Will Deer Eat Bay Laurel?

If you live near the woods, you’re bound to be extra careful about the plants you put up in your garden since they could attract animals you don’t want hanging around your yard. Bay Laurel is an aromatic; a spice you can add to your cooking so planting them would be beneficial for you. However, you must be worrying whether they will attract deer and have them munch on your spices—let’s discuss this.

Most species of deer eat bay laurel leaves since they can be a source of protein for them. However, some varieties of bay laurel such as sweet bay are rarely munched on by deer, often being found untouched after a deer grazes over an unfenced garden.

However, it is always best to practice caution and always assume that a deer will most likely be attractive to evergreens and fence your yard properly. 

Finding your plants damaged caused by a deer grazing can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are ways you can protect your crops—especially bay laurels—from deer. You can also try planting naturally deer-resistant plants in the first place to avoid this issue. If you want to learn more, keep reading below.

A wild female roe deer eating flowers in a garden. - Will Deer Eat Bay Laurel?

Will Deer Eat Sweet Bay Laurel?

A wild female roe deer eating flowers in a garden. - Will Deer Eat Bay Laurel?

Sweet Bay Laurels emit a strong scent that can make for a wonderful spice in your cuisine. However, this same scent is one that most deer do not appreciate, so they will most likely avoid grazing it when they have the chance.

However, even if a tag may say that a plant is deer-resistant, no plant is completely deer-proof. Some deer may eat it if there’s no other option, or if they’re simply curious about what it may taste. 

The only thing that could keep your evergreen and deciduous plants safe from grazing deer is to build a strong fence around them. 

Read: Should You Cut The Flowers Off Laurel? [When And How To Deadhead]

Deer-Resistant Plants

If you don’t want deer ruining your garden, it is best to opt for plants that deer usually won’t go for so you won’t have to face a deer problem. 

Although these plants are not a hundred percent deer-proof, you could at least worry less about them. Note that some are more resistant to others that they almost seem deer-proof. 

Not only will these plants be relatively deer-resistant; but they also provide visual appeal to your garden and make it look more lush, vibrant, and refreshing.

Here are deer-resistant plants you can try planting in your garden.

Read: Are Crabapple Trees Deer Resistant? [With Tips On How To Protect Them]


Amazing Yellow Daffodils flower field in the morning sunlight. The perfect image for spring background, flower landscape.

Daffodils are one of the most deer-resistant flower bulbs. They thrive in USDA zones 4-8, and they are usually planted in well-drained fertile soil.

Daffodils are usually avoided by deer since they release a chemical called Lycorine that causes the deer to be repelled.

This alkaloid sends them a signal that this is a poisonous plant and should not be eaten, so they steer clear of this during their grazing. 

They grow beautiful pink and purple blooms that can soften the look of your garden, making it more welcoming. 


Picture of foxglove growing in the garden. Digitalis purpurea - colorful foxglove flowers ( common foxglove, purple foxglove or lady's glove)

Foxglove is one of the plants that deer don’t particularly like. You may observe them sometimes avoiding it when looking for something to eat.

However, they are not completely deer-proof; they are more deer-tolerant or deer-resistant. If there are no other options, a hungry deer can munch on them.

However, this can prove to be toxic or even deathly poisonous to deer, but sometimes a hungry deer won’t be able to tell that it’s dangerous. 

Make sure you install a tall and durable fence around it since even deer-repellant sprays are not a permanent solution. 


Beautiful field of red blooming poppies. Wildflower meadow on a summer day. Scenic nature landscapes

Poppies are one of the flowering plants that deer will steer clear of during grazing since, like daffodils and foxgloves, they also contain a toxic substance that can harm a deer.

These flowers are not only toxic to deer; they can also be toxic to children and pets so make sure to fence them thoroughly. 

Poppies grow in USDA zones 3-9, and they grow a variety of blooms ranging from white, pink, and red, as well as orange, yellow, and purple. 

Oriental poppies are relatively low-maintenance, and they can handle drought well although it is best to keep the soil moist and well-drained.

