coleus plant ornamental member of the mint family“Do deer eat coleus?” is a question that often worries first-time coleus parents. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is that yes, they do. You might often wake up in the morning to see your beautiful flowers ravaged by deer.

Read our expert guide to find out what you need to do to save your coleus from being eaten by deer.

Do Deer Eat Coleus?

Yes, deer do eat the Coleus plant. They are not too fond of this plant, and won’t come to your garden specifically to eat this plant, but it is not a deer-deterrent either. If nothing else is available, the deer will definitely go for coleus.

– What Is the Coleus Plant?

The coleus plant is an ornamental member of the mint family that has gorgeous patterned leaves and produces colorful flowers. It also has a faint smell and is mildly toxic as well.

– Why Do Deer Eat Coleus Plants?

Deer will eat this plant in your garden or yard when they have no other choice. Deers have a taste for a certain type of plants. They will go straight for the roses or the hydrangeas, so your coleus bed will never be their first preference.

In fact, they are quite put off by its scent, and the taste of this plant is also not very appealing to them. But if nothing else is available or accessible, then they will definitely go for this plant. 

Another thing that might happen is acquired taste. Sometimes, deer may develop a taste for this plant after having to feed on it one too many times. These deer will then keep coming back for more.

How To Keep Deer Out

Unfortunately, coleus is not resistant to deer, which is why you must devise other methods of keeping deer out of your garden. This entails planting a fence, using deer repelling plants, installing motion sprinklers, and purchasing liquid repellant sprays, among other solutions. You can even train a dog to scare the deer away.

Read about all these methods in detail here.

– Install a Fence Around Your Garden

This is probably the most fool-proof method of keeping deer out of your garden. Install a fence all around your property so that there is no entryway left for the deer to invade through at night. Of course, this is a time, effort, and money-consuming endeavor.

In order to keep deer out, the fence needs to be at least 8 to 12 feet tall. A fence that is shorter than this will not keep them out as they will simply jump over it. Some people install barbed wires over their short fences to make them longer. 

We don’t recommend this, however, as this might harm the deer. Instead, install planters at the top of short fences. Also, make sure your fence is made from a sturdy material so that it doesn’t easily give way as a consequence of the lightest resistance from deer. 

– Try Double Fencing

In some areas, the laws prohibit installing fences that are too long. In that case, you can go for double fencing. This means installing two rows of fences.

The distance between each fence should be 3 to 5 feet. This makes it near impossible for the deer to make a jump and leap in your garden.

The downside is that you will have to install the fence twice. This will also decrease the perimeter of your yard, but if you live someplace where deer are a big problem, this might be your only option.

– Use Motion Sensor Sprinklers

Motion sensor sprinklers are very useful tools. Not only are they great at watering your lawn and conserving water that is otherwise lost with hoses, but these sprinklers can also double as deer deterrents. 

The latest varieties of motion sprinklers have a range of about 1,600 square feet. They are able to accurately detect a deer from afar. Aside from this, they can also direct a jet of water directly in the direction of the deer. You can turn them on for the night and they will keep scaring the deer away.

– Use Deer Deterrent sprays

Deer have a very strong sense of smell, and there are certain smells that they just cannot tolerate. In fact, they properly flee from places with these odors. You can use this thing to your advantage by spraying your lawn and garden with deterrent sprays that are intolerable to deer. 

However, keep in mind that this method also means having to live with a smelly garden. These sprays also need regular daily application all around your garden property.

Read below to find out the different types of spray repellents you can use.

– Ammonia Sprays

Ammonia sprays are easily available in the market as various companies manufacture them. Buy one with a lot of good reviews and then spray it around the yard daily to keep deer away.

– Urine Repellant Sprays

Urine repellants are another type of spray you can buy. These products have a particularly nasty smell, so the deer will not like it and run away for good.

– Plant Deer-Resistant Plants

There are some plants that deer just can’t tolerate. Planting them around your lawn or flower bed will act to deter the deers from approaching your coleus and other susceptible plants.

These plants usually fall into three main categories. There are plants that are too fragrant such as lavender, peonies, etc. Plants that are toxic to deer, like daffodils and poppies, are also included in this plant list. In the last category are plants that have a rough texture that deer find irritating, which includes plants like lamb’s ear.

Find out some of the most common plants that deer stay away from below.

– Rosemary

Rosemary is a very popular plant. It is not only an ornamental plant but also an essential herb in Mediterranean cuisine. Its leaves have a very strong herbal scent associated with them. 

On top of that, the plant itself also smells of essential oil. Deer are naturally averse to this smell, so planting rosemary in your garden will keep deer away.

– Mint

Mint is an often-used herb. It has a very fragrant smell and toothed leaves. Deer don’t like its smell nor do they like its prickly leaves. 

Moreover, mint is also quite easy to take of. The tea that can be made from this herb is nice and relaxing, and they can repel deer as well.

