Do Rabbits Eat Marigold Plants?


Are animals consuming your marigold plants a problem for you? You’re betting on the neighborhood bunnies. But do bunnies consume marigolds?

Marigolds are eaten by wild rabbits, especially the leaves. Rabbits primarily consume grass and weeds, with the addition of flowers like marigolds. The bloom, leaves, and stem of a marigold plant are all edible to a ravenous rabbit. Some marigold species might have strong scents or be poisonous, which makes them unappealing for rabbits to consume.

Now that the rabbits have started killing your lovely marigold plants, you might be wondering what you can do to stop them. But first, it’s crucial that you understand that rabbits are solely to blame.

Putting precautions in place to discourage rabbits is pointless if another animal is the culprit.

This article will walk you through how to recognize rabbit activity in your yard and how to deter them from your marigold plants.

You’ll soon have a lovely marigold patch that can flourish in your yard.

Do rabbits like marigolds?

Do rabbits like marigolds?

Marigolds are generally consumed by rabbits, albeit they are not a favorite. They will begin by devouring the leaves, stems, and buds before moving on to the petals. Because they are a little bit sweeter than leaves, rabbits enjoy eating the petals. On the other hand, because of their powerful aroma, marigolds might be repelling to some rabbits.

Water, minerals, and fiber are abundant in marigolds, which aid in the growth and well-being of rabbits.

One or two marigold blooms per adult rabbit per night. Therefore, it is possible that your marigold plants won’t live for very long if your yard is infested with bunnies.

Is It a rabbit eating your marigolds?

Rabbits are nocturnal creatures. As a result, they often eat at dawn and dusk. They require a little light to see, but they also require some darkness to protect them from predators.

Depending on the season, rabbits enjoy eating grasses, weeds, flowers, and tree bark. A rabbit entering a garden does so because it perceives it as a safe haven with access to food.

Marigolds are a wonderful source of fiber. To maintain a healthy digestive system and to chew on healthy food to keep their teeth clean.

Flower damage from rabbits can be quite recognizable. small, precise bites in the damaged leaves and stems. Typically, rabbits will consume a whole leaf by cutting it off at the base of the stalk. The flower heads will be consumed by the rabbit in a similar manner.

Rabbits will choose the leaves that are closest to their level of grazing. This means that any damage by rabbits will be limited to areas under 3 feet (92 cm) tall and will typically affect the plant’s uppermost parts.

Rabbits don’t waste food and will consume as much as possible before sensing danger. That implies that the rabbit will circle a particular plant completely before moving on to another.

Signs A Rabbit is eating your marigolds

  • little, well-defined biting marks on the foliage of your plants
  • At a 45-degree angle, clean stem removal is performed.
  • Plants are consumed from the ground up.
  • Round, chickpea-sized rabbit waste
  • Rabbit footprints

The marigold eater is probably a rabbit if you’ve seen these other indicators in your yard. If you want your plants to survive, you must look into strategies to keep them out of your yard. That assistance will be provided to you later in this manual.

If there are no other clear indications that a rabbit is entering your yard, it’s critical that you track down the offender. Either wait a couple of days or try looking for further clues.

Or perhaps you want to be certain. After all, the harm may only be the fault of a few particular creatures. Installing a cheap trail camera is one way to make sure (this is a good one). You can then take specific precautions to deter the marigold thief.

What Animals eat marigolds?

The issue is that other creatures can also be harming your marigold plants. Let’s investigate whether other animals might be at fault.


While the majority of birds don’t consume marigolds as part of their diet, certain species can harm your plants.

When looking for insects, crows and blackbirds might harm your marigold’s leaves and flower heads. If this is the case, the broken leaves and stems will be on the ground rather than being consumed by a rabbit after being broken off.

The practice of finches eating marigold seed heads is widely recognized. They are drawn to the blossoms’ vivid orange hue in particular. Finches won’t harm the marigold’s leaves; they will only consume the seed head.


Your marigolds can sustain significant harm from insects in a short amount of time. Although insects are little, when there are many of them, they may cause havoc by devouring significant portions of your marigold plant.

Small holes along the margins or inside the leaves are typically caused by insects. The edges of the leaves may become brown or die off, depending on the severity of the injury.

The following insects frequently damage marigold plants:

  • Aphids
  • Earwigs
  • Thrips
  • Arachnid mites
  • Whiteflies
  • Miner leaf
  • Cutworms

Hand-picking off any insects is the best method to stop them from harming your marigolds. As an environmentally beneficial strategy to reduce the number of insects in your yard, you may always encourage birds. I advise against spraying insecticides since they may harm other wildlife that enters your yard.

Caterpillars and Bees

Pollinators typically do little harm to your plants. Usually, they will sip nectar from the flower head before moving on.

However, several beetle and butterfly species can pose a threat to your marigolds.

