Do deer eat hosta plants is a worry amongst gardeners whi love hosta plants for their elegance and easy-growing facilities. You can grow hostas in cold and warm weather in shaded regions.
However, you need to be careful about the deer, and this is because deer love the hosta plants and their foliage. So, you must choose ways to stop deer from eating hostas.
- Do Deer Eat Hosta Plants?
- How To Revive Deer-eaten Hosta Plants?
- How To Know that a Deer Has Attacked?
- How to Save Hosta Plant From Deer?
- What Are Other Choices To Hostas?
Do Deer Eat Hosta Plants?
Yes, deer eat hostas plants, and the reason is that it has luscious and smooth foliage, in addition, they have sweet fragrance that the deer are attracted to. They would go for the thin and younger leaves and nibble on them.
Deer don’t only eat the hosta plants but also love them, as most deer adore eating the foliage. Which would mean that, they will start eating the plant whenever they get a chance. Moreover, hostas grow in abundance both in winter and cold seasons. So, deer find it an easy target to meet their appetite.
– Luscious and Smooth Foliage
Hostas have one of the best foliage with a beautiful and elegant look. Its large luscious foliage showcases every shade of green possible. Also, the slightly golden hue spreading over the foliage in various patterns adds further elegance to it. It even has a sweet fragrance that adds to the overall aesthetics of any landscape.
– Sweet Fragrance
Unfortunately, both its green foliage and sweetish fragrance attract deer intensively.
In fact, expert gardeners refer to the hosta plants as “dee chow” because deer love chewing on them. Deer usually choose the younger hostas as their meal.
– Thin Leaves
Also, among the 3000 varieties of the hostas, deer only eat the varieties having tender and green leaves. They don’t like the hostas with thicker leaves. Deer love eating tender plants in different seasons too.
As a result, you will see deer eating the hosta foliage in both early and late spring. It showcases why deer is the arch-rival of gardeners who want to grow hostas.
Hence, gardeners need to know the ways to regrow and revive hostas even after deer mulching them. Thankfully, there are high chances of reviving even the mulched hostas.
How To Revive Deer-eaten Hosta Plants?
To revive deer-eaten hostas plants, you must begin by pruning off the damaged leaves, and keeping the healthy ones. On another note, make sure that you water the plant properly, keep it moist, and fertilize the soil and mulch it as well.
Thankfully, you may still help regrow the hostas that deer have mulched on previously. You can quickly regrow the hostas that deer have eaten in the early spring. Deer usually love the budding hostas in the early spring. Once they have eaten the foliage, you may grow them back.
Make sure that you examine very well the leaves that have been bitten and that show a bite mark.
Sterilize your scissors and prune these leaves that are damaged away and make sure you clean the whole batch or hostas to avoid any of stress towards the plant.
– Proper Watering
Start watering the hosta plants to ensure that the soil is well-moist, and make sure that you start to take better care of it now that the plant, especially the roots, are going through a recovery phase. Make sure the soil is kept moist properly, and that you water it once a week.
– Fertilize and Mulch
After you have adjusted the ones that are still healthy, you may now start fertilizing the plant adequately. You should choose natural fertilizer if the damage is nominal. For extreme damages, apply commercial fertilizer.
The fertilizer will boost the hostas’ growth and help it shoot faster. You should also use different deer-resistant strategies to protect hostas.
Also, note that deer mulching the hostas in late spring won’t regrow. It happens because the hostas become weaker and lose the energy required to revive. So, it’s always better to deter deer instead of allowing them to eat hostas and regrow them.
Alternatively, you may grow deer-resistant plants that closely look like hostas. Also, you must know how to identify deer attacks in the garden.
How To Know that a Deer Has Attacked?
To know that a deer has attacked your hostas, there are two ways of telling, either by checking the soil and examining the hoof prints of the deer when it approached. Or you can check the cut marks or bite marks that are left on the leaves.
Deer or rabbit, everyone has different deterring strategies, you must be sure whether deer or rabbits have attacked the hostas. Only then may you plan to stop deer from eating hostas. Or else, you will set up various strategies that will be futile in protecting hostas.
– Hoof Prints
Deer will leave hoof prints in the garden if they enter it. So, look for deer hoof prints in the garden if you suspect their attack.
You may inspect the garden soil in the early morning when it is soft. It will make identifying the deer hoofs easier.
– Cut Marks
Look at the damaged leaves carefully. Deer leave slightly damaged leaves, while rabbits won’t leave any cut marks on the foliage. It happens because of the unique teeth pattern of the deer made for thrashing the foliage.
How to Save Hosta Plant From Deer?
To save hostas plant from deer, you should use homemade repellents, or try to plant some deer resistant plants surrounding the hostas. You can even apply some home remedies, and install hedges and fences around the plant to keep it safe.
– Use Homemade Repellents
The best way to deter deer from hosta plants is to apply homemade deer repellents. There’re many homemade deer-resistant recipes to choose from to protect hostas. You will three spoons of egg, minced garlic, and hot sauce each. You can blend them to make a quick deer repellant.
However, also note that since garlic is a natural repellent of animals and pests at the same time, you can even plant some and due to the aroma released, they will stay away. This way, you will definitely be protecting your plants.
Another great recipe is a mixture of white vinegar, ammonia, cayenne pepper, and peeled garlic. You must mix these ingredients with soap and water to prepare a handy deer deterrent. Lastly, mixing egg yolk, water, and baking soda will also work brilliantly.
– Use Deer-resistant Plants
Growing deer-repellant plants and abundant flowers in the garden will protect the hostas. You may use lavenders, marigolds, and any flowers with intense odor. The potent smell will keep deer miles away from the garden. Alternatively, consider bleeding heart, bee balm, and butterfly bush.
