shrubs eaten by deer

Roswell, GA

I planted new azalea shrubs this past fall and now I find the tips nibbled off. We have a lot of deer around here. My question is . . . do deer like to eat azaleas? The second part of my question is this: . . . I have Lilly of the Valley planted right next to the Azaleas and they seem to be fine. It looks like the deer don't like to eat them. Could someone please confirm that Lilly of the Vally is a deer resistant plant? Thanks so much for your input.

This message was edited Jan 9, 2013 9:36 AM

Rolesville, NC(Zone 7b)

Yep, unfortunately deer love azaleas. But I have never seen them eat Lily of the Valley and our nursery has a patch of it next to some hostas that always get munched.

Tobyhanna, PA(Zone 5a)

Deer will eat just about anything if they are really hungry. This past Spring I planted some small rhododendrons and hollies and they thrived "untouched" right through the Summer. Then Fall came and the deer made quick work of noshing on them until they were almost all leafless. I'm hoping that the shrubs will put out new growth this Spring. If they do, I will have to spray them with deer repellent, or cover or fence them to keep the deer away. I also agree with plantfreak78 about hostas. They are "deer candy".

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Same here -- I gave up on azaleas or rhododendruns - although the deer only ate them in winter. Lily of the Valley -- neither deer or rabbits eat them -- Dax

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

There are many plants that are on 'deer resistant' lists.
Unfortunately, deer do not read those lists.

However, most Rhododendrons are considered deer resistant, but Azaleas are not.
Lily of the Valley is not on the list I have as deer resistant.


Several years ago we had a drought.
Most of the plants in the hills were dried up, dormant (it is normal for natives here to go dormant when there is no rain- but this was much earlier than usual) or dead by mid summer.
The deer were eating just about ALL landscape plants, including Oleander.
They would then vomit the chewed bits, but they were so hungry they kept eating it.

Around here there is a product called 'Liquid Fence' that several of my clients say works pretty well. Spray it on the leaves of the plants. Keep it fresh so the tender new leaves are protected.
Irish Spring soap hung on string around the deer entry paths, human hair (ask the barber for plenty) in cheese cloth bags, and commercial products that contain predator urine can also slow them down.
The secret is to keep the products fresh and rotate them. Do not let the deer find out there may be a meal in your garden.

If all else fails, a rock garden (rocks only) surrounded by a 6' fence with an outrigger, protected by a couple of big dogs will stop them.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

We have deer in our area and ofcource, there are many, many so called experts (obviously not gardeners) who seem to wrte all articles and books on the subject of how, what and when to grow plants that deer WON'Y touch, believe me, after 50 odd years of gardening and living in several places, visiting 4 continents, there is no gardens where deer roam, that are deer proof either by growing deer proof plants or by protecting your plants by either store bought products, old wives remedies or animal (predatory waste) droppings or whatever, unless you can find the cash to build an 8 foot high fence around the perimeter of your plot, then all you can do is change your method of protection as suggested by some, in fact I would use several remedies all at the same time IF you have the time to change them every few days as the deer become smarter than us mere mortals.

I have 10 acres of woodland garden and grow Blue Bells Daff's, lots of under-planting with woodland Perennials and apart from Ferns and Rhododendrons, everything else is fair game for the deer, my Azalea's that were eaten over there 1st 3 yeras were ready to give up and die, however I made a temp fence from chicken wire and thick stakes and it worked, my azalea,s loose there greenery come autumn, flower in spring before the leaves appear so maybe that helped a bit, Camelia's got there buds chewed off lower down the branches, but survived better some years than others, Roses are a delicasey as are lots of other shrubs but to be honest, I have spent years running outdoors waving hands / arms and after several weeks of that, those deer look at you, then look at each other as if to say "just ignore, she will go soon", I've tried spray's, manures, animal droppings, human hair, spent countless hours tying old shinny CD's as the wind blows them for 2 days the deer took off, BUT, returned to gnaw the shrubs beside the CD's.

I wish you the very best of luck, don't be fooled by the hints or tips telling you that any shrub with prickles wont get eaten, Roses, Brambles, Hawthorn and countless others have all been eaten.
There is the funny side also, like myself and my friend being caught peeing among the shrubbery because some idiot told me that human pee was the best deterrent for the deer as they hated the scent, the deer could'nt care less and continued munching the shrubs but my cat looked a bit disgusted that something had used her patch, visitors were fairly convinced I had lost the plot completely when they had first seen all the CD's blowing in the breeze while watching the deer munch their way through the Brussell Sprouts and cabbages, oh well I guess I would rather share my place with the deer than be stuck in an apartment with only a window box.
Be kind to yourself and just try, test and move everything about after a few days, as you think it will help, and it will help, just for a day or so then you have to conjure up the next idea. ha, ha, ha.
Very best wishes with this problem and good luck.

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