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Do Deer Eat Cosmos? (Must Read!)

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Can deer eat my white cosmos flowers
White Cosmos Flowers

Deer eat cosmos, but they don’t relish these flowers. Cosmos are bitter tasting, have a strong scent, and some species have spikes. Deer don’t like such plants; they prefer those with a mild odor and are sweet tastings like apples, bananas, carrots, and even beets.

In this article, you will learn why some deer may eat cosmos and others may not. You will also get tips on protecting your cosmos, plus the benefits of growing the cosmos in your backyard.

Read on to learn more.

Do Deer like to eat cosmos?

Cosmos are attractive perennial plants (some are annuals) that can grow from 1 to 7 feet tall, depending on the species.

Their flowers are colorful and elegant. Hence many people like growing them around their homes and in gardens.

Deer find cosmos unappealing and rarely eat them. Craig Harper, an animal researcher in Oklahoma, says that deer will go for plants with lush and soft foliage that have a mild or no scent.

Cosmos are aromatic, and their bitter taste makes the deer uncomfortable while chewing. Therefore, deer will seldom eat the plants’ flowers or stems.

In addition, bucks are opportunistic feeders; they eat what is available and will offer them the most nutrients. Hence, they will spend their time munching on plants they like and ignoring others.

However, when there is a drought or winter, most of the plants they regularly eat won’t be present. Deer will turn to the other not-so-tasty plants, meaning they will feast on your cosmos without hesitation.

Will baby Deer eat cosmos?

Whether or not baby deer will eat cosmos largely depends if the doe will munch on the plant.

Fawns spend a big part of their young lives observing and imitating their mothers. So, if the doe occasionally eats cosmos, they too will.

However, like all young ones, fawns like experimenting, You may find one munching on a few cosmos plants.

Can all species of Deer eat cosmos?

Researchers at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Developmental Station have stated that even though deer have similar characteristics. Some will eat more of a specific plant than others, mainly depending on their location.

For instance, the University of Oklahoma published a report that stated cosmos in the state need adequate protection since deer will munch on them when they get a chance.

Whereas the Animal research center in Texas categorizes cosmos among the rarely eaten plants by deer in the area.

What is clear is that all types of deer can eat cosmos when that’s what is available.

Types of cosmos you can grow to keep away the Deer.

There are more than 30 varieties of cosmos grown around the world. Below we look at the main three species, and under each are some of the typical subspecies you can produce.

The three top varieties are

Cosmos sulphureus

Also called sulfur, yellow, or orange cosmos, these flowers resemble marigolds, though they are shorter.


  • Cosmos sulphureus Bright lights
  • Cosmos sulphureus cosmic red
  • Cosmos sulphureus cosmic orange
  • Cosmos sulphureus cosmic yellow

Cosmos bipinnatus

Primarily known as Mexican, tall, or garden cosmos, these species have stunning and perennial flowers.


  • Cosmos bipinnatus Dazzler
  • Cosmos bipinnatus Gazebo Red
  • Cosmos bipinnatus Fizzy Pink
  • Cosmos bipinnatus Picotee

Cosmos Atrosanguineus

Common names black Dahlia, black cosmos, or chocolate plant, this is a deep scented and highly sort after flower.

How to care for the cosmos

Here are some tips to help you grow and maintain your cosmos

  • Avoid applying fertilizer when planting cosmos because it will increase overly tall with plenty of foliage and fewer flowers when the soil is too fertile.
  • Maintain the soil PH between 6.0 to 8.5 for the plants to grow faster
  • Plant cosmos when the frost has passed
  • Grow them in well-drained soils
  • Ensure they are in an area that gets at least 4 hours of sunlight
  • Cosmos have a weighty top that may fall over when not supported. So it would be best if you grew the flowers in groups for them to help each other. 

Benefits of growing cosmos in your backyard

Cosmos bipinnatus blossoming in the spring, Benefits of growing Cosmos in a garden or backyard
Cosmos bipinnatus blossoming in the spring

Health benefits

Treating mumps

Cosmos leaves contain polyphenols, compounds that aid in reducing an inflamed mump. Therefore, drinking a boiled mixture of the leaves lessens the pain you experience.

Improves immunity

Cosmos contains vitamins A and E that strengthen your immune system. The flowers also provide vitamin C, which heightens your body’s metabolism.

Strengthen bones

Regularly drinking a mixture of cosmos leaves will strengthen bones, primarily for young children and senior adults.

Increase appetite

Do you find it hard to eat or have a low appetite? Cosmos flowers can solve that problem, for they contain quercitrin, a compound that leads to an increase in appetite.

Cures bad breath

Cosmos leaves have coniferyl, which gets rid of bacteria in the mouth that cause bad breath.

Other benefits

They attract bees and butterflies.

Cosmos have open flowers that allow bees and butterflies easy access to pollen grains and nectar.

Predator insects and pollinators are beneficial; they eat the pests and provide critical pollination services.

Food for your birds

Do you have birds as pets? These flowers are an excellent and healthy food choice that your birds will relish.

Cosmos self-sow

When the dead cosmos fall on the ground, they provide the seeds with compost that helps them germinate. Therefore, you won’t have to keep replanting.

All you will have to do is provide water when the weather becomes relatively dry.

Aesthetic appeal.

The various colors of Cosmos flowers will undoubtedly beautify and brighten up your garden.

How to protect your cosmos from Deer

Grow plants deer dislike at the edges of your garden

When deer find a plant that they don’t like, they usually don’t pay much attention to the rest of the garden; they move on.

You can use this to your advantage by growing prickly, poisonous, or fragrant plants at the garden edges.

After which, you can grow your cosmos; that way, the chances of deer feasting on them reduce immensely.

Plant your cosmos near the house

Deer don’t like being around humans; that’s why they dash off as soon as you show up.

So, when you grow the cosmos close to the house, deer will find it hard to get closer to them because of fear you may see them.

Use a deer repellent.

Deer repellents are effective, provided you use them accordingly. You can choose to make one at home or buy one. Either way, both will serve the same purpose.

To increase the potency of a deer repellent. Spray when there is no rainfall so it won’t wash the repellent off.

Reapply the deterrent at least once or twice a month, depending on the extent of the deer invasions. If you don’t like the sprays then some plants can also serve in repelling deer-like red peppers, ranunculus, and boxwood.

Put up an 8feet high fence.

Though it may be costly, a fence is one of the most reliable ways you can use to protect your cosmos from deer.

As long as you maintain it and repair any open places, you can be sure deer won’t be able to harm your flowers.

Interplant deer-resistant crops with your cosmos.

You can grow your cosmos in between other plants that deer avoid. That way, they won’t be able to pick them out.

Plants such as chives and buttercups will grow well alongside the cosmos and keep away the deer.

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