“Do deer eat clematis?” as query signifies that you think deer are entering your garden and are responsible for the damage to your clematis. Well, even if you have no proof that deer are entering your garden, you can surely find out.

Do Deer Eat Clematis

Read this article to learn if deer are entering your garden or not and how to keep your clematis safe.

Do Deer Eat Clematis?

Deer do eat clematis as the leaves are water-filled, nutritious, and sweet. In a scale that measures how often deer eat plants, clematis are classified as “occasionally severely damaged,” which means that even though deer do not find them very attractive, they still eat them, especially when they are hungry.

Deer mostly eat the young plants, as they are well-watered, tender, fertilized, and have a great taste. You will also find a lot of fawns eating your clematis, as they are trying to taste every plant to know which is best or worst for them. As the fawn grows to become an adult deer, it will most likely prefer other plants, but occasionally visit the clematis.

How Can You Tell for Sure That Deer Are Eating Your Clematises?

You can tell for sure that deer are eating your clematises when you see the deer with your own eyes. You can also check for their footprints and poop. Ensure that you check your deer at night, as deer are more active by then. 

– You See the Deer in Action

The most reliable method to know if deer are attacking your clematis or not is when your eyes see them. Truth is that the clematises can be attacked by different types of pests, so do not conclude quickly that deer are responsible for the attacks. Remember that if you do not know the true culprit, you cannot really fix the pest problem because the pest might reappear after some night.

You See the Deer in Action

Are there deer in your area? Have you seen them before? How often do people complain of deer eating your garden plants in your area? Put these into consideration before concluding that deer are responsible for the attack on your clematises.

– You See Some Evidence of Deer Presence in Your Garden

Well, you do not need to see the deer with your eyes directly to believe that deer are the pests entering your garden. You can use other methods such as:

  • Deer footprints: Seeing the footprints of deer can tell you where the deer are coming from as well as their favorite plants, as you will most likely see a lot of prints around plants that deer love the most.
  • Deer poop: Deer may poop while walking or standing, so you can’t tell their favorite plant with it. However, you can tell that deer were indeed present in your garden when you see their black or brown and round poop.
  • Deer fur: It is unlikely to see deer fur, but you can see it on the leaves of some of your plants in the garden.

If you see any of these in your garden, deer are responsible.

– Check Your Clematises at Night

Even though deer can be active both during the day and at night, the ones that enter your garden and attack your garden plants will most likely do so at night when you are fast asleep. If you cannot check your clematis at night, get a camera and record your garden at night. With the camera, you can see the culprit in your garden.

Check Your Clematises at Night

It would also help if you have a dog, as dogs can sense the presence of deer in your garden. The dog will quickly alert you by barking loudly and then you can go check your garden to see the pests in it.

How Do You Keep Your Clematis Plants Free From Deer?

You can keep your clematis plant free from deer by building a fence, spraying the plants with soapy or garlic water, using deer repellents, and doing whatever you can to prevent deer from reaching the plants or finding the plants distasteful. 

– Protect the Plants With a Wire Cage

The best thing that you can do for your garden plants is to build a fence around the garden, However, you can easily keep the plants safe without spending much money by covering them with a wire cage. This is a great idea, especially for young clematis, as they are the major targets of deer and other pests.

Protect the Plants With a Wire Cage

Pests eating clematis will not reach the plants when they are in a cage. The cage is also advantageous, as it does not reduce the amount of sunlight that can reach your clematis. You can also water your caged plants easily.

– Use Soapy Water

Soapy water is not harmful to deer and it helps to repel deer from your garden. Soapy water makes the clematis leaves and flowers very distasteful, so deer and other mammalian pests will avoid clematises when they are sprayed with soapy water. Soapy water is very easy to make.

Use Soapy Water

To make soapy water for your clematises and other plants in your garden, you only need to mix water and soap. Spray this mixture on the leaves. The effectiveness of soapy water fades quickly, so spray the plants at night or whenever you feel that deer will attack your garden plants.

– Grow Deer-resistant Plants

Deer-resistant plants are plants that deer do not like because of their smell, toxicity, taste, or look. If you can grow these plants in your garden, they will reduce the rate at which deer enter your garden and eat the leaves of other plants. 

