One of life’s joys is planting hydrangeas and watching them blossom. However, you’ve discovered that a nocturnal grazer has turned your hydrangea plant into a feast. Although you are suspicious of the neighborhood Bambi, do deer eat hydrangeas?
Hydrangeas are eaten by deer, especially the leaves. The primary component of a deer’s diet is soft, young leaves, like that on hydrangea bushes. Strongly scented or having fuzzy leaves can reduce deer damage in hydrangea species. Deer who browse on hydrangea bushes are especially dangerous to young leaves and branches.
What can you do to keep deer from destroying your hydrangeas? perhaps you are wondering. Verifying that deer are the true offenders is the first step. Because if deer aren’t the problem, there is no value in implementing deer-proof methods. Finding the most effective methods to keep deer away from your hydrangeas is the next step.
This manual will assist you with both procedures. And shortly you’ll arrive at a yard brimming with lovely hydrangeas in bloom.
Let’s get going.
Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas?
Native to Europe, Asia, and North America, hydrangeas are blooming plants. In USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, they thrive. Bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla), smooth hydrangeas (H. arborescens), and oakleaf hydrangeas are among the varieties of hydrangeas (H. quercifolia).
Large mophead blooms are a characteristic of oakleaf and big leaf hydrangeas; smooth hydrangea blossoms resemble those of wild blue phlox. Pink, purple, and white are just a few of the many hues available in hydrangea variations. The hydrangea shrub is pretty lovely.
In May, hydrangeas bloom at their peak. They are regarded as thorny plants as well. Similar to how certain deer adore hydrangeas because of their bushes, other animals would devour them.
Do Deer Like To Eat Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas may and will be eaten by wild deer. They don’t enjoy them as much as they are drawn to the vividly colorful blossoms by their curiosity.
Deer, like the majority of herbivores, are always searching for food and utilizing their lips to inquire about their surroundings, the most crucial being, “Can I eat this?”
However, they may cause significant harm to hydrangea shrubs in backyards by removing the blooms off the branches and ruining the delicate green buds.
You are far more likely to encounter wild deer use your hydrangea plants as a food source if you reside in a semi-rural community where urban development is encroaching on wild regions.
The plants are palatable to deer despite being moderately poisonous, and they offer a quick feast when alternatives are scarce or a population has outgrown its usual food sources.
The deer are said to deliberately search for the exposed stems of the hydrangeas during the winter months, when this is most likely to happen. Some gardeners have had luck keeping foragers away by covering the stems with light mulch or leaves until the spring.
Is It a Deer your Hydrangeas?
The diet of deer, a nocturnal herbivore, consists of foliage, plants, fruits, and vegetables. These items naturally develop in the deer habitat and give the animals the food and energy they require.
Deer that frequent close-by cities may frequently stray into your property and eat your vegetation. Deer have access to great phosphorus sources in plants like hydrangeas. This crucial mineral is required for their development of robust bones and antlers.
Deer will eat both the flowers and the hydrangea shrub, although they prefer the latter. Deer enjoy young, soft-textured hydrangea plants. However, they will also consume mature hydrangea shrubs and blossoms.
Hydrangeas with deer bites are easily recognized. When eating, deer are not sensitive. They’ll remove significant portions of a hydrangea shrub. A deer frequently nibbles off all the leaves and flowers but keeps the stalks.
A deer will initially choose the vegetation that is at mouth level, which is around 3 feet (92 cm) from the ground. The deer will consume your hydrangea plant from the top down if it is smaller than this.
Deer don’t eat methodically, thus the damaged sections could be dispersed over the top or center of the hydrangea shrub. The plant’s base is mostly left alone, although occasionally deer may eat the hydrangea bark.
Do Deer Eat White Hydrangeas
Since they bloom frequently and frequently produce eye-catching white flowers, hydrangeas are probably the most fragile species.
They show up against the green foliage in a dramatic way, making them quite simple for roving deer to see. It’s more likely that this is the cause of white hydrangeas being nibbled on so frequently than the presence of anything in particular that draws deer to the plants.
Deer stay away from plants with potent odors like yucca and plants with thick, leathery leaves like wild herbs.
They avoid thorny plants like thistles if they can help it, although they have been known to consume roses and other thorny blossoms in a pinch. A hungry buck may overcome even plants with strong defenses (thorns, moderate toxicity, etc.).
It’s important to note that different regions have different wild deer feeding tendencies. In contrast to the deer in another area, certain populations may leave a particular species of hydrangea (oakleaf hydrangea) unattended year-round.