Some species of butterflies and moths can use marigolds as host plants, including the buckeye butterfly and the sunflower moth. They do this by laying eggs and then waiting for them to hatch. When the caterpillar emerges, it gorges itself on all the plant parts it can locate.

You may also have problems with leafcutter bees with your marigolds. They enjoy building nests inside the heads of dead flowers, which explains why. Your marigold plant’s leaves will get numerous small, semicircle-shaped holes from leafcutter bee activity.

Slugs and Snails

Your marigold plants are highly favored by slugs and snails. More often than not, they will target the green leaves and shoots rather than the flower head.

You’ll note that any harm caused by slugs or snails occurs over night because they are nocturnal feeders. They are the culprits without a doubt because of the distinctive silvery trail.

Your marigolds will suffer quite a bit of damage from slugs and snails, who also leave numerous little, ragged holes all over the leaf.


Don’t let the fact that marigolds are frequently referred to as a deer-proof plant deceive you. In your yard, marigolds will be eaten by deer. The degree of fragrance in the species you’ve grown may be a factor. They will happily consume any tender leaves or shoots, even if they don’t eat the flowers.

Deer have a very specific eating style and will gnaw on big, irregular portions from the top down. Deer frequently leave a sizable portion of the stem on the plant.

Will marigolds Grow Back if Eaten by rabbits?

Since marigolds are tough plants, they will recover after being devoured by a rabbit. The marigold’s leaves are its most popular feature, however if the stem is still alive, the leaves will just produce additional buds and bloom once more.

If you have a rabbit problem, they’ll keep returning until your marigolds are absolutely barren. A marigold’s chances of recovering that season are slim after it has been entirely destroyed. However, since marigolds are annuals, they will merely die back before reviving the next year.

It’s crucial to keep rabbits out of your yard so you may enjoy your marigold plants for as long as possible. If you don’t, they’ll keep returning and stealing your plants and other greenery before moving on.

How to Protect Marigold from Rabbits

Preventing rabbits from entering your yard in the first place is the greatest approach to stop them from devouring your marigolds. Any unwelcome rabbit visitors will be kept out by a physical barrier like a fence.

If installing a fence is not an option for you, you should employ techniques that make it difficult for rabbits to stay and eat in your yard. Since rabbits are extremely frightened creatures and will flee at the first indication of danger, this isn’t too difficult.

Check read my article on how to keep rabbits out of your garden if you want some tips on this.

Overly fragrant plants or those that have previously given rabbits gastrointestinal distress can turn them off.

You can take advantage of this by growing varieties of marigold that bunnies typically steer clear of.

Which marigold plants are rabbit-proof?

Marigolds are not plants that can withstand rabbits. Even though they aren’t their favorite, rabbits will nonetheless consume them if given the chance. Rabbits seem to tolerate calendula marigolds far better than those from the Tagetes genus. A few marigold species appear to be unappealing to rabbits, according to some gardeners.

The following three varieties of marigolds are reported to deter rabbits:

  • English marigold
  • bog marigold
  • Mexican lilies

These kinds are so efficient because rabbit toxicity is well-known for them. They won’t actually kill a rabbit, but they will give it a very bad stomach ache. Once a rabbit tried these, it’s likely that it wouldn’t return to finish up the plant.

Advice on whether plants are resistant to rabbits is frequently anecdotal. For one gardener it will work, but not for another. That’s because each rabbit has a unique taste. Additionally, those gardeners might have additional rabbit deterrents set up. Instead of the type of marigolds they planted, this may be the reason why rabbits are avoiding the area.

It’s possible that you’ve already attempted to plant these marigold varieties without much success. Then make another attempt while combining many different deterrent techniques.

Final thoughts

Is It A rabbit eating your marigolds?

Despite not being a favorite, marigolds are liked by rabbits. If it’s a convenient food supply, they will cheerfully eat the leaves, buds, shoots, and flowers.

Plant damage by rabbits follows a clear pattern. They will consume a large portion of the plant right down to the stems, but they will also leave other obvious traces in your garden.

Before setting up effective deterrents, it’s critical to confirm that rabbits are the culprits.

The rabbits won’t return to your marigolds if you have a variety of deterrents in your yard. Your other plants will also be safe along with your marigold if you do it that way.


What is eating my marigolds at night?

A. Before fresh flower buds open, snails and slugs gnaw uneven holes in marigold leaves. They have an impact on the marigold plants at every stage of development and eat at night.

What critter will eat marigolds?

Insects, birds, and other animals drawn to your marigold plants are eating them. This includes birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer, mice, slugs, snails, spider mites, and thrips. Verticillium wilt, Botrytis blight, and root rot are a few diseases that can also cause the plant to lose its foliage and buds.

How do you keep animals from eating marigolds?

Apply repellents. The majority of troublemaking animals can be repelled with a variety of products. Chewing marigolds should be sprayed with commercial capsaicin or thiram-based spray. A hot sauce bottle and a gallon of water can also be used to make a hot sauce spray.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author