Grow Deer Resistant Plants

Some deer resistant plants that you can grow in your garden are:

  • Lamb’s ear
  • Siberian bugloss
  • Virginia creeper
  • Yarrow
  • Russian sage
  • Dead nettle
  • Calamint
  • Dill
  • Lantana
  • Elephant ears
  • Arrowwood
  • Ferns
  • Daffodils
  • Poppies
  • Monkshood

You should grow these plants on your garden edges so that they are what the deer will see when passing by. They will repel the deer and your other plants inside the garden will be free from a deer attack.

– Install Motion Sensors

Motion sensors such as motion-activated sprinklers work by detecting the movement of deer and other intruders then raising an alarm or spraying the deer with water. These sensors are important for gardens because deer usually attack garden plants at night so you need something that can repel the deer while you are asleep. Install them near your clematises and other plants in your garden.

– Make Homemade Deer Repellents

There are some cheap products that you can use to repel deer away from your garden. These homemade products can quickly fade off, so you should replace them as often as you can.

Make Homemade Deer Repellents

Some of them are:

  • Rotten eggs: Rotten eggs have a very bad smell that repels deer from gardens. Use them at night to keep your plants safe throughout the night.
  • Garlic: Garlic’s smell and taste make plants undesirable for deer, so you should spray a mixture of ground garlic and water on your clematis plants.
  • Pepper: Pepper makes the leaves and flowers of your clematises very hot so that deer cannot eat them anymore, so spray the plants with pepper powder and water.

– Stop Attracting Deer Into Your Garden

What if you are the one attracting deer into your garden and thus damaging your clematis vines and leaves? It is important that you know why the deer are entering your garden so that you can look for good solutions. There are some items in your garden that could be attracting deer and other pests. 

Here are some examples:

  • Food waste: Food waste such as fruit peels and kitchen scraps are very delicious to deer, so you want to remove all the food waste from your garden.
  • Animal feed: If you are feeding birds and squirrels, remove their feed from the garden and out of reach from deer because deer will continue to enter the garden and try to eat the feed and your garden plants.
  • Plants that attract deer: If you are growing vegetables and fruit-producing plants, keep them away from the garden edges so that deer will easily see them and enter your garden.

– Scare the Deer Away Immediately

The cheapest thing that you can do for your garden plants to keep them safe from deer is to scare the deer away immediately after you see them. Never allow deer to enter your garden and scare them away as soon as you see them. When scaring the deer away, take note of their direction as they run, as they may be running toward the same place that they came from.

By knowing where the deer and other pests are entering your garden, you can look for ways to block that route. If they are entering the garden through an open gate, remember to shut the garden gate always.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Clematis Plants Survive a Deer Attack?

Clematis will survive a deer attack. As a matter of fact, your clematises can actually grow stronger and bushier after a deer attack. This is because the deer attack can just have the same effects as pruning the leaves and branches of the plants. 

When the attack is too severe on the clematises, you will need to care for them if you want them to survive. You can care for your clematis by ensuring that they have enough water, nutrients, and access to light. Ensure that they get up to six hours of undisturbed sunlight daily. Well, if the clematises look like they will not survive the attack, remove them from your garden.

2. Do Deer Eat the Bloom of Clematises?

Deer eat the bloom, as flowers of clematises contain water, sugar, and nutrients. These qualities make the bloom very desirable for deer and make the flowers ideal food sources for deer. The sweet autumn flowers are also more tender than the clematis leaves, so deer may even eat mostly flowers.

When deer have access to your garden, the beautiful plants will no longer retain their beauty, so you must prevent this from happening. Do not let deer to go near your clematis plants.


It does not matter whether you are growing jackmanii clematis, clematis armandii, clematis montana, or any type of clematis of your choice, you can now keep them away from deer and the damage they can cause.

Here’s what you should remember:

  • Deer do eat clematises, as they eat the leaves, flowers, and other parts of the plants. However, they mostly do so when hungry.
  • You can either see the deer in action, see deer poop, fur, and footprints, or check your garden at night to know if deer are truly responsible for your clematis attack or not.
  • Some ways through which you can prevent deer from entering your garden are installing motion sensors, making use of deer repellents, or scaring the deer away.
  • Plant deer-resistant plants around your garden edge to prevent deer from entering the garden.
  • Some other pests that you should watch out for are squirrels, rabbits, insects, and snails, as they also attack clematises.

Now, go to your garden ASAP and find ways to keep your clematis plants safe.

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