.

If you’re growing sunflowers in the wild, consider installing a bird feeder, and make sure to leave the plants alone until they are fully grown. Using a heavy net will help deter these critters and keep your plants healthy.

3). Squirrels and Chipmunks Eat Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers are susceptible to fungal diseases, and can easily be stripped of their seeds by squirrels and goldfinches. In addition, Squirrels also ate the flowers and the seeds. You can use a scarecrow to ward off birds and squirrels.

To keep them from eating your seeds, keep the plants spaced well. You should also treat the plants with a copper fungicide to help prevent fungal growth. In addition to birds, squirrels, and chipmunks also feed on sunflowers.

You can also introduce predators, such as foxes, to your garden if you want to get rid of squirrels and chipmunks, but keep your sunflowers untouched.

Hint: Predators don’t eat sunflowers

4). Pigs and Chickens Eat Sunflower Seeds

Some pigs and chickens eat sunflower seeds. However, they are smart and cunning animals, so you shouldn’t try to catch them by accident.  

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5). Rabbits and Mice Eat Sunflower Seeds

If your sunflowers are left in the ground, Rabbits and mice will consume them. You can also use repellent to keep these animals away. 

These animals won’t eat the leaves of your sunflowers, but they’ll eat the sunflower seeds. They’ll also eat the sunflower kernels, but they won’t eat the leaves. 

Squirrels are one of the few animals that eat sunflowers. They also like daisies and other plants that contain seeds. If you have a squirrel problem, you should use a pesticide for sunflowers.

Often, it’s easier to get rid of aphids than to eliminate the seeds. But in some cases, the seeds are eaten by both squirrels and humans.

Why Do Squirrels and Deer Consume Sunflowers

Squirrels and deer are the two most common deer pests in the garden. They prefer to eat young sunflowers, but sunflowers are also vulnerable to slugs. Squirrels prefer the tender leaves and will eat both the flowers and the leaves.

It’s worth noting that deer prefer sunflower blooms, although the seeds aren’t poisonous for them.

Nevertheless, they are notorious for chomping on the seed-laden blossoms. They’re attracted to the bright-colored blooms. They can even be mistaken for other flowers. This is why, as a gardener, you should always keep your sunflowers well-tended.

Squirrels are the most common predators of sunflowers. They eat the sunflower seeds, so you should keep them out of your garden.

While birds and squirrels can eat sunflower seeds, you can protect sunflower seeds by providing bird feeders or decoy plants that look like them. It’s best to keep them away from the seeds by placing netting on your flower beds.

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Insects Eat Sunflowers Stalks & Seeds

Insects are the primary culprits when it comes to eating sunflowers. While some grasshoppers don’t damage sunflower plants, they can damage other plants. Insects are another common problem. The larvae of these insects feed on the leaves of sunflower plants.

They can also eat the flower stalks. And they also eat the seeds. A few species of spiders eat the flowers of the sunflower as well, among other pests.


Deer are delightful visitors to your garden, but their appetite for sunflowers can be a challenge. Learn how to protect your sunflower blooms and keep your garden flourishing. Our blog provides practical tips, from natural deterrents to strategic planting, ensuring your sunflowers stand tall and vibrant. Embrace the beauty of sunflowers without compromising on the presence of these graceful creatures. Explore effective strategies to coexist harmoniously with deer in your garden and preserve the allure of your sunflower haven.


It’s always ideal to prevent Deer and other pests from feasting on your garden. They might destroy your plants, even if they don’t get to eat them. It’s a good idea to make sure the deer don’t eat these plants before they get to the point of damaging them.

When it comes to growing and taking care of sunflowers in your garden, look out for traces of Deer. You can easily detect their snouts in your yard.

This will alert you to their presence. The snout will sniff out the seeds and look for small plants in the area.

Deer and other pests will also eat your plant leaves and flower heads. As a result, your sunflowers will be ruined and the Deer will be off to another garden. Will you let that happen?

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