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Do Deer Eat New Guinea Impatiens? [Myth Busted]

Deer are voracious eaters, fondly grazing Impatiens and other plants. But, hybridized New Guinea Impatiens are likely deer-resistant.

Generally, deer eat New Guinea Impatiens if your garden is unprotected or plants are short for deer to reach the foliage. You can fend off deer from eating Impatiens by using spray deterrents and growing deer-repellant plants. 

To learn more about how to keep New Guinea Impatiens safe from deer, stay tuned to the article!

What is New Guinea Impatiens?

New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) differ in size, growth, and flowering habit from Common Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana).

Commercial New Guinea Impatiens were introduced in 1972 as hybrids to Western Horticulturists, with growing popularity.
Image represents Impatiens varieties
Deer love the Common Impatiens variety, but due to the tall stature of New Guinea Impatiens, deer may not favor them.

They are native to Papua New Guinea and bloom with vibrant red, orange, pink, and white tones, while leaves bear green, bronze, and purple hues. 

Moreover, New Guinea Impatiens love the bright sun, making excellent plants for garden sidewalks and outdoor hanging baskets.

As a sun-loving perennial, they do best in USDA hardiness zones 10-12, but it’s proper to grow them indoors if you live in cold regions. 

Common Impatiens vs. New Guinea Impatiens

Unlike Common Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens are resistant to pests and many pathogens, especially mildew diseases.

Additionally, they are called ‘sunpatiens’ as they are bred to have more tolerance toward direct sunlight than Common Impatiens.

They also have fewer but larger blooms than the Common Impatiens.

Although New Guinea Impatiens is a hybrid of other Common Impatiens and have similarities, they do have differences. 

To see their differences and similarities, go through the table below.

FactorsCommon ImpatiensNew Guinea Impatiens
Native RangeSoutheast Kenya to South Tropical AfricaPapua New Guinea & Solomon Islands
Common NameBusy Lizzy, Impatiens, Patience Plant & Sultana
HabitTerrestrial Herb or Subshrub (Annuals or Perennials)Epiphytic Herb or Subshrub (Annuals or Perennials)
Flowering SeasonsSummer to FallSpring, Summer & Fall
Growth RateQuickQuick
Size10-16 inches tall & 10-15 inches wide12-36 inches tall & equally wide
Growing SeasonsLate Spring to Early Fall
Early Spring to Late Fall
Special TraitsNon-toxic but causes side-effects if eaten

Resistant to heavy shade
Non-toxic but causes side-effects if eaten

Resistant to drought, most pests, mildews, possibly deer & rabbit

Do Deer Eat New Guinea Impatiens?

Common Impatiens are spring and summer favorites of herbivores like deer.

But, deer do not eat New Guinea Impatiens as their particular snacks.

Some gardeners often complain about the half-bitten leaves and flowerheads of New Guinea Impatiens.

However, there are possible reasons for deer chowing on them. 

  • If your plants lack protection or spray deterrents, deer may dip their hooves at night and prey on their leaves and flowers.
  • Likewise, if your garden has only New Guinea Impatiens growing without any other plants for bait, deer may consume them.
Image illustrates droppings and footprints of deer
Round droppings and hoof marks are signs of a deer attack in your garden.

Deers may sometimes leave your New Guinea Impatiens alone as they grow taller than other Impatiens varieties.

Hence, it may cause difficulties for some short-statured deer species to eat the leaves and flowers of New Guinea Impatiens.

From Editorial Team


You can easily grow deer-antagonistic plants to keep deer away from your New Guinea Impatiens garden.

Additionally, you can also resort to using chicken wire fences or flashlights to scare them away.