Are Roses Deer-Resistant? [And How to Protect Your Roses From Deer]

Roses are some of the most well-known flowers in the world. They're renowned for their beauty and their multiple colors. If you are a gardener who is thinking about planting roses, you likely have some questions. One of the things you've probably wondered about the most is whether roses are deer resistant. We've taken the time to find the answer so that you'll know if your roses are deer resistant on their own or if you'll need to do something to protect them.

Roses are not deer resistant. When you plant them, you need to have a plan in place to protect them if you live in an area where deer are prevalent. Deer will eat almost every part of the rose bush if you do not take preventive measures.

Colorful red and pink roses with a deer, Are Roses Deer-Resistant? [And How to Protect Your Roses From Deer]


Knowing that roses are not deer resistant is only part of the information you need before you begin planting roses. It's also important to know how to keep deer away from your roses and what kinds of other animals eat roses so that you can know how to best protect your plants. We've taken the time to find the answers so that you can be ready to protect your roses once they're planted. Keep reading to give your roses the best chance for success!

Deer Eat Roses

Though you may think that the thorns on a rose bush would protect them from all sorts of predators, this is not always the case. Young rose bushes are particularly vulnerable to predators since their thorns are not as developed and hard as older plants. Young roses can make a delicious and inviting snack for deer.

Even older, more established roses are susceptible to deer. The animals do not seem to be bothered by even mature thorns and can make short work of your rose bushes. If you have invested a significant amount of time and effort into them, the quick and thorough damage that deer can do to your plants can be frustrating. It can also be costly as you'll have to buy new plants. And, if you cannot protect your rose bushes, you may find yourself in an endless cycle of planting, destruction, and replanting. 

Deer are notorious for their ability to find ways to get what they want. Finding the best, most effective ways to protect your plants is critical. If you cannot find reliable protection methods, then all of your effort in planting your rose garden will be for nothing.

How Do You Keep Deer Away From Your Roses?

Colorful red and pink roses with a Deer walking around

Over the years, people have tried multiple methods to deter deer from eating roses. Some of the most successful approaches include the use of different types of deer repellent, fences, and protecting rose bushes with a protective perimeter formed by plants that deer do not like to eat.

There are several available deer repellents on the market today. Some sprays and granules can be applied to the plants when they are young. Some people have also created homemade repellent formulas that have had varying degrees of success. The biggest issue with repellents --both sprays and granules -- is that they must be applied frequently. After a significant rain, for example, you have to reapply. Even if it is dry for an extended time, you'll still need to use the repellent multiple times. It is not a one-time and done solution.

Fencing is another way to protect your roses from deer. Some people choose to use an electric fence with a mild shock to dissuade deer from eating their plants. Other people may decide to use wire fences or even traditional chain link or wooden fences to prevent the deer from getting into their rose bushes. The biggest drawback to fences, however, is the lack of accessibility and visibility that are a natural part of having a fence. If you are interested in displaying your roses for people outside of your own home, fences may make that difficult. Also, if the fence is not at the proper height, deer may be able to jump over it. They are nothing if not resourceful, especially when trying to find food.

Another way to protect your roses is to surround them with plants that deer do not like. These can act as a natural barrier for deer. Their scent or their toxicity may keep the deer away from your beloved roses.

Whatever method(s) you choose, it is crucial to employ variety and be willing to change your strategy. One consistent protection method will lose its power over time. The deer will grow bolder and be less afraid if they become accustomed to one specific tactic.

What Kinds Of Animals Eat Roses?

Deer are not the only animals that are interested in eating roses.

Thorns don't offer rose bushes much protection from small creatures like insects that can crawl on or around them without being harmed by their sharpness. They also don't protect from flying insects that land directly on the plant itself. Bees and beetles are among the most common types of insects that will eat roses.

Flying is not limited to insects, either. Birds can fly over fences and avoid thorns to get to rose bushes. Though not all birds eat roses, the ones that do can be difficult to stop.

Ground dwelling animals also eat roses. Squirrels, rabbits, and mice are notorious for the destruction they can do to a garden. Their ability to squeeze through tight spaces, even fences, makes them troublesome pests to stop. Mice and squirrels are also excellent climbers and are determined to get food. 


Beautiful rose garden with red and pink roses

Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden. However, they require protection from all sorts of creatures, including deer, rodents, and insects. The amount of time and care roses need is well worth the effort, but you need to be aware that you will need to be diligent when it comes to ensuring their safety. Their thorns offer a bit of natural defense, but you cannot rely on the plants to completely protect themselves. This blog was put together to give you the information you need to increase the odds that your roses will be a healthy, beautiful addition to your garden.

For more information about how to properly plant and protect roses, check out some of our other blog posts about these beautiful plants:

How To Care For Roses During Winter

Do Roses Need Sun Or Do They Grow In Shade?

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