Why deer don’t eat lavender [And how to protect your other plants]

Ah, lavender! A purple beauty with a show-stopping fragrance, indeed animals find this plant appetizing. But, do deer eat lavender? We researched and gathered all the information we could to help you prevent deer from eating your beautiful flowers.

No, deer do not usually eat lavender. It is considered a deer resistant plant. Deer do not like the strong smell of the lavender or similar plants like foxgloves. If the deer are hungry enough, they may take a bite, but it is uncommon. Deer do not heavily damage lavender plants.

Let us take a closer look at why deer do not bother lavender and other things you can do to prevent pests from bothering your flowers.

A close up photo of a lavender flower on a wide field of lavender, Why deer don't eat lavender [And how to protect your other plants]

Why Do Deer Not Eat Lavender?

Deer do not eat lavender because of the pungent odor. Lavender’s suspected strong taste also deters deer. Some plants with similar fragrances and flavors are poisonous to deer, so they instinctively avoid lavender. Lavender itself is not poisonous to animals unless eaten in large amounts. As deer steer clear, pets tend to as well. If you are worried about pets eating poisonous plants, do not locate them in areas pets frequently access. 

Lavender’s characteristic fragrance and taste benefit gardeners because deer are not the only animals who avoid eating these flowers. Rabbits, raccoons, and other small animals generally avoid lavender. So, you can enjoy a gorgeous floral array knowing that only bugs will be the pests on the prowl. 

Please read “How To Stop Deer From Eating Flowers” for preventative tips to save your blooming landscape.

How Can I Keep Animals from Damaging my Plants?

Animals can damage plants in more ways than eating them. Deer, other wildlife, and pets trample plants to smash foliage and break stems. Here are three ideas to prevent animals from eating or otherwise damaging your lavender. 

1. Location

Choosing a good location for your plants is especially useful when it comes to preventing damage. Animals tend to avoid places where humans frequent. Therefore planting close to your house or near areas you go often is a good idea. You can also use location to prevent pests by installing some barriers such as a small fence or stones. The barrier does not necessarily have to be big, as long as it makes animals think twice about trampling your plants.

2. Animal Repellant

Tailor animal repellants to the specific pest you are facing. If animals are trampling plants in a small area, try a natural, home remedy like scattering cayenne pepper on the site. However, most home-made repellants need to be re-applied frequently. So, it is best to buy a commercial repellant if you need it to act quickly to save an affected area.

Repellent odor clips like the one pictured below are especially useful for plants like lavender that can grow woody stems. One of the perks of using clips is they are often organic. You also do not usually have to re-apply the repellant as often as you do with spray and granular repellants.

Click here to see this on Amazon.

3. Other Plants

Since lavender is naturally deer repellant, the primary reason deer would trample them is to get to other edible plants. So it is a good idea to plant lavender among deer-resistant plants to avoid damage. The deer will have little interest in a dee-resistant flowerbed.  

And vice-versa, this method of paring deer-resistant with deer-prone plants can be used to protect a plant likely to be eaten by deer. For example, if you want to plant pansies (sometimes called “deer candy”), you could plant it with deer-resistant plants like lavender and foxglove. Plant pairings will lower the likelihood that deer will bother your pansies since they do not want to munch on the surrounding plants.

What Other Plants Will Deer Not Eat?

If you want to make sure deer do not munch on your lavender, planting them around other deer-resistant plants helps. Here are a few other deer-resistant plants to give you some ideas.

Marigolds

Marigolds are vibrant orange flowers that, despite their beautiful appearance, repel many pests. But they also attract many pollinators and have several uses aside from their lovely looks. If you wonder why deer do not eat marigolds, check out, “Do Deer Eat Marigolds? [And How To Prevent That].”

Marigolds are not picky about soil composition and can grow in full to partial sun. However, in damp and shady areas, they are more prone to powdery mildew. Some varieties are drought tolerant, while others are bred to be more tolerant of moist conditions, so choose your variety carefully. 

Coneflowers

Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflowers, are especially suitable for repelling deer and attracting pollinators. So they are a common choice for butterfly gardens.  Also called Echinacea, this is a versatile and hardy plant. Coneflowers prefer a loamy soil and full sun but are otherwise not picky. It is native to many areas in America and seen growing along the side of the road in some areas.

Peonies

Peonies are a popular and beloved perennial flower. Did you know they are also deer resistant? Like lavender, peonies have a smell and flavor that deer do not like. 

Despite being perennials and extremely beautiful, peonies are relatively easy to grow. They like loamy soil and full sun. They require a bit of extra trimming to bloom to their full potential, but they will happily grow with minimal attention. Check out “13 Gorgeous Orange Peony Varieties For Your Garden.”

Further Reading

Now that you know deer do not eat lavender, you can relax and enjoy this hardy flowering plant during the growing season. You can also incorporate lavender throughout your landscape to protect other deer-prone plants and flowers. If you need to protect an area from hungry deer or wildlife, try using granular, spray, or clip-on repellants. Alternatively, you can build protection into the landscape with the creative placement of fencing and rocky borders.

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