Marigolds are a lovely addition to any garden. When it comes to annual flowers, none beat the marigold for brightness and ease of growing. These blooms are the squanderers of annuals, showering our summer and fall gardens with many precious metals, including gold, copper, and brass.

One reason for the flower’s widespread acclaim is its consistent summertime radiance. It can attain a height of 6 inches to 4 feet. Besides being a beautiful addition to the yard, marigolds also serve a practical purpose by drawing in pollinators.

Even though marigolds are often planted with other plants in the garden to keep pests away, some insects and animals like to eat marigolds. By reading this guide, you will be able to know, What Animals Eat My Marigolds?.

What Animals Eat My Marigolds? : 15 Reasons with Solutions

Let’s start,

Do animals eat marigolds? 

Marigolds draw in predatory insects that help keep pests in check in the garden. Flies, parasitic wasps, and ladybugs are all common predatory insects that can help eradicate aphids for good. For this reason, marigolds use as a companion plants in vegetable gardens.

Good and bad bugs draw to it. Nasty bugs can use it as a feeding station, while good bugs can easily track their dinner. Your dreams of a stress-free gardening season will dash when insects feast on your marigolds. Marigolds are a favorite food for certain insects, pests, and other animals.

What eats marigolds?

There appears to be some sort of pest problem at your marigold plants. Aphids, slugs, snails, spider mites, thrips, birds, rabbits, and squirrels are examples of such animals. Verticillium wilt, Botrytis blight, and root rot are some illnesses that can cause a plant to lose its leaves and flowers.

Don’t fret if some critter is munching on your marigolds. Various strategies are available for tracing the origin of the issue and eliminating it.

1. Thrips

Thrips are winged insects ranging in color from yellow to green to black. The smallest thrips are only around 1/25 of an inch in length, while the longest ones can reach nearly 1/2 an inch. Like aphids, they feed on the marigold plant.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

As the thrips feed on the foliage, the leaves will eventually wilt from a lack of nutrients. They’ll start to turn brown or yellow and die off.

How to get rid of thrips?

There are different ways to get rid of thrips from marigolds. You can spray the plant with water from a hose that will wash away the thrips.

Using a combination of neem oil and insecticidal soap is the most effective method for controlling thrips. Mix up a quart of clean water, half a teaspoon of dish soap, and a teaspoon of neem oil. Mix the ingredients and pour them into a spray bottle. Douse a single plant leaf with the treatment and wait 24 hours. Verify that the leaf does not react to the combination.

Thrips can eradicate from marigold plants by spraying a weekly mixture of soap and water over the entire plant. Repeat this process until you’ve eliminated all thrips from the plant.

Essential oils, such as peppermint, lemongrass, or rosemary, can be added to water and diluted. Create a spray by combining a gallon of water and oil.

2. Japanese Beetles 

Another bug that could be destroying your marigolds is the Japanese beetle. To prevent Japanese Beetles from damaging other plants, some gardeners use marigolds as “bait plants”.

The bodies of Japanese beetles are typically long and pointed, with a C-shape; they can be brown or brownish-white in color. The unique rust and greenish hues in their bodies are other distinguishing features. They can take the form of caterpillars and are notorious for their putrid odor.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

The Japanese Beetles are damaging as they attack the underside of the leaves, which load with stomata. It is crucial for the plant in its transpiration and photosynthesis process. When the stomata break, the plant starves to death.

After being attacked by Japanese beetles, marigolds often have skeletonized leaves. The leaf damage caused by Japanese beetles is easily identifiable due to the characteristic pattern of the holes they make.

How to get rid of Japanese beetles?

Once a week, spray the area with the Neem Oil spray to keep the bugs at bay. Homemade insecticidal soap can also be effective against Japanese beetles.

3. Caterpillars

Marigolds are a popular plant for caterpillars to feast.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

They can be very destructive, especially to young, vulnerable plants, eating enormous holes in the leaves and ultimately destroying them.

Before emerging as butterflies, they feed on the plants they’ll eventually be feeding on.

Imagine that you have a marigold plant that caterpillars have attacked. Unpredictable birds like crows and blackbirds may also try to eat your plant. Their good intentions to eliminate the pest caterpillars have unintended consequences for the plant.