Floss Flower

Ageratum houstonianum (Floss flower, Tassel flower, Painter's brush) ; Flowering plant with small, delicate, fluffy blue petals. Flowers clustered together in cluster. Dark green leaves, heart-shaped.

Floss flowers are resistant to deer and rabbits, and they are good for your garden’s ecosystem since they attract pollinating insects such as butterflies. 

The shrub grows a cluster of purple and blue flowers that can increase the visual appeal of your garden. They thrive best during the middle of summer all the way to fall, and they tolerate partial shade.

If you’re planning to plant them as borders and hedges, make sure they are fenced since some deer may still eat them from time to time.

Signet Marigold

Tagetes tenuifolia Lemon Gem variety Mexican golden Marigold yellow flowers with orange core in summer cottage garden

Deer stay away from all varieties of marigolds because of the strong scent they emit. The smell is appealing to humans, which is why it is often used as an aromatic spice, but deer hate the scent. 

Since they have a citrusy scent, they can also be used as a natural pest repellent in your garden. Signet Marigolds typically repel worms, nematodes, and mosquitoes. 

Plant these golden blooms under full sunlight to fully enjoy the flowers during spring, and make sure to plant them in well-drained, but fertile, soil.

These plants are hardy in zones 9-10, but they can be grown annually in other zones. 

Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle is a beautiful Korean garden

Crape myrtles have been determined by Rutgers University as a plant that is “seldom severely damaged” by deer.

The reason is unclear, although it can be argued that they simply don’t like the way they taste or smell, as is the case with the other plant species they rarely graze on. 

However, no plant is completely safe from them especially in spring when new growth may cause deer to explore more food to munch on.

It is still wisest to fence around your garden even if you only have relatively deer-resistant plants. 

African Lily

Agapanthus blue flowers in the garden. Lily of the Nile or African lily flowering plants.

African Lillies thrive best in coastal areas. They attract pollinating insects such as butterflies and bees, and they are rarely targeted by deer and rabbits. 

Plant African Lillies under full sunlight to see them bloom, and keep them in fertile and well-drained soil. 

They will grow beautiful purple blooms when the environment is right, and it can inject visual appeal into your garden.

Their flowers’ unusual shape will make your garden look unique and give it a tropical vibe. 

If you are experiencing frost, it is best to keep African Lillies as houseplants. If you leave it planted, make sure to surround it with mulch so it is protected. 


Purple catmint in garden surrounded by other catmints.

Catmint, though irresistible to cats, is too pungent for a deer to eat. They emit a strong scent so a deer will usually avoid them unless it is really hungry. 

Catmints have attractive foliage that grows purple blooms. They are excellent as hedges and borders, and they can make your garden more aesthetically pleasing. 

Plant catmints along your border, but make sure you fence it since no plant is completely deer-proof. Put it in a well-drained oil, and water it occasionally when necessary.

Catmints are generally low-maintenance, so you won’t have to fuss over them once they’ve been established.

How to Know If Plant is Deer-Resistant

A rule of thumb is that if the plant has a strong, citrusy, or pungent scent, it will most likely not be grazed by the deer. If a plant can be used as a spice, the deer won’t like it.

What will deer eat?

Deer usually love to eat tree bark when evergreen plants are unavailable.

They favor grasses, scentless evergreen and woody plants, nuts, and acorns. They will also eat berries, fruits, and persimmons.

There have been rare occasions during the absence of their usual source of protein when they eat eggs and chicks. 

Should you use deer repellents?

There are many deer repellent sprays that are made with scents that will discourage a deer from grazing in your yard.

These sprays contain predator urine and putrefied eggs whose scent will not be detected by humans after a few minutes but the deer still can. 

These sprays are not a permanent solution since they can still dissipate. The best way to keep deer away from your plants is to build a tall fence.

See this deer repellent on Amazon 

Final Thoughts

Deer love to munch on evergreen plants. The best way to protect plants is to make them inaccessible or as unappealing as possible, which is why planting deer-resistant plants is a great first step. 

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