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Oh, deer! While deer may be beautiful and exciting to observe from a distance, they can do severe damage to your plants. There is nothing worse than carefully curating a beautiful flower garden, only to have them stomped or eaten by deer and other pests. Do deer eat pansies? We have researched this, as well as techniques to prevent your flowerbeds from becoming a deer buffet!
Deer love eating protein-rich pansies and similar plants, such as violas. They are even occasionally labeled as “deer candy.” There are a variety of ways to prevent deer from eating your beloved flowers. A common option is to apply deer repellent. Another popular choice is to keep your flowers contained in a high, sturdy fence. However, there is a wide array of options to keep deer out of your flower beds.
We did some research on your options and determined the best and easiest ways to protect your flowers. Let’s take a closer look at your options and how to implement them.
How to Protect Your Flowers
To effectively keep deer out, fencing needs to be from eight to 11 feet high. Even a slight barrier, such as boulders around your plants, may deter deer. However, it is not guaranteed and is more of a deterrent than a preventative. That said, creating a small barrier in addition to other obstacles is usually more cost-effective than building a tall fence.
Because the cost of fencing can be high, it is best to weigh all your options first. Also, carefully consider the location of the fencing and where you would like the plants.
Another location-based deer deterrent is planting the peonies close to your house. Since deer do not like to be close to humans unless necessary, planing your flowers closer to your home may also deter them. Likewise, if you see a deer close to your home, shoo-ing them away will likely prevent them from coming back in the future.
Deer repellents come in a variety of styles, but spray repellants are probably the most common. Spray deer repellents come in a variety of forms, some organic and other chemicals.
The primary perk to high-quality deer spray is they often do not need to be reapplied after the rain as many other options. Because of this, using spray deer repellent is often regarded as the easiest and most time-effective option for keeping deer from eating your flowers.
The applications of different spray repellents depend on the kind. Be sure to carefully the specific instructions on the spray you choose.
While not as common as spray repellents, mechanical repellent is also an option. Be aware that most mechanical repellents cannot differentiate between pests and pets, so if you choose this option, carefully consider where you put it.
A more natural alternative to this is spreading cayenne pepper or hot pepper wax on and around the afflicted plants. Deer and other pests have sensitive senses and do not like the spicy smell or taste. Cayenne pepper takes a bit longer than commercial deer repellents and usually requires multiple applications.
Another natural deer repellent is Irish Spring soap. The strong odor is supposedly a deterrent to deer and other pests. They can be hung around the garden or simply left on the ground near afflicted plants. Some people even grate the soap up and scatter it around their plants.
While you probably should not buy a new dog solely to keep deer away from your flowers, having a dog around deters deer. Not only can the deer often smell that a predator has been around, but dogs are usually good at chasing deer or alerting you that deer are around. This works best if you already have a dog, as their sent is likely already around your house.
If you planted the flowers in an area, your dog would not usually go consider putting your dog on a leash and walking them around the area. This will help spread their scent to the area you need it. Since deer avoid predators, deer usually avoid areas where predators’ scents are present.
Unfortunately, there are no deer resistant pansy varieties at this time. Avoid planting other “deer candy” plants around your pansies. Plants like hostas, day-lilies, and English Ivy attracts deer. Try removing those plants if possible. Minimizing the amount of deer attracting plants makes it less likely deer will risk eating your favorite flowers.
Instead, you can also try plants deer like to avoid, such as daffodils, foxglove, and lamb’s ear. Like pepper powders, highly fragrant flowers such as lavender, peonies and bearded irises also repel deer. Planting deer resistant plants around your pansies will help discourage pests from munching on them.
While not ideal, if you continue to have problems with deer eating your pansies, it may be time to consider a similar but different plant. Deer resistant flowering plants such as butterfly bush, monkshood, and coneflowers may be better alternatives to pansies.
In conclusion, unfortunately, deer enjoy eating pansies. However, there is a wide array of options to deter and repel deer. The main options include fencing, deer repellent, pets, and other plants.
While one option may not work on its own, trial and error with a combination of options, for example, it is common for people to create a minor barrier such as boulders and also use an organic deterrent such as cayenne pepper powder.
When all else fails, choosing a deer resistant plant instead of pansies is always an option. Many alternative flowers are just as beautiful, so you will surely find an alternative that suits you.