How to get rid of caterpillars?

Protect your marigolds from these pests by wrapping them in plastic or placing them in a sealed cage.

Treat with vinegar remedy. To get rid of insects, you can use vinegar, a natural insecticide. Spray directly on insects or the plant’s surface with a solution of two teaspoons of vinegar per four liters of water.

There is another solution to treat with a blend of garlic and pepper. To one liter of water, add one tablespoon of dried chili pepper, one entire bulb of minced garlic, and one teaspoon of soap water. After 24 hours, combine the ingredients and spray the plant.

4. Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers live their entire lives on aquatic plants in the water, and they even lay their eggs there. They can get rather significant, sometimes measuring over 11 cm in length.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

During the day, grasshoppers may also be a problem for your marigolds. Typically, they just consume the outermost leaves and blossoms of a plant.

Because grasshoppers tend to chew on the edges of leaves, you can tell whether they have damaged a plant. The musky smell of the marigold plant deters most insects, yet the grasshopper is unfazed by it.

How to get rid of grasshoppers?

Treat with pepper and water spray. To make red pepper flakes sauce, combine one cup of flakes with two pints of boiled water.

Plants can protect from grasshoppers and other hairy pests by spraying the foliage, stems, and buds with this solution.

5. Spider mites 

Spider mites, like ticks and spiders, belong to the arachnid family. The dots-like bugs can be either black or orange. The little creatures you see as white webs on your marigold plant’s leaves are spider mites. They share a phylogenetic tree with spiders rather than insects.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

They bore holes into its leaf to strip the marigold plant of its nutrition. As time passes, the leaves will wither and perish.

How to get rid of spider mites?

To prevent spider mites from damaging your marigolds, spray them with a Neem oil solution.

A combination of 1 teaspoon of neem oil and 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap can use.

Put this into a spray bottle with a quart of water and shake it up. This solution sprays once weekly on the diseased marigold plant. Repeat as necessary until no more spider mites can find.

Use an insecticide soap spray on marigolds.

Use cotton balls dipped in alcohol to wipe the marigold’s leaves, then wait a few hours before giving them a good rinsing under running water.

6. Snails and Slugs

Slugs and snails may be the main reason for the disappearance of marigold leaves and petals. These pests are drawn to and nourished by the plant.

How do you know they are eating marigolds? 

You won’t find any pests on the marigolds during the day because they are nocturnal. If slugs and snails are a problem, you’ll notice slime trails leading up to and around the plant. If the leaves nibble haphazardly, it is another sign of these pests.

Confirm that slugs and snails are munching on your plants by visiting them at night with a flashlight.

How to get rid of snails and slugs?

Snails and slugs can eliminate by being vigilant and picking them off. Slugs and snails can also kill by sprinkling salt on them. But remember that salt can also harm plants, so use caution when applying it.

Try erecting a copper ring around the plant to prevent slugs from accessing your marigolds. Remove fallen leaves and maintain a tidy lawn to eliminate hiding spots for slugs.

If you leave a bowl of beer out overnight near your marigold, the slugs will be attracted to the beer and spend the night in the bowl instead of eating your flower. Put simply, toss them.

To deter slugs, use a 2-inch layer of abrasive mulch such as broken egg shells, wood ashes, or nut hulls.

If you don’t want slugs to have a place to hide, clear away the fallen leaves and keep the ground tidy.

7. Rabbits

If you reside in a region populated with rabbits, you should probably hedge your bets and keep those marigolds under lock and key.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

Although the vegetation and food sources that rabbits enjoy eating and nibbling on change with the seasons and the region, it is healthy knowledge that rabbits love to eat marigold flowers.

How to get rid of rabbits?

To prevent rabbits from eating your marigolds, you can construct a fence out of chicken wire or another material around your garden.

8. Aphids

Pest aphids, also called plant lice or greenflies can be a problem for marigolds. The species and diet determine the color of these wingless insects, ranging from green to yellow to red to brown.

How do you know they are eating marigolds? 

Tiny insects called aphids populate the marigold plant’s leaves. In both the stem and the leaves, you’ll find them. They could be hiding behind the leaves, so be sure to look there.

