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Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas? [Best Ways to Deter Them]

Growing Hydrangeas while abstaining deers from eating them is a big deal in states like Texas, as it is home to over 5.5 million deer alone.

After Hostas, Hydrangeas are the next favorite plants of the deer as fresh flower buds and juvenile leaves of Hydrangeas taste candy-like to them. Deer eat almost all varieties of Hydrangeas, but their preference can vary per the Hydrangeas species.

Hydrangeas are mostly nonresistant to deer, so a proper deterrent must be incorporated to keep plants safe.

Thus, read till the end to learn which Hydrangeas are most or least preferred by deer with respective preventive measures.

Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas?

How I wished to say No! But sadly, deer love to eat the sweet fresh, juvenile leaf tips of the Hydrangeas plant.

Hydrangea aka. Hortensia is an aesthetic deciduous plant that blooms from late spring to fall.

And unfortunately, at the nick of flowering, the buds and new Hydrangeas leaves become candy-like for deer to munch or eat.

That said, the opportunist feeders can also eat older, mature Hydrangea leaves if they are hungry.

If a deer has eaten all Hydrangea flower buds from top to bottom, they may fail to bloom entirely.

pink and creamy white hydrangeas flowers
Not all Hydrangeas, especially the ones that produce blooms on old woods, bounce back stronger with vigorous bloom after deer munching.

But deers eat the plants’ upper part, leaving the lower part untouched. So, your Hydrangeas might bloom, albeit with very few.

Furthermore, Hydrangeas eaten by deer will not die but will grow back with little extra nourishment.

Regardless, deer invasion is much more costly and will wreak havoc on your garden. Thus, proper preventive measures are a must to keep deer at bay.

Which Hydrangeas Are Deer Resistant?

Let me be honest! There are five main types of Hydrangeas with various varieties, none of which are deer resistant.

In simpler terms, every Hydrangeas are, one way or another, loved and eaten by deers.

However, like humans, deers also have a preference and eat some Hydrangea species more than others.

Furthermore, Hydrangeas are most likely to stay untouched by deer if they flower when there is enough food.

Now, let us rate some of the popular Hydrangeas based on their deer-resistant nature, shall we?

Bracted or Rough-leaved Hydrangeas (Zone 7 to 10)

Thanks to plants’ coarse hairs on the foliage, rough-leaved Hydrangea is one of the least preferred by deers.

The soft, fuzzy hairs create a sandpaper-like texture, making the plant unpalatable to deer.

Some rough-leaved Hydrangeas that are supposedly deer resistant are aspera, villosa and Blue Bunny.

However, depending upon the deer population and food availability in the area, deer might still eat bracted Hydrangeas.

Climbing Hydrangeas (Zone 4 to 8)

As the name suggests, climbing Hydrangeas can grow 30 to 80 feet tall, far beyond what a fully grown 5 feet tall deer can reach.

So, the innocent yet pesky deer can not dare to eat such tall vines. However, deers still munch and feast upon small, young plants.

Thus, incorporate safety chicken wires into the juvenile plants until they become big enough to tolerate grazing.

Panicle Hydrangeas (Zone 3 to 9)

The late summer flowering period of the Panicle Hydrangeas keeps the plant somehow safe from deer, but not always.

With iconic cone-shaped flower heads, Panicle Hydrangeas bloom on new woods.

So, the Panicle Hydrangea, like Limelight, responds with more vigorous blooms when a deer eats the flower buds.

Moreover, their blooms are the main target of the deer as stems are very woody with rough texture.

Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Zone 5 to 9)

Despite having rough, woody stems with rigid bark, colorful blooms of Oakleaf Hydrangea are unguarded and make an excellent relish for deers.

Thus, deer might not munch the plant entirely but will eat away all aesthetic blooms.

Furthermore, Oakleaf begins flowering earlier than other varieties, making them more tempting to deer.

Remember, Oakleaf Hydrangeas produce flowers in old woods. So, once the deers eat the flower buds, the plant will not flower until next year.

Bigleaf Hydrangeas (Zone 6 to 9)

Instead of deer-proof, Bigleaf Hydrangea is a deer-favorite Hydrangea that remains flowerless the entire season after a deer invasion.

Thus, if you have Bigleaf ones in your garden and live in an area with a higher deer population, a deer-repellent strategy is a must.

Smooth Hydrangeas (Zones 3 to 8)

Smooth Hydrangea is another common deer meal that is more popular with the name Annabelle.

However, many gardeners speculate that Annabelle plants are so familiar with deer that it has become dull, mundane meals, making them somehow deer resistant.

Nonetheless, the flowering from new woods leverages more compact growth from harmless grazing from deer.

How To Keep Deer Away From Hydrangeas

Depending upon the region’s deer population and food availability, gardeners have varying opinions regarding deer-resistant Hydrangeas.

But the bottom line is deer love to eat or munch candy-like bloom of Hydrangeas regardless of species.

Furthermore, Hydrangeas’ resistance to deer varies from place to place. So, deer may avoid eating Hydrangea if they are getting Hostas.

Thus, here is a failsafe preventive strategy to keep your Hydrangeas, regardless of species, safe and sound from deer.

1. Crowding Hydrangeas with other plants

You can plant deer deterrent plants like Daffodils, Boxwoods, Lavender and Dahlias around the Hydrangeas.

Deer detest those plants’ intense smell and prefer to avoid them.

Thus, fortifying a garden with deer-resistant annuals and perennials given below is key to keeping Hydrangeas safe.

Floss FlowerLavender
Polka Dot PlantSages
Dusty MillerPeonies
Wax BegoniaBearded Irises
Sweet AlyssumBee Balm
Sweet BasilAllium
Spider FlowerKniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
CosmosAchillea (Yarrow)
Mexican SunflowerAnemone
Mexican MarigoldAconitum (Monkshood)

2. Using repellent sprays

You can deter deer by spraying natural homemade or commercial repellent sprays around the Hydrangeas.

Mix one egg yolk, water, and a teaspoon of baking powder to prepare a DIY deer repellent. Then fill it in a sprayer and spray the solution every two weeks.

Otherwise, you can rely on commercial products like Liquid Fence, Nature’s MACE spray and Bonide repel.

Also, remember repellent sprays often come in intense odors that could be problematic for you and your pets.

So, be wise and check the product label before buying one.

3. Setting down chicken wire

Deer do not like to step on the cross chicken wire as it causes them discomfort.

Thus, carefully set the chicken wire flat on the ground around the Hydrangeas to shield them from deer invasion.

4. Use an electric fence around Hydrangeas

Although the electric fence is relatively expensive, it might be the ideal solution to end the deer problem.

However, stay alert and ensure to keep your pets and kids away and aware of such fences.

Editors Note

Hang Fragrant Soaps Around the Garden!

Although it sounds weird to hang scented soaps in the garden, it is one of the effective ways to repel deer away from Hydrangeas.

Otherwise, let your pet dogs guard your Hydrangeas and keep them safe from deers day and night.

All The Best!