– Butterfly Bush

This is a fast-growing shrub that produces the most exuberant blooms. You will not see a deer eating this bush.

– Lavender

Lavender produces gorgeous deer-resistant flowers. Their smell is strong enough to keep these animals out of your yard for good. Plant lavenders all around the fence on your property.


– Get a Dog

A dog is man’s best friend in many ways, and they will definitely keep the deer away from eating coleus. If you already own a dog, that’s great. All you have to do is to train them to smell the deer and send them on their way. If you don’t have a dog, you can specifically buy one that is trained to keep animals away. 

Having to take additional responsibility for a dog is the only downside to this method. Dog lovers would love it, though.

– Use a Bar of Soap

This is a very innovative method to deter deer from eating your coleus plants live. Many gardeners swear by it. Simply put a bar of soap near your plants and bushes. 

Choose a soap that has a very strong and heavy scent. Their scent will interfere with the deer’s sense of smell and it will turn away. It might even be repelled by the soap’s smell. 

Hang the bar of soap using a stake or from a branch. This makes sure that it doesn’t get buried in the soil, which would defeat its entire purpose.

– Plant Prickly Plants 

To those who cannot install a fence or other fancy gadgetry around their property to keep deer out, worry not. Sometimes, simply planting prickly plants at the boundary of your garden will do the trick. 

These include plants like dusty miller and lamb’s ear. The fuzzy leaves of these plants are strongly distasteful to deer. Planting them will generally keep the deer out unless the animals are particularly hungry that day.

Other Plants That Deer Eat

We bet you have a ton of questions regarding some other plants too. You want to find out whether these plants are eaten by deer or not. Continue reading to see a list of common garden plants and whether or not they are appealing to deer.

– Begonia

Deer do not eat begonias. The reason for this is the strong scent that this plant emanates. While we humans adore the classic begonia fragrance, deer are strongly put off by it and avoid it at all costs.

Not all varieties of begonias are deer resistant, but the most common ones are. These include begonias, tuberous begonias, and rex begonias to name a few.

– Impatiens

Impatiens are a kind of plants deer love to eat. These are a family of annual flowering plants that produce gorgeous, vibrant-colored flowers every spring.

Deer are greatly attracted to these plants. They will not only keep coming back for them over and over, but will also destroy the entire plant in the process.

– Caladiums

Deer do not eat caladiums. These plants have large heart-shaped leaves with green and pink variegations. All types of caladiums, whether they are bicolor or hybrids, are strictly off the deer’s menu list. You can plant them in your garden with ease in your heart regarding deer safety.

– Foxgloves

Deer do not eat the beautiful foxglove plants with bell-shaped freckled flowers. These plants are toxic to deer, which is why deer have a natural tendency to stay away from them.

Symptoms of foxglove toxicity include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases or after consumption of large amounts of foxgloves, bloody diarrhea and convulsions will occur.

– Penstemon

Deer do not eat penstemon at all. Penstemon is a large genus of beautiful flowering plants that belongs to the mint family. These deer-resistant perennials have the longest flowering season and the most heavily scented flowers. Naturally, their scent is intolerable to these animals and they generally tend to stay well away.

– Hollyhocks

Deers don’t eat hollyhocks in general. Hollyhock is a large genus of flowering plants. These are perennials in nature and produce the most dazzling blooms.

However, unlike foxgloves and some other plants that totally repel deer<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, this one is edible for deer. Just like coleus deer will eat hollyhocks if nothing else is available. They might even develop a taste for it.

– Lantana

Deer will not eat lantana in any case. Deer hate them because of their strong, unfavorable smell. They also have a rough texture that deer don’t like. 

On top of all this, this plant is also cumulatively toxic for deer. If they eat more than one percent of their body weight of lantana, they will most definitely die. Hence, these tropical flowering plants are quite safe from deer attacks.


What can I plant with Coleus to keep deer away?

Planting garlic, chives, or lavender with coleus can keep deer away.

Will Coleus eaten by deer regrow?

Coleus can regrow after being eaten by deer.

What is the best home made deer repellent for Coleus?

A homemade repellent can be made using soap, garlic, and hot sauce to protect coleus from deer.


Coleus plantWhy don’t you jump down below to read some final thoughts regarding this article?

  • Coleus is a plant that is often thought to be deer resistant. They might not be the first choice for deer, but the animals can and do often munch on this flowering plant.
  • In order to protect your plants from being ravaged by deer, there are a number of things you can do. These include making a fence, using motions sprinklers and spray deterrents, or using a guard dog. You can also plant greens that are not eaten by deer.
  • Deers don’t like to eat plants that have a strong smell like lavender and mint. They also stay away from pricky and rough-textured plants like lamb’s ear. And, of course, they don’t munch on plants that are toxic to them. An example of a plant that is toxic to deer is foxglove.

In short, deer will enter your yard and munch on coleus if they are hungry. Sometimes, they might even develop a taste for it, but if you take appropriate measures, you will definitely be able to save your plants in time.

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