Aphids are small and often green, making them difficult to spot. Instead of eating the leaves, aphids puncture them and drain the sap. Honeydew is a sticky substance left behind by aphids. It will hide the leaves. Ants will draw to the plant because of the tasty honeydew.

The absence of nutrition will cause the marigold leaves to become yellow. Soon enough, they’ll wilt and fall off.

How do you get rid of aphids?

If you notice aphids on your marigold plant, you may quickly eliminate them. Use a water cannon to spray them and force them onto the floor.

The aphids will either abandon the plant or be eaten by predators because they can no longer return to it. Do this multiple times a week until you’ve removed all of the aphids from the marigold plant.

Spray the plant with an insecticide such as insecticidal soap or a neem oil and water mixture. And to keep the aphid population under control, release predatory insects such as ladybugs or lacewings.

9. Earwigs

Earwigs are nocturnal, spending the day hiding in cracks and crevices and coming out at night to feast on various insects and plants.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

These tiny insects (about 1/4 inch to 1 inch long) are known to munch on marigold leaves. Sometimes these bugs will devour your marigold leaves, just like aphids. Rough edges or holes are their primary effect. Leaf damage is analogous to that caused by caterpillars, and the two issues might co-occur. However, earwigs only feed at night and do damage to plants then.

How to get rid of earwigs?

Check your plants at night by spotlighting the foliage to see if they are the culprit.

You can treat with garlic and Cayenne Pepper mix. Combine one liter of water with one tablespoon of dish soap, one tablespoon of cayenne pepper, and six minced garlic cloves. Make sure everything is combined and set aside for at least a day. When Earwigs are a problem, spray the plant with the solution.

10. Birds

Birds are a welcome sight in the garden, but they may also ruin your marigolds if they decide to peck at them. Birds like crows, blackbirds, and robins are often considered pests.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

These birds prefer to dine on snails and slugs rather than marigolds and other foliage. Thus, they rip off the blossoms and consume the leaves to get to the sweets.

How do you get rid of birds?

Covering your marigold plants with netting or growing them in a tomato cage is the simplest way to keep birds from eating them.

Placing shiny objects like CDs or ribbons near the marigold plants is another option for deterring birds.

Clever birds, like crows and blackbirds, become accustomed to these methods after a while, which is problematic. Therefore, it is good to recommend that you often mix up your approach.

11. Cutworms

Cutworms can range in color from black to brown to grey to green and often feature spots, stripes, and earthy tones. Cutworms are around 5 cm long and curl into a C shape when handled.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

Cutworms are challenging to spot because of their erratic feeding patterns, making them look like other insects.

They cause less obvious damage since they devour the young plants’ roots and foliage belowground. One worm can quickly destroy the branches of dozens of young plants in a single night due to its voracious appetite for leaves and ability to sever plant stems.

As plants get more extensive and tougher, harm is limited to the foliage because the stems are too thick to eat through.

Cutworms cause the most harm to plants during their larval stage. Consequently, it is preferable to limit expansion wherever possible.

How to get rid of cutworms?

The eggshell’s calcium content serves as a deterrent against cutworms. Eggshells can use to enrich the soil around your plants.

Plants can protect themselves from cutworms by placing Popsicle sticks near the soil’s stem. This method of preventing cutworm damage to young plants is quite effective.

12. Leafminers

Leafminers are insects that bore tunnels through leaves and needles while feeding.

How do you know they are eating marigolds?  

Most of the time, these bugs go after marigolds in greenhouses. As the name suggests, these insects live inside the leaves, which is why the leaves have lines on them. In more detail, they are the young form of insects that come out at night and lay their eggs on the leaves. Their young live inside the leaf and tunnel through it. But because of this, the leaf changes shape, and the plant grows more slowly.

How to get rid of leafminers?

In the early spring, put a few infected leaves in a ziplock bag and check the bag daily to see if the pesticide is working. Spray the plants every day for a week when you see tiny black flies in the bag. These are the leaf miner larvae turning into adults.

Neem oil is another natural way to get rid of leaf miners. This insecticide oil interferes with the leaf miner’s natural life cycle. It will reduce the number of larvae that turn into adults and, as a result, the number of eggs laid by adults. Even though neem oil doesn’t kill leaf miners immediately, it is a natural way to get rid of these pests.

