How to Use Marigolds in the Garden to Repel Deer


Deer dislike some plants, specifically plants with a strong fragrance, such as marigolds. In general, marigolds experience little deer damage compared to other plants in the garden. However, deer will eat almost any plant when they are hungry, so planting marigolds will not completely get rid of the deer in your garden. Choose marigolds that are healthy and already blooming for immediate results.

Step 1

Choose a location in full sun to plant your marigolds. Start around the perimeter of your garden or along the edge of your property. You can also intermix clumps of marigolds (three to five plants) with your other plants within the garden. Do this especially near the plants deer prefer, such as hostas and daylilies.

Step 2

Amend the top 6 to 10 inches of the planting site by turning it over with a hoe or tiller. Mix in about 2 to 3 inches of leaf mold, pine bark or similar organic matter.

Step 3

Plant your marigolds about ½-inch deeper than they were planted in their containers. Space marigolds 6 to 18 inches apart, depending on variety.

Step 4

Water your marigolds with about 2 inches of water and keep the soil slightly wet for the first 10 to 12 days. Thereafter, water the marigolds weekly with an inch of water when rain is scarce.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe or tiller
  • Organic matter
  • Trowel
  • Water


  • Mississippi State University Extension: Discouraging Deer in the Garden
  • Lewis Gardens: Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants
  • Clemson University Extension: Marigold
Keywords: plant marigolds, deter deer garden, deer repellent plants, marigold deer repellent

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.