Do Deer Eat Black Eyed Susans?

Basit Ali Chaudhary

Deer love to browse through flower beds and gardens, but some plants are not on their menu, and black-eyed susans are one of them. Deer don’t usually graze on black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta) because of their tough texture and shape. Their stems are covered in coarse hairs, and their leaves are fuzzy, so they have an unappetizing texture. However, if there’s not enough food around and the environment, a deer may eat these flowers despite their unappealing texture, so it’s always a good idea to take further preventative measures.

While these flowers are native to North America’s grasslands, deer usually don’t eat them because they prefer more succulent plants. But it doesn’t mean that black-eyed susans are completely deer resistant. 

Are Black-Eyed Susans Rabbit and Deer Resistant?

Black-eyed susans are generally deer-resistant, but rabbits are more likely to eat them. Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are generally considered to be relatively deer-resistant, as they have a bitter taste and tough leaves that are less palatable to deer. However, it’s worth noting that no plant is entirely deer-proof, especially in times of food scarcity or when deer populations are especially high.

As for rabbits, black-eyed Susans are not rabbit-resistant. Rabbits may nibble on the leaves or flowers of black-eyed Susans, particularly in times of food scarcity.

Overall, while black-eyed Susans may be somewhat deer-resistant, they are not completely deer or rabbit-proof. If you are looking for plants that are highly resistant to browsing by wildlife, you may want to consider some of the following options: butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), lavender (Lavandula), or salvia (Salvia officinalis).

Some Interesting Facts about Black-Eyed Susans

black eyed susans

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are bright, daisy-like flowers that are native to North America. They have yellow petals with a dark brownish center. Here are some interesting facts about them:

  1. Black-eyed Susans are the state flower of Maryland since 1918.
  2. They are also known as gloriosa daisies, and brown-eyed Susans.
  3. The flowers are named after Susan, a character in a poem by English poet John Gay.
  4. Black-eyed Susans are hardy plants that can survive in a wide range of soil types and weather conditions.
  5. The flowers bloom in the summer and lasts from June to October.
  6. Black-eyed Susans are an important source of nectar for bees and butterflies.
  7. The plant is often used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including colds, flu, and ear infections.
  8. The roots of the plant were traditionally used by Native Americans to treat snakebites.
  9. The flowers are often used in floral arrangements and can add a pop of color to any garden or landscape.

What Animal Eats Black-Eyed Susan Plants?

Black-eyed Susan plants are consumed by many insects, birds, and animals. Some potential culprits include rabbits, groundhogs (also known as woodchucks), nuthatches, and some species of rodents such as squirrels or chipmunks. 

Many birds also like to feed on black-eyed Susan. Common examples of such birds are American Goldfinches, sparrows, and cardinals.

Additionally, some insects, such as aphids, spider mites, and slugs, may also feed on black-eyed Susan plants. However, black-eyed Susan plants are not a favorite meal for many animals, and they are often left alone if other, more attractive options are available. 

Why are Deer Eating my Black-Eyed Susans?

Generally, black-eyed susasns are deer resistant, and deer are very less likely to give an attempt to eat them, but not necessarily. While they may not be a deer’s first choice, if other food sources are scarce, deer will eat them. Here are some reasons why deer may be eating your black-eyed Susans:

1-Lack of other food sources

 A hungry deer is more likely to eat anything, and it is not just common with deer; it is the same with every animal. If deer are hungry and there are not many other food options available, they may resort to eating plants they wouldn’t normally eat. There have been incidences recorded where a deer has been seen eating bones and small birds as well, which tells the story they can eat anything for survival.

2-Attractive to deer 

Deers are more attracted to any plants and colorful flowers, and the black-eyed Susans are no exception. If the plants are in an area where deer frequently pass through, they may be more likely to nibble on them.


Black-eyed Susans planted in areas with high deer populations are more likely to be eaten.

How do you Keep Animals from Eating Black-Eyed Susans?

You can try multiple strategies to keep the animals and deer away from eating black-eyed susans. Below are some of them: 

1-Physical Barriers

This is the best way that works well, and it is highly effective. Physical barriers will help you to protect your plants from animals. There can be multiple things that can act as a physical barrier, such as fences, nets, separate plant cages, etc.  

If you’re going with fences, make sure they’re big enough to stop animals like deer from getting into your garden. In addition, make sure the fence is well grounded, and there are no small gaps between the fence and the ground to keep rabbits and small animals out.


Repellents are also another effective way to prevent animal entry to your black-eyed susans garden. There are many types of animal repellents on the market that you can spray or sprinkle around your plants to make them less attractive to animals. These can include natural products like hot pepper spray or chemical-based repellents that use scents or tastes that animals find unpleasant.

You can also make DIY repellents at home as well. This will depend on on which animal you want to get rid of, and then you can prepare homemade repellent accordingly.

3-Companion planting 

Some plants are known to have scents or other properties that repel animals. Planting these companion plants alongside your black-eyed Susans can help keep animals away. For example, marigolds and chives are known to repel deer and rabbits. The tip here is that use plants or herbs with strong scents that are more robust, as deer just don’t even get near to such plants.

4-Scare tactics

Motion-activated devices like sprinklers or lights can be used to scare animals away from your garden. You can also try hanging reflective objects like CDs or wind chimes near your plants to deter deer. Also, you can think of and create such objects and shapes that are more likely to scare deer and other animals.

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