The good part is that growing these deer-resisting plants will enhance the garden’s beauty. So, you will enjoy two in one facilities with these flowers, perennials, and plants. You will need to grow them in abundance and thick to increase the strength of the smell.
– Apply Home Remedies
Another brilliant way to deter deer is using home remedies, which means that you will find so many home remedies to protect gardens from deer that it will overwhelm you. In addition to this, when you use some of these home remedies to deter deer will work at different levels. So, depending on the intensity of the deer attack, you can choose from these remedies.
Firstly, you can sprinkle human hair on hostas to keep deer away from them. Yes, human hair works brilliantly to deter deer. You can sprinkle a few hair clippings on the hostas. Secondly, spraying blood meal on the hostas will also protect them. You may get these blood meals from local stores.
Thirdly, boil garlic, onion, herbs, and peppers together. They will release a stinky odor that will force the deer to stay away from the landscape.
– Hedges and Fences
When nothing works to stop deer from eating hosta plants, you must protect them with hedges and fences. You may use metal or mesh wiring fences around the garden perimeter. Of course, it is the costliest of all deer-deterring methods. Yet, it yields the most effective results in protecting hostas from deer.
Consider growing hedges in the perimeter if you want a cheaper option. Growing hedges may take some time, but it’s worth the investment.
What Are Other Choices To Hostas?
Some other choices to plant other than hostas are foam flowers and foam bells, or even lungworts. In addition, you can still plant some spiderwort, or even some hakone grass if you want vibrancy, or you can go for a classic toad lily.
No doubt, hostas look beautiful in the garden. Its green foliage, golden shades of various patterns, and year-round growth make them incredibly favorite to gardeners. Unfortunately, deer eat hostas as much as grasses and most perennials.
– Foam Flower and Foamy Bells
Foam flowers and foamy bells are considered close relatives to hostas and great alternatives to their foliage. Both plants are native to North America and grow almost in abundance on any landscape. You will love their wild and rustic appearances that elevate the aesthetics of any space.
The foam flowers have a beautiful white blooming. It looks excellent. Also, the plant has easy growth and maintenance. Yes, you can grow it in partly shady areas too. Foam flowers and foamy bells both need four to six hours of sunlight. The soil should be partially moist, and that’s all. So, you will find growing the foamy bells and foam flowers relatively easy.
The lungwort name may appear ugly, but the flowers and leaves are equally elegant and lovely. The flower resembles a lung; from there, it got its name in the medieval period. The flower, apart from its shape, also looks brilliant.
It comes in blue, pink or white colors. Often, these two shades will mix to bring an attractive hue to the flower. People think it can cure lung infections.
Conversely, its leaves are fuzzy and harsh, and as a result of this deer don’t eat lungwort leaves. It makes the lungwort a valid alternative to hostas. Gardeners will also love the spotted and silver foliage of the plant. It will continue growing even after the flowers fade off in the late winter.
Long story short, lungwort is deer-resistant and a great alternative to hostas. You can grow them in partly shady spots quickly.
Spiderworts are another excellent alternative to hostas that are deer-resistant. They grow in full to partial sun and shades. Thus, you can grow these perennials in different places in your garden. The foliage is harsh and keeps away deer successfully.
If you want the best foliage colors, you should grow the spiderwort in filtered sun. Thus, you will get chartreuse to yellow foliage with beautiful flowers. You will need to ensure proper drainage and moist soil for the perennial to grow with full potential and attractive colors.
– Hakone Grass
Hakone grass, likewise hosta plants, is famous for its eye-catchy and elegant foliage. In fact, gardeners call it the most handsome perennial foliage. It looks so stunning that it will elevate your landscape even without any flowers.
Hence, it is a perfect alternative to hostas. It is only partially 100% deer-proof. However, its easy maintenance makes it a great choice for gardeners. If your locality has frequent deer attacks, you should choose the Hakone grass.
You can grow it in woodland areas with proper moisture and shady space. The moisture needs to be consistent. As it grows slowly, you don’t need to divide it for years. Also, it stays mainly on the ground and won’t catch the eyes of deer. Even if deer hoofs damage them, the perennial grass will recover faster and better.
– Toad Lily
Toad lilies will join the perennials and always show up at the last moment. Yet, they will attract the attention of everyone with their beautiful green foliage and golden shades on the edges. So, they are the show-stopper in your garden.
Its foliage strikingly looks like the Hosta. However, toad lilies are deer resistant. It saves them from deer eating only to present you with bare stems.
The plant proliferates in moist soil and requires the least attention in the garden. As it shows, deer don’t like its smelly foliage. Also, it feels distasteful to their tongue.
These lilies grow full to partial sun shades from zone 4 to zone 9. So, these are easy-growing plants with stunning foliage.
Do deer eat hosta plants? Yes, deer love eating hostas and feast on them whenever they get a chance. They love the foliage and eat them all year round. Thus, you must safeguard the hostas from deer.
- For minor deer attacks, you may eliminate them with homemade remedies and repellent sprays. It includes human hair, boiled water of spices, herbs, and baking soda with eggs.
- Hosta damage can vary differently. You can revive the hostas that deer have attacked earlier in the season. You must water and fertilize them to regrow faster.
- Instead of growing hostas, you may choose toad lilies, lungwort, spiderwort, etc., to enhance the aesthetics of the garden and landscape.
Hostas look brilliant with their fantastic foliage. Unfortunately, the hosta foliage is a favorite meal for deer. Our suggestions to protect the hostas from deer work successfully. You will indeed have stunning beauty in your garden now.
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