Despite their peaceful and gentle appearance, deer can be surprisingly destructive creatures. These large herbivores have voracious appetites, and they will eat almost any plant they encounter.
This presents a particular problem for gardeners, who may find that their prized hostas are being consumed by hungry deer.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do Deer Eat Hostas?
- 2 Will Deer Eat the Whole Hosta Plant?
- 3 What Do Deer Generally Eat?
- 4 How to Keep Deer From Eating Your Hostas
- 4.1 1. Motion-Activated Sprinkler
- 4.2 2. Red Cat Eyes
- 4.3 3. Garden or Deer Netting
- 4.4 4. Deer Repellent Sprays
- 4.5 5. Companion Planting
- 4.6 6. Nylon Stockings with Soap
- 4.7 7. Plastic Owl or Scarecrow
- 4.8 8. Fencing
- 4.9 9. Human Hair or Animal Hair
- 4.10 10. Hot Pepper Spray
- 4.11 11. Get Rid of the Bird Bath
- 5 Will Hostas Grow Back if Eaten by Deer?
- 6 Are Hostas Deer Resistant?
Do Deer Eat Hostas?
Deer are grazers, and will eat lots of varieties of food. And unfortunately, deer do like to eat hostas, occasionally severely damaging the plants.
Hostas are one of deer’s favorite plants, so they will absolutely take a bite if they are hungry enough and nearby. Unfortunately, deer resistant hostas don’t exist.
Will Deer Eat the Whole Hosta Plant?
Hungry deer visit your backyard or garden beds and will eat a large portion of the plant. Since hostas only get to be around 36 inches at their widest, its easy for a deer eating them to consume the whole plant.
The leaves (and even the fragrant flowers) of these garden plants are no match for a white tailed deer.
What Do Deer Generally Eat?
As herbivores, the local deer populations like to snack on bushes, plants, fruit trees, and nuts or acorns.
Deer love to eat leafy foliage and since hostas are essentially big beautiful leafy plants, they are often a good target for deer.
Hostas are one type of plant that deer enjoy eating, but they eat many others including pansies, roses, petunias, marigolds, geraniums, and more.
How to Keep Deer From Eating Your Hostas
If you come out to find deer prints and deer damage in your hosta bed, it’s time to take action. While it can be difficult to keep deer away, there are several ways to protect your hostas from being eaten by deer.
1. Motion-Activated Sprinkler
Deer can be skiddish, so hearing loud noises and seeing a lot of movement can scare them away. A motion-activated sprinkler can absolutely do the trick.
Make sure you setup a trail cam to watch all the animals run as fast as they can away from your garden 🙂
A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.
2. Red Cat Eyes
These fake red eyes are great for keeping nocturnal animals out of the garden, and while deer aren’t fully nocturnal, these work for keeping them from eating hosta plants.
3. Garden or Deer Netting
It’s not called deer netting to keep out rabbits. 🙂
If the netting is setup the right way, it can keep deer out. Unfortunately, this isn’t a solution you’ll likely want to use because it will cover up the beautiful greens.
4. Deer Repellent Sprays
This stuff is pretty gross, and no wonder rotten eggs work to repel deer. The main ingredient in this popular spray is whole egg, followed by garlic powder and cloves which are fragrant plants, which can be added to any homemade deer repellent. Those pungent smells are ones that deer tend to stay away from.
5. Companion Planting
You can also use the age-old method of companion planting, which is essentially planting deer resistant hosta alternatives that act as deer deterrents.
Some deer resistant plants include:
- Herbs like sage, rosemary, and dill
Deer avoid strong smells, and that’s exactly what garlic offers.
Fend Off Sticks have a strong garlic odor which is great as deer repellents
Here are some other deer resistant plants to try out including flowers, vegetables, and perennials.
6. Nylon Stockings with Soap
Got some extra Irish Spring soap laying around? Add it inside of a nylon stocking and hang it from a nearby tree branch. This scent is quite good at keeping deer out of the area.
7. Plastic Owl or Scarecrow
Placing a fake predator nearby can help keep scare deer from eating your hostas. While this alone isn’t going to stop them from eating hostas, it will help along with red cat eyes or strong odors.
One of the best ways to protect your plants is to put up a fence around them, and it’s the only true “deer proof” method. This will keep the deer out and allow the plants to grow without being eaten.
Deer can easily jump short fences, so if you’re going to go this route, you’ll want to put up a wire fence that is at least 7-8 feet tall.
You can also invest in an electric fence to help keep your vegetable garden and precious hosta plants safe.
Fences also help keep out animals like rabbits, raccoons, and other animals and pests.
9. Human Hair or Animal Hair
If a deer comes across your garden or backyard and smells a predator or human scent, this can help deter deer away from your plants. Although, some people have limited success with this, you can try animal urine as well.
10. Hot Pepper Spray
Similar to the deer repellent above, cayenne pepper sprays are great options for home remedies to keep deer out of the hosta patch.
11. Get Rid of the Bird Bath
If you have a birdbath in your backyard or garden, deer can use it as a water source. Once they’re nearby, they’ll realize there is some free food nearby. Take away the water, and you can help ease some of the destruction.
Will Hostas Grow Back if Eaten by Deer?
If a deer has gotten ahold of your hosta plant, there probably isn’t much left. However, if a good portion of the plant remains, the leaves can be quick to regrow, so don’t worry about it too much.
However, if you do find that a deer has been munching on your hostas, you’ll want to employ some of the strategies above to keep them from coming back for them.
Are Hostas Deer Resistant?
Most hostas species are a favorite snack for a deer and don’t offer much in terms of deer resistance.
A hungry herd of deer can easily decimate an entire bed of hostas in just a matter of hours. So if you live in an area with lots of local deer, you might want to take action before they find your patch.
You can protect plants with strong scents, a tall fence, and even some deer netting.
With a combination of careful landscaping and vigilant repellent methods, even the most dedicated deer can be kept at bay from eating your beautiful hostas.