Oh deer!

This is my first of a series I’ll be doing of Ask Me Anything.  I happened to get a question from a nice gentleman who is a regular customer of our garden center and he wanted to know something – and I didn’t have an answer for him.

Never professing to be an expert in anything, I told him what my research-oriented mind could come up with – I’ll find out!

Then he said, “I love your blog, why not write an article about it?”


So, here we are, in a new series I’ll be affectionately referring to as the AMA – or Ask Me Anything.  I’ll take your questions and use them for articles!  Of course I can’t guarantee every question will make it into my blog – but some will!

OK, so you came here for deer….and deer is what you’ll get.  Let’s see what I found from my jaunt around reputable information sites and, of course, books in my possession.

A deer

Why are deer eating my landscape plants?

Well, the simple answer is: your plants are delicious.  At least to them!

But I would have to say the real reason that they’re eating your plants is likely due to pressures from loss of habitat from massive development that is happening all around us. The few wild spaces left are being cleared for new homes to shelter us humans.

As the deer search for ways to forage for food while avoiding danger and exposure, they happen upon your yard, and it’s the middle of the night, they’re hungry, and it’s so tempting to nibble…

Deer's lookin' at you, kid.

What can I do about it?

Well, there are a few things you can do.

One of the easiest things to try is to use a deer repellent.  Usually made from natural substances, these products usually contain coyote urine or other such predator smells.  They must be applied consistently or they won’t really do much good.

Very hungry and clever deer will see past the ruse sometimes and nibble anyway…but it’s a quick and easy and inexpensive first step.

Here’s some products you could try:

Liquid Fence

Shake A Way

Buck Deer

Deer fencing is another option, but if you’re trying to protect your front yard plants, many places won’t let you put up a deer fence in the front (HOA rules).  Deer fencing is more effective, as it puts up a physical barrier between your plants and your wildlife.

There are some products out there that use lights, sprinklers, or sound to startle the deer away from your lawn.  The least intrusive (for your neighbors) is the sprinkler, which uses motion detection to aim a strong stream of water on to its target.  We don’t carry them but they are easily found elsewhere.

Peeking deer

Now, there is another option – you can change what plants you landscape with to plants that deer don’t like, or don’t like as much.

In doing this, your yard will stop being registered in their minds as a buffet, and more as just another yard to pass through on the way to nibbling someone else’s flowers.

Here’s a list of some plants you can use (and ones we carry in seeds or plants when they’re available have two stars ** next to them!):

  • Banana**
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Bottlebrush
  • Camellia
  • Carissa
  • Chinese holly
  • Crotons
  • Gardenias
  • Ixora
  • Japanese Boxwood
  • Juniper
  • Lantana
  • Mahonia,
  • Myrtle-leaf holly
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Plumbago** 
  • Sweet Olive or Tea Olive
  • Viburnum
  • Wax Myrtle

There are a few other plants that seem to be resistant as well:

  • Aloe
  • Angel Trumpet
  • Black-Eyed Susan**
  • Bush Daisy**
  • Century Plant
  • Cone Flower**
  • Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia)**
  • Ginger Lily
  • Lily of the Nile (agapanthus)
  • Lupine
  • Marigolds** (I personally have watch deer eat these…but it’s on the official list!)
  • Peace Lily
  • Periwinkle**
  • Petunia**
  • Sage**
  • Shasta Daisy
  • Turk’s Cap
  • Verbena**
  • Yucca

This list comes from this article by UF IFAS.

And as far as what we carry – well that list is growing all the time.  I’m working to curate a great selection that is seasonal and just right for Florida, year round.  I’m working to categorize our stock into specific areas to help you shop, such as edibles (of course), annuals, perennials, Sun, Part Sun, Shade, Landscaping, Deer resistant, etc.  It’s going to take awhile but we’ll get it done.

Take care and I hope this article was helpful to you!  

Do you have a question? It might become my next AMA!!  Send it to me at marissa at shellsfeed dot com. 

Until next time, Keep Growing!




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