Are Calendula Deer Resistant? (And How To Protect Them)

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 07/29/22 •  6 min read

Are Calendula Deer Resistant? (And How To Protect Them) Calendula is a popular annual plant that you can put into your garden once and have it come back year after year because itself seeds readily. However, if you live in an area that has a large deer population one of the most common questions that is asked is are Calendula deer resistant?

Calendula is considered to be moderately deer resistant which means that they are certainly not a deers’ favourite food, however, they do have a nibble on them from time to time which means that if you are growing these plans you probably need to protect them from being eaten.

If you are trying to protect Calendula or other plants in the garden from deer there is only one 100% proof method that will protect the plants which is to exclude the deer from the garden entirely by fencing them out of the property. However, the fence that needs to be erected needs to be at least 8ft l as deer a known to be able to jump fences that are at least 6 ft high.  An 8ft foot fence is required as a deterrent.

But for many gardeners, a fence of that size is highly impractical and extremely expensive so what are the other alternatives? The first option is to protect the plants individually with some sort of wire or cage, however, that needs to be strong enough to prevent deer from poking their noses through the wire and bending it. 

This can be quite effective for a small number of plants however if you have a relatively large garden with lots of plants that you are concerned about including your Calendula this can be a highly impractical approach.

The next option that many people undertake is to structure the garden in a way that discourages deer from entering your property as frequently. This means that plants that are highly desirable for deer need to be placed close to your house and in areas that the deer cannot easily see.

The plants that they do not like include poisonous plants, ones that are thorny, and also highly fragrant. These plants need to be placed in the outer parts of the garden which are the areas that the deer will encounter first. To increase their effectiveness it is also advisable to try and select plants that are relatively tall as this will stop the deer from looking into your garden for something more appetizing.

The other alternative is to purchase deer repellent systems which can generally be classified into chemical and mechanical types. However, these products do vary substantially in their effectiveness depending upon the nature of the product and how it is used.

Chemical Repellents

Chemical repellents that are available on the market can generally be divided up into three categories those that induce fear, those that affect the smell or taste and those that create pain for the animal. Of these three different types, the most effective according to academic research is the fear-inducing repellents.

These fear-inducing repellents are made typically using things like blood, coyote urine and putrefied egg and they work by tricking the deer into thinking that there is a predator nearby. 

However, even though these deer repellents have been shown to be quite effective they do have a significant limitation according to the research. They typically will only affect deer behaviour for approximately 10 to 12 weeks after which time the deer will start to return to its normal behaviours.

This is believed to be related to the deer becoming accustomed to the scent and overtime ignoring it. To maximise the effectiveness of the repellents we generally recommend that you purchase at least two different types because that will allow the deer repellents to be alternated every 3 months or so to improve their effectiveness.

The ones that we generally recommend are deer out and plantskydd because both of these products are fear-inducing deer repellents that are made from different ingredients and therefore smell different. Click on the links to see the latest price.

 Mechanical Deer Repellents

The second group of deer repellents can also be divided up into 3 subcategories which includes motion-activated sprinklers, ultrasonic devices and predator eyes. Of these three types, motion-activated sprinklers are the most effective in keeping deer out of the garden, however, they suffer from much the same problem as the chemical repellents because deer can become accustomed to their presence relatively quickly.

To reduce the chances of this happening we generally recommend that you use motion-activated sprinklers as part of your deer defence plan but you should not rely upon them completely. They are generally useful to protect plants for short periods of time in critical times of the year which could be when plants are about to go into flower or vegetables are producing a harvest.

We generally recommend that they be used only for short periods of time and they should be moved regularly around your garden to increase the element of surprise for the deer. If you’re considering purchasing a device like this the one we would recommend is the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer which has a relatively wide view and also an extended detection range which means that you probably only need one or two of these devices to cover even the largest yards.

The second type of device which is offered a lot is ultrasonic devices. These devices have had large amounts of academic research conducted on them to test their effectiveness. The research indicates that these devices are not very effective at all with many research groups questioning the mechanism of how these devices would even affect the target animals.

As a result of this, we do not recommend that you purchase any type of ultrasonic device because they appear not to work well at all.

The 3rd type of mechanical device is predator eyes which do not have any significant academic research conducted on its performance. As such I’ve had to rely upon feedback from customers that have purchased predator eyes.

When looking at the feedback most customers are dissatisfied when they purchase this product with some customers even posting night vision of deer eating their plants right next to the predator eyes. This evidence suggests that if the predator eyes are effective at all it is only for a short period of time. As such we would recommend that you purchase chemical repellent instead of devices like this.

I hope you found the article useful and have great success with your Calendula at home in your own garden. Hopefully, you’re able to fend off the deer and keep your garden in reasonable shape. If you have any additional comments or questions please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart