What Is Eating My Chrysanthemum Flowers?

Chrysanthemum Flowers, also commonly known as ‘mum’ flowers, are extremely popular amongst gardeners. And for good reason. From red to purple and even green, they bloom in a variety of colors, and somewhat uniquely, they do so during Autumn time, as opposed to Spring. 

They’re a pretty wonderful flowers, so it can be a tremendous annoyance to find that they’re the food of choice for the many animals and insects that pass by our gardens. 

But what ones, exactly? Let’s find out, shall we?

So, what is eating my chrysanthemum flowers? Chrysanthemum flowers are prey to a variety of animals and insects. Deer, rabbits, and squirrels are common predators, as are aphids, spider mites, and chrysanthemum leafminers. 

Below, we continue to explore these predators to look out for, as well as some helpful tips on how you can protect and best care for your chrysanthemums. 

What Is Eating My Chrysanthemum Flowers?


It’s no secret that deer, our herbivore friends, love to feast on a good old chrysanthemum.

Their relentless sense of smell means that they can spot mums from relatively far away.

In Autumn time, whilst most other flowers have withered away, mums are in their absolute flowering prime.

Hence, in lieu of delicious alternative foliage, mums take the brunt as far as deer are concerned. 


There is much debate around whether or not rabbits truly enjoy eating mums.

The consensus is that there are several alternative food sources that rabbits would much prefer, but even so, they’ll happily nibble on their foliage and petals when they’re all out of other options.

Hence for rabbits, mums are nothing more than a backup meal of sorts, which makes their munching on them all the more tormenting for gardeners! 


Squirrels also feed on mums, but unlike rabbits, they actually enjoy doing so.

They’ll eat the plant’s flowers and leaves, which in turn equips them with a whole host of beneficial nutrients.

Nonetheless, mums can be poisonous, particularly their stems and leaves, which in turn can sadly leave some squirrels severely ill.  


Aphids, the great sap-sucking pests, are much too quick to make themselves at home on our precious mums.

They reproduce at a rapid rate, which means we can find ourselves facing a full-blown invasion. 

Aphids in abundance are problematic.

They deplete the plant of the nutritious juices that it needs to grow, resultantly causing it to dry up and, if an intervention isn’t put into place, potentially die too.

Spider Mites

Much like aphids, spider mites suck the sap out of mums.

However, unlike aphids, they can only be seen with a microscope, so it’s only when the damage that they inflict upon our plant is relatively severe that we’re likely to realize their presence.

Hence, for this reason, they are generally perceived as being more detrimental to our plants than aphids. 

If you notice your chrysanthemum leaves becoming discolored and not taking their usual shape, you may well have a mite invasion on your hands! 

Chrysanthemum Leafminer

Unsurprisingly, the larvae of chrysanthemum leafminers are interested solely in the plant’s leaves.

If you don’t spot them in action, you’ll know that they were there by the silver-toned lines that they leave behind on the leaves. 

When it comes to leafminers, the motto ‘power in numbers’ certainly rings true.

Whilst just a few of them are unable to inflict much damage onto your mums, a fully-fledged infestation certainly will!

As a result, the leaves will become deformed, and sometimes, they’ll disappear altogether! 

How Do I Stop My Chrysanthemums From Being Eaten?

Fortunately, there is hope! There are various methods that you can adopt to prevent your chrysanthemums from being eaten, and thankfully each of them is far from rocket science. 

Just take your pick! 

By Hand

If you have a case of leafminer larvae or any other bug for that matter, most gardening experts would recommend removing them from your chrysanthemums by hand.

To do so, all you’ll need is a pair of gloves and a bucket of soapy water to drop them into once you’ve picked them. 

Be sure to tackle every part of the plant’s stem, flowers, and foliage before you pack your gloves away.


We bet you weren’t expecting to come across a solution as simple as water. 

The truth is, when it comes to aphids and mites, there is no better method to eliminate them than to do so via a powerful water stream directly from your right hand man, the hose pipe.

You’ll knock those pests right off the plant, and it’s unlikely that they’ll reappear anytime soon. 

Just be sure to intervene as early as you can. If mites and aphids suck too much sap out of the plant, you may find that it becomes impossible to revive.

In such a case, you’ll need to divert your focus to finding a replacement instead.

Scent Deterrents

Scent deterrents are an effective solution, too, particularly in the case of animals.

Deer and rabbits find the smell of cayenne pepper and peppermint completely repulsive, so if you spray the vicinity of your plant with said solutions, you can be sure that they’ll stay clear of the area.

Problem solved! 


Insecticides are effective and accessible enough to purchase. They work well but are not without their risks. 

As well as killing unwanted insects, they pose a threat to the surrounding environment too.

Reason being they’re pretty toxic, and their effects are non-discriminatory.

Hence, you run the risk of killing beneficial insects, contaminating your soil and other plants, and even harming wild animals. It’s far from ideal!

Neem Oil

Now we’re talking! Unlike typical insecticides, neem oil is completely natural, and every gardener ought to have a bottle or two to hand. 

Simply apply neem oil all over your plant, and any insects that dare try to invade will essentially wind up smothered by it.

Unlike with chemical insecticides, your soil and other wildlife won’t wind up as collateral damage.

It’s a solution that has been adopted for hundreds of years, and it’s clear why. 

Here is the Neem Oil to buy on Amazon.

How Do I Get My Chrysanthemums To Flower Again?

Chrysanthemums, our Autumnal friends, are perennial flowers.

This means that they rebloom year upon year, every Autumn, during the course of their lifespan, which tends to be around four years.

During their lifetime, to ensure that they thrive as they should, it’s our job to care for and maintain them. Fortunately, doing so is a straightforward feat.

Remove/Prevent Pest Invasions

Of course, the first call of action is to remove or prevent any pest invasions. That means insects and animals.

Simply adhere to the above-mentioned methods above to do so. Easy! 

Use Fertilizer

Pest control aside, the usual plant care tactics prevail. The first being fertilizer!

Apply fertilizer to the soil before you plant them, as well as consistently during their growing season.

They’ll thrive and grow in as healthy a manner as they are capable of. The results will be well worth the effort! 

This is my favorite fertilizer that I get from Amazon.

Prune Your Chrysanthemums

Furthermore, pruning your chrysanthemums is fundamental! The best method to do so is ‘pinching,’ which consists of removing a couple of inches of each of the plant’s stems using either your hands or traditional pruning shears.

The general rule of thumb is to ‘pinch’ them whenever the stems reach around 6 inches in height and to cease doing so towards the end of July so as to not affect their flowering come Autumn time. 

Simple! By following these best practices, your beloved chrysanthemums are sure to flower healthily time and time again. 

You may want to check out my other guides while you are here: