Can Marigold Flowers Keep Animals Away?

can marigold flowers keep animals away?- Nope, there is no scientific evidence available to prove this theory. Marigold flower is known to attract many insects especially pollinators and some birds. It is a beautiful annual flower with 100’s of variants. Most of us are aware of three popular members of the marigold family- The African Marigold, The French Marigold, and the Calendula.

Last year I found this question in a forum and it really makes me think- Is it possible? Then I decided to give it a try to find what actually works.

I must admit, to find the truth I have to spend hours reading several articles. Some are supporting while most of them are against these assumptions. So I decided to conduct my own open experiments without going through the theory.

Can Marigold Flowers Keep Animals Away
Can Marigold Flowers Keep Animals Away?

Also Read:- How to Grow and Care Marigolds Complete guide

Experiment 1 # Feeding Marigold to Cattle

It seems stupid but what else to do. I have several French and African Marigold plants in the terrace garden. Luckily There’s a cattle farm nearby. So I decided to give it a try.

Sorry for the fact that I missed the Images here! Coz I was too excited for the experiment.

Check out my favorite marigold Seeds on Amazon.

Facts about this experiment

  • I collect 16 French Marigold, 10 African marigolds, and a whole marigold plant. Actually, I don’t want to waste too much of it.
  • Reached the farm in the morning at about 9 or 10 AM.
  • Selected 3 Cows and a Goat Randomly.
  • Then I give them all I have – to eat.

Guess What!- The Goat starts eating the tip of the marigold plant while one of the cows liked the African marigold flowers. The other two were not very interested in my feast.

Interesting Fact: – Both the Cow and Goat were picky about which one to eat and what to leave. I learned something useful, every animal has its unique selection for food.

Caution:- Guys, It looks simple as it is, but I have also spent hours learning whether marigold flowers are harmful to these animals or not. So don’t do it if you don’t know exactly.

Experiment 2# Feeding Marigolds to Squirrels

Let me clear this, I didn’t conduct this experiment. Actually, I just witnessed the results afterward in my garden.

  • There were 3 pairs of squirrels living in my garden. They Still do! One of them is Jumpy and Queen. Yes, I can Identify them, Coz they are the fierce ones.
  • One morning I saw them Cutting the tender buds of marigold flowers. Actually, they don’t eat it, just collected it and carry it to their home. Maybe for kids. I don’t know.
  • After few days I again saw them doing the same act. This time they were accompanied by 1 more family member.
  • They also chopped the second batch of delicate marigold seedlings.

It seems they liked my marigold plants. So I can say at least Marigold doesn’t repel Squirrels.

Interesting Fact:- Squirrels only damage full mature and tender marigold buds. I haven’t seen them eating the fully grown flowers.

 Experiment 3# Feeding Marigold to mealybugs and Aphids

Now, this is really stupid. I was aware that my plants will be damage still I decide to check them on my own.

  • Separated 2 healthy plants away from all others. I don’t want to infect them all.
  • Then I put 3- 4 mealybugs under the leaves. I collect those from an infected hibiscus plant.
  • Then I put both of them under the shed. Also, I watered the plant every day to help the bugs. Stupid isn’t it?
  • Within a week and a half, both the plants get covered with mealybugs and some aphids also join the party.
  • After 2 weeks I put them again in full sun to give it a fair test.
  • Within 2 days most of the aphids are gone but the mealybug infestation has killed one of the plants.

After this experiment, I have to burn both the plants to stop any further infestation. This ensures that marigold cannot repel mealybug or aphids.

Checkout:- How to Grow Marigold from Cuttings-with Images

Experiment 4# Planting Marigold in Soil full of Nematodes and grubs

Interesting fact:- I collect the soil near a swampy lawn side. The moisture and plant residue makes sure there were lots of nematodes.

  • Fill a pot with this soil and put a healthy seedling in it.
  • Initially, the condition of the plant was not too good. It took almost 25 days for the seedling to show any noticeable growth.
  • After that the plant growth was impressive. It doubles its height and width within the next 10 days.
  • So I decided to check out the soil for nematodes or grubs.
  • I took out the plant from the soil and scrutinize the soil.
  • There were lots of earthworms but rarely any nematode is seen under a lens. I also find 2 unidentified grubs. The birds feed on them.
  • After satisfying inspection, I finally repot the marigold plant. It blooms just 2 weeks after repotting.

So At least in this case marigold helps in repelling the nematodes. Actually, when I researched this in detail, I found a piece of evidence to prove it scientifically.

According to the research, marigold roots release a toxic compound called alpha-terthienyl. This compound inhibits the hatching of nematode eggs. Hence it breaks the lifecycle of these suckers. So it is confirmed that Marigold repels nematodes.

But different marigold variety acts differently. Some varieties like Tagetes Patual are more effective with root-knot nematodes. It is a matter of research and study, so I leave it to your jurisdiction.

Bugs that Don’t like Marigold 

Though I haven’t tested marigold on all of them, I can say it may work. You can give it a try and write your experience in a comment.

  • Mosquitoes
  • Spiders
  • Cockroaches

Bugs and pests that Love feeding on Marigold

  • Snails
  • Caterpillars
  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs
  • Spidermites
  • Japanese Beetles
  • Butterfly
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Moths

Can Marigold Flowers Keep Animals Away?

Overall in my experience, a marigold plant can keep nematode and some cows away. But It is mostly useful in attracting pollinators. The attraction of a marigold plant and its beautiful flowers is stronger than its repelling nature.

Only true animals that don’t like marigold is your pet- Dog, and Cat. In fact, tagetes variety is somewhat harmful to them. So keep an eye on your pets if you have a marigold bed on your lawn or garden.

Final Words

There is no scientific evidence available that a marigold can repel an animal. But This doesn’t mean that we can discard the possibility. It just requires thorough knowledge and proper experimenting based on scientific scales. So keep gardening and keep exploring more interesting facts.



Hi, My name is Sukant. I am an I.T professional. Gardening for me is not just a hobby, it's a way of living life with nature. My Ancestors were Commercial farmers: So I personally feel attached to the green. I am not an expert, I'm here only to share my gardening experiences. It's always Refreshing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts