Do Deer Eat Daffodils

Do Deer Eat Daffodils?

Written By: Ian @ World Deer

Gardening gets tricky when you live in an area with a deer population. After all, cervids (deer) find many garden plants and flowers quite a tasty treat. Maybe you’ve already noticed that deer are eating flowers on your property, and you’re wondering whether you should bother planting daffodils. Keep reading to find out the answer to the question, do deer eat daffodils?

So, do deer eat daffodils? No, deer will not eat daffodils. These flowers are toxic for deer, and these animals know how to avoid plants that will hurt them.

Do Daffodils Keep Deer Away?

Yes, having daffodils in your garden should keep deer away. This flower contains an alkaloid called lycorine. While there are several other bulb plants that flower and repel deer, daffodils are the best if you want a flower with a lot of variety.

Are Daffodils Deer Resistant?

Another advantage of daffodils is that they are easy to maintain.

They also help keep away rodents. Like deer, these animals don’t like the taste of this plant and know it is poisonous.

Daffodils are also easy to care for, so they’re a great choice if you are a beginner gardener.

How Do I Keep Deer from Eating My Daffodils?

Deer will naturally stay away from daffodils and won’t eat them, so you don’t have to worry about keeping these animals away.

However, there are plenty of other flowers that will attract deer if you plant them in your garden. Deer are herbivores, and as such deer enjoy eating all kinds of plants, and flowers are certainly included.

Below are examples of flowers that deer tend to eat (and that will bring these unwanted intruders to your property):

If you have these or any other plants that attract deer in your garden, you should add perennial plants that repel deer.

For example, you could plant daffodils among these other flowers, so the smell will keep deer away. The more flowers you have that deer may eat, the more deer-repellent annuals and long-lived flowers you should plant to keep them away. 

Which Bulbs Do Deer Not Eat?

There are many flower bulbs that deer will not eat. Deer won’t try to dig out the bulbs or eat the flowers of these plants. These include:


There are hundreds, even thousands, of daffodil varieties available to gardeners. Daffodils are characterized by their characteristics and appearance. There are 13 main categories of this species.

Will Deer Eat Daffodils?

One of these is the double daffodil. This is a daffodil that has petal layers that are densely positioned near each other.

Daffodils are poisonous to deer, and that is why these cervids will stay away from them. Adding daffodils to your garden will help keep deer away from your other plants.

Spanish Bluebells

Spanish bluebells are another beautiful flower that deer will never eat. They are available in a variety of colors, including blue, pink, and white.

Choose the color (or colors ) of Spanish bluebells that best suit your garden.

Crown Imperials

The Crown Imperial belongs to the lily family of flowers. This is a deer-resistant flower that creates a unique new look for your garden.

It features clusters of blooms that some people compare to a pineapple.

This plant grows tall, as high as 40 inches. You can find Crown Imperial bulbs to grow yellow, orange, and red flowers.

Choose the variety that best fits your preferences.


While other crocuses are deer-resistant, one variety referred to as a “tommie crocus” is the best choice if you want to keep deer away from your property. This is the C. tommasinianus.

Having these flowers in your garden should also help keep away voles and chipmunks.


The snowdrop is known as the flower that first appears in the spring. These are small flowers, and they always add extra beauty to a garden.

Snowdrop bulbs create tiny white flowers. Most types of snowdrops only grow to about three inches tall.


Alliums are famous for how they keep away deer. Deer dislike the strong smell of these bulbs and their plants.

Alliums are part of the onion plant family.

Will Deer Dig Up Bulbs?

Yes, deer will sometimes dig up bulbs you have planted in your garden. This is especially true if the animals are having trouble finding food.

The best thing to do is plant deer-resistant bulbs, such as daffodils.

A Deer in a Garden Bed

Deer can smell them from above the ground, and they will know right away to avoid eating your toxic daffodil bulbs.

There are other animals that will dig up bulbs, too. These include rabbits, mice, voles, and more.

Luckily, in many cases, bulbs that repel deer will also help keep away other kinds of animals. Rodents are one example.

Can Deer Jump Over Fences?

Yes, deer are high jumpers and can jump over many fences. If you want to put fencing around your garden to help keep out deer, make sure it is at least eight feet tall.

For the best chance of keeping cervids away from your property and stop them from destroying your garden, choose flowers that deer won’t eat, such as daffodils.

If you want to plant some flowers that deer like to eat, such as roses, plant them among daffodils and other deer-resistant plants.

Are Daffodils Right for Your Garden?

As with any other flower, you should make sure your garden has the right conditions for daffodils before planting them.

Daffodils are easier to care for than many other kinds of animals, and they do well in most areas of North America. The only places in the country where daffodils don’t usually do well are especially hot and humid, such as in the South.

Daffodils Resist Deer

Daffodils are perennial plants, which means they come back for several years. Plant daffodil bulbs in the ground during the fall, at least two weeks to one month before this will happen.

They should start to bloom in the latest parts of the winter or the early spring. Find out when the ground is expected to freeze in your area.

Daffodils need partial or preferably full sun. You’ll get the best blooms from your daffodils if they get full sun as soon as the spring arrives.

When it comes to soil type and quality, daffodils have the best chance in soil that is well-drained and nutritious.

Ensure the roots of your daffodils are never too wet, as they will probably end up with rot. The best pH level of your soil depends on the specific variety of daffodils you plant.

There are some kinds of daffodil that do best in soils with an acidic to neutral pH. There are others, however, that do better in soil that is a little alkaline.

When choosing and purchasing your daffodil bulbs, make sure they are top-quality. They should also be large. Ensure they’ve never been dried out.

Do Deer Eat Tulips?

Yes, deer do eat tulips. If you have tulips in your garden or want to plant some, think about adding daffodils to help make cervids less likely to raid your property.

Spring Bulbs that Deer Will Eat Instead of Daffodils
What’s left of a tulip after a Roe deer ate the leaves, bud, and stem

Deer eat tulips because they like the flavor and they instinctively know that these flowers won’t hurt them.

Cervids aren’t picky eaters. If they find vegetation that isn’t poisonous to them, they will probably eat it. Their sensitive noses help them track down gardens with plenty of plants for them to devour.

Final Thoughts On Deer and Daffodils

Here’s an overview of what we’ve learned here:

  • Daffodils are toxic to deer
  • Deer can smell this and that’s why they never eat daffodil bulbs and flowers
  • Planting daffodils in your garden will help keep deer away from your other plants

Happy gardening!

Picture of By: Ian from World Deer

By: Ian from World Deer

A passionate writer for WorldDeer using the most recent data on all animals with a keen focus on deer species.

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