Yes, deer do eat plants. Deer are herbivores, meaning they primarily eat plants and vegetation. They are not particularly picky eaters and are known to consume a wide variety of vegetation, including flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and vines. Yikes!
However, it’s important to note that deer have certain preferences when it comes to plants. They typically prefer tender, broad-leaved plant species. Deer tend to avoid plants with a strong smell or fuzzy leaves or petals.
There are myriad varieties and species of plants to choose from. Learning about these plants will inform your decision making.
Here are the broad categories to consider:
Check these examples down below. Who knows, you might have some of their favorites in your garden!
Annual plants complete their life cycle in one growing season. Deer often love annuals because they offer a fresh, tender source of foliage and flowers, making them attractive targets in gardens.
Bulbous plants like tulips and lilies store energy in their underground bulbs. Deer are drawn to these plants, especially when they start sprouting, as the new growth is tender and appetizing to them.
Orchids are prized for their exotic and often fragrant flowers. While not a typical deer favorite, in areas with high deer populations, they may nibble on orchid blooms and leaves, especially if other food sources are scarce.
Perennial plants come back year after year. While some perennials have characteristics that make them less appealing to deer, others may still be vulnerable to deer browsing, particularly in regions with heavy deer activity.
Many shrubs, especially those with lush foliage or berries, are preferred by deer. They provide both cover and a year-round source of food, making them frequent targets for deer browsing.
Succulents are known for their water-storing leaves and fleshy stems. While deer typically avoid these plants due to their thick, sometimes bitter-tasting leaves, hungry deer may sample succulents if other food options are scarce.
Deer often favor vines, particularly those with abundant foliage or berries. Vines offer deer both concealment and a consistent food supply throughout the year, making them a common choice for deer to browse
Flowers, like vines for deer, are vital for pollinators. They provide nectar and pollen as a consistent food source, aid in plant reproduction through pollination, and offer shelter to insects with their diverse structures, benefiting both wildlife and plant ecosystems.
Take action now and prevent deer damage to your plants. Choose the natural option of spray on deer repellent that will not affect your plant’s growth.