Deer are beautiful when they are in the woods, far away from your flowers. But when they start eating all the blooms off your impatiens – something has got to change. Don’t give up. We have a few ideas.
Many gardeners have problems with Deer and other four legged vegetarian wildlife. There aren’t any plants that are truly Deer proof. Fortunately there are varieties that are less favorable or what we refer to as resistant.
There also are products on the market to give a repulsive odor or bitter taste. We have heard some good things about a product called “Deer Stopper” that is a granular and can be sprinkled on the soil. A good selling point is that it doesn’t smell bad to us humans. There are several on types available too.
Some people have the best results by alternating the use of multiple products.
Irish Spring soap has been known to be offensive to Deer. Tonics made with Hot peppers tend to keep them from taking more than one bite. Bounce fabric soften sheets can be stuffed inside hosta and other types of plants so they are unseen but the fragrance keeps the deer from wanting to bite.
Generally the worst damage occurs in the spring and fall. However, in a bad winter the Deer may browse on trees and shrubs when their favorite food is buried by heavy snow. Even then you can try spraying a homemade or purchased repellant on your plants.
Here are some plants less likely to be eaten:
Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Snapdragon, Marigold, Dusty Miller, and Zinnias. Deer don’t tend to like any of the annual or perennial Salvia or Sages.
Perennials: Artemesia, Cranesbill Geranium, Helleborus (Lenten Rose), Heuchera, Dicentra, Nepeta (Catmint), Foxglove and all perennial Ferns and Grasses.
Bulbs: Daffodidls, followed by Alliums, Hyacinth and Iris.
Trees and Shrubs: You can usually have good luck with plantings of Barberry, Boxwood, Juniper, Holly, Lilac, Rose-of-Sharon, Japanese Maple, and Viburnum.
The following recipe is for a homemade tonic. This tonic may also be effective for keeping away Rabbits, Squirrels and Woodchucks.
- 2 Cups Water
- ¼ Cup Vaseline
- Cayenne or any hot pepper
- 1 teaspoon dish soap
Boil for 5 minutes. If using raw peppers strain the liquid. Cool and pour into a spray bottle. Spray your plants. May have to be reapplied after prolonged or hard rains.
*In a hurry, try sprinkling the ground hot peppers on the soil around the perimeter of your plants.