13. Rats

Since rats are nocturnal, they typically consume at night when there may not be any other vegetation available.

How to get rid of rats?

Planting them in hanging baskets protects them from rodents. Get rid of debris or hiding places around your yard to prevent rodents from using them.

14. Squirrels

When they are starving, squirrels will try to eat marigolds. Additionally, they may accidentally harm the plant while moving.

How to get rid of squirrels?

Marigolds grown in hanging baskets are safer from squirrels.

15. Diseases

The effects of diseases on your marigold plant may fool you into thinking that they are eating the plant itself. Root rot, leaf spot, and verticillium wilt are some diseases that affect marigolds.

How do prevent diseases?

Marigold plants can prevent fungal diseases by keeping the soil dry around them. Water the soil around the plant’s base, but not the leaves.

If you water your plants’ first thing in the morning, the extra moisture will evaporate as the sun warms the air. 

As a result, space your plants out and avoid having them touch. Humid conditions will develop due to the reduction in airflow and the blocking of sunshine.

Who doesn’t eat marigolds? 

Several insects, pests, and some animals don’t eat marigolds. Here are some of them.

1. Mosquitoes

Essential oil of Calendula officinalis (a type of marigold) is comparable to DEET’s ability to repel mosquitoes.

2. Whiteflies

Whiteflies are tiny bugs that seem like flies but are more closely related to aphids. Whiteflies feed on the plant’s sap while hiding from predators under the leaves. The leaves gradually turn yellow and eventually fall off.

Whiteflies don’t like the chemical limonene found in large amounts in French marigolds.

3. Ants

Marigolds are not a food source for ants. They come to feed on the honeydew released by aphids, which attracts them to the plant.

Aphids produce honeydew, and ants transport them to new locations.

4. Nematodes

Nematodes are tiny roundworms that cause most root galls, which are harmful growths on plant roots, especially in tomatoes.

Marigolds are effective against nematodes because their roots produce a poisonous substance that stops nematode eggs from developing.

5. Lizards

Lizards don’t eat marigolds themselves, but they do eat the insects that do. Don’t chase the lizards away or discourage them from eating your plants. They appear like terrible guys, yet they’re good guys.

What are the common ways of preventing animal damage to marigolds?

Many common garden pests will eat anything, including marigolds. Several garden sprays are available for use in warding off pests. Still, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each before settling on the one you feel most comfortable using is essential.

What Animals Eat My Marigolds? : 15 Reasons with Solutions

1. Insecticide Soap

Some of the most frequent pests of marigolds are soft-bodied insects like aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, and thrips, and these can all control by spraying them with insecticidal soap. When appropriately applied, the risk to honeybees and other beneficial insects is low because the spray is only effective when it directly interacts with insects intended to kill.

Soap sprays are most effective when used first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Don’t spray when the sun is directly overhead; the intensified light could potentially burn the plant’s leaves. Commercial preparations are the safest option because they are pre-diluted and carefully balanced using soaps that are unlikely to cause damage to most plants.

Dish Soap Solution 

Prepare a dishwashing solution by combining three tablespoons of dish soap with one gallon of water. Apply the spray once a week to the diseased leaves.

2. Chicken Wire 

Chicken wire is your best bet when trying to protect marigold seedlings from rabbits. When the plant is mature, rabbits typically stop eating it. Or, you could chew on a few leaves without doing any permanent harm.

3. Horticultural Oil 

Many pests that prey on marigolds can keep at bay with horticultural oils. Mineral oil and other petroleum byproducts are the sources of several oils. Canola oil and neem oil are just two examples of plant-based oils.

Oils used in gardening are entirely non-toxic and safe for humans and animals. If the spray is not used directly on the pests, it is unlikely to harm honeybees or other beneficial insects. Because of this, it’s best to apply the sprays in the morning or evening when bees aren’t active.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is the most potent all-natural spray for your marigolds. Coat the plants well by soaking them in 1 ounce per gallon of water solution.

Seven days later, repeat the process and check for any symptoms of pests or illness on the marigolds.

4. Hoop House

Animals such as rabbits and deer may eat the marigold leaves if they can quickly get them, although hoop shelters can assist. They can also raise humidity and deter grasshoppers from penetrating the cover.

