Marigolds being eaten

(Question)

Hello,
Are you able to assist me with a question regarding marigolds?
Last summer I put marigolds in planters and they did very well except for the fact that some type of animal was eating the blooms.
I would go out in the morning and the blooms looked wonderful and when I came back in the afternoon parts of the blooms were all over the ground.  Sometimes I would find the flowers damaged early in the morning.
I had the marigolds in hanging planters and the same thing happened.  The blooms were in tact but individual petals seemd to be plucked out.
Do you have any idea which animal(s) may have been doing the damage.
I always thought that the smell of marigolds kept animals away.
Thank you,

(Answer)

Slugs are fond of marigolds but the kind of damage you describe suggests that either squirrels or birds are tearing the flowers apart (both find marigolds tasty).

You might first try putting something that flutters, such as whirlygig ornaments, tinfoil strips or old CDs, attached to small stakes in the planters and attached to the hanging baskets themselves. These tend to scare off birds.  Sprinkling blood meal on top of the soil medium around each plant should discourage squirrels.

Another option is to put some netting over the planters temporarily to discourage both birds and squirrels, encouraging them to visit someone else’s garden.

I hope these methods defeat those pests for you this year!