5. Garlic Spray 

Garlic is an effective insecticide that contains antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects.

Five garlic bulbs should be peeled, crushed, and added to water. The garlic should be left in water overnight to develop the flavor. When finished, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and add a drop or two of dish soap. Put this solution into a spray bottle along with one gallon of water. Once or twice a week, spray this solution on your marigolds to keep insects at bay.

6. Chemical Pesticides

Chemical pesticides should use as a last resort when less harmful methods don’t work. Pests can control effectively by nonchemical means, often outperforming chemical insecticides. If you apply a chemical pesticide, be careful not to overdo it.

The first step in treating your marigolds for pests is determining what kind of bug is bothering them. If you use the wrong product, you will waste time and money, and the bugs will still be unabated. Please follow all directions on labels when using any chemical items. Never spray on windy days since the mist could drift.

6. Bacillus Thuringiensis

Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) is a naturally occurring bacteria that gets rid of caterpillars, a common problem with marigolds. Although Bt is not a general-purpose treatment, it does eliminate other boring pests like leaf rollers and budworms.

The bacteria is harmless to people, non-target organisms, and the ecosystem as a whole. Insects that consume this material will eventually starve to death because it paralyzes their digestive system. It can apply in powder, granule form, or spray. When the caterpillars are still very young, this method is highly effective. It is common practice to reapply for positions.

Which marigolds protect gardens from pests?

Some varieties of marigold are better at deterring pests than others. Although the most effective variety remains debatable, the following species have insecticidal and antifungal properties.

1. Signet Marigold

Marigolds are edible marigold species originating in North America. With the correct amount of care, signet marigolds will continue to bloom in the garden into the fall. Signet marigolds come in various flower colors, including yellow, orange, gold, and bicolor.

The smell of the marigold signet flower is more like citrus than that of the American marigold, which smells like skunk. Some flower petals taste like citrus and can be added to fruit salads or used as a garnish. People also say that the taste of the blossom is sometimes spicy and sometimes bland.

2. French Marigold

Most dwarf cultivars of marigolds come from Tagetes patula, a French species. T. Erecta, on the other hand, gives us the taller African cultivars. 

As a group, marigolds grow into low mounds or tall bushes that are 8 to 42 inches tall. The 1- to 4-inch flowers can look round, tufted, or shaggy and can be white, yellow, orange, mahogany, maroon, or rust. The dark green leaves are thick and fern-like and often have a strong smell.

3. Mexican Marigolds 

Flowers belonging to the genus Tagetes includes the familiar daisy and sunflower. All over the oak-pine forests of Mexico, as their common name implies, you’ll find these herbaceous bushes. 

Like many ornamental chrysanthemum types, these plants have been grown to produce a complete head of ray florets, giving them a pom-pom appearance.

Watch how to control pests & diseases for marigolds | Video

Top 5 FAQs & answers related to What animal is eating my marigolds

Can dead marigolds revive?

It’s true that marigolds only bloom for a limited time. Marigolds are a beautiful annual flower that blooms from summer to fall, bringing a consistent splash of color to your garden. While the plants will die back for the season in the fall, the flowers can quickly replant from seed in the spring.

Can I marigolds recover from slugs? 

When it comes to getting rid of slugs, growing French marigolds is an excellent option. This lovely decorative plant can be used as a snare because slugs favor it for snacking on its leaves and budding flowers. Once slugs have gathered in bloom, they are easily removed from the garden by hand.

When should I prune my marigolds?

In general, marigolds don’t need much in the way of pruning; however, pinching them back can make them bushier, and deadheading can extend their blooming period.

What is eating marigolds at night? 

As nighttime pests, slugs and rats are responsible for the loss of many marigolds. They are nocturnal feeders that stay hidden throughout the day. A difficulty arises since determining who is responsible is often tricky.
If slugs have damaged a plant, you’ll notice slime trails leading away from the plant.
Pests wreaking havoc on your beautiful Marigolds can locate by exploring your garden at night with a flashlight.

What to do with marigolds when the season is over?

At the close of summer, what do you do with your marigolds? When winter temperatures drop below freezing, annual marigolds wilt and die. When the marigolds die entirely, cut them back to the ground with sharp scissors or pick them up by the roots.


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