This makes it challenging to develop anti-foraging tactics that are effective for gardeners across the nation. Since the deer prefer entirely different vegetation, an approach that works in one place can be ineffective in another.
How can you tell if deer are eating your hydrangeas?
Hydrangea bushes provide food for many animals. However, every animal leaves behind a distinctive mark. You can determine whether deer are eating your hydrangeas by noticing these minute signs.
These plants are susceptible to considerable harm from bugs, although not right away. The effects of insects don’t show up for days or weeks. Additionally, because birds, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks are so little, the harm they create won’t be immediately apparent. There are a few lost leaves, blossoms, and buds here and there.
You’ll notice significant chunks of your hydrangeas are gone if deer are the culprits and not insects or other animals. It will appear that many inches of fresh growth will vanish. Flowerheads will either be completely removed or chewed in half. Huge leaf parts will frequently be missing, generally starting at the top.
There are certainly more areas of your yard where you will see deer indicators. Search for deer footprints in muddy or open areas. Be on the lookout for deer droppings. They are tiny pellets, roughly the size of marbles, and can look like goat or rabbit spit, although they typically come in considerably bigger clumps.
Another indicator of whether or not deer are consuming your hydrangeas can be found by looking at your other plants. Hostas, daylilies, and pansies are favorites of deer. Deer are likely to blame if you have any of these plants in your garden and they are also being eaten.
Will Hydrangeas Grow Back if Eaten by Deer?
Yes! Fortunately, hydrangeas are tough plants and will bounce back even if deer accidentally eat some of them. This is also true because the majority of deer just consume the tops of your favorite flowers. The general guideline in this situation would be to assess the flower buds’ health as soon as the deer damage has occurred.
In case you didn’t know, hydrangea buds frequently serve as a significant backup when deer feast on its leaves. You can anticipate the bushes to bloom once more if you discover the buds undamaged or with less damage after the deer attack.
We would want to reaffirm that fresh hydrangeas suffer substantially more deer damage than older ones. The simplest solution to this problem is to safeguard your brand-new hydrangeas by making the necessary equipment purchases. A strong fence would be one such piece of equipment and would act as the main and most effective deterrent for deer.
What are Deer Resistant Hydrangeas?
These hydrangeas are unique from other hydrangea varieties in a number of ways. Their blooms are smaller and more compact, and they don’t rise over the leaves.
Deer and rabbits, who consume leaves and flowers as food, are less likely to see them as a result. Deer are put off from even attempting to consume them by their terrible taste.
They are good options for gardeners who need to keep hungry animals away from their valuable plants.
Which insects eat hydrangeas?
Deer are a pleasant stroll around the park for hydrangea plants as opposed to insects. If given the chance, these tiny suckers will utterly demolish them.
Hydrangea leaves and blooms are consumed by aphids, mites, thrips, and chafers. Your hydrangea buds may at first appear to have little holes poked into them. You may occasionally see tiny bites on the leaves, especially when grasshoppers are around. If the damage is serious enough, the leaves will completely wither and become brown.
Additionally, snails and slugs like hydrangea plants. The fact that they move slowly is excellent news. The bad news is that they feed at night, making it challenging to witness them in action. Look for snail trails in any new growth on your hydrangeas. They could also create a few tiny holes in some blooms and foliage.
Insect pollinators are capable of causing a substantial amount of harm to hydrangeas. Typically, honeybees cause little serious harm. They may rip tiny holes in flowers. But not hydrangeas; generally tubular blooms with nectar that is difficult to access. However, leafcutter bees have been seen to rip semi-circular holes in the plant’s leaves.
Hydrangeas are drawn to butterflies, yet they may also be harmed by them. On these plants, they frequently deposit their eggs so that the caterpillars may eat them. The hydrangea can lose practically all of its leaves if there are enough caterpillars. They significantly impede the hydrangea’s ability to develop.
How To Protect Hydrangea From Deer
Preventing deer from wanting to enter your yard is the greatest approach to stop them from eating your hydrangeas. Making your yard as miserable for them as you can is the key. Make them uncomfortable or irritable so they won’t remain and eat. See my list of 14 simple methods to keep deer out of your garden.
You can try to prevent deer from eating particular plants if you don’t mind them strolling through your yard. Use strong, repulsive smells to deter them, such as Irish soap, spices, or extremely fragrant plants.
To keep the deer away from your hydrangeas, you might need to employ a variety of various deterrents.
Planting only specific hydrangea species that seem to be a little more deer-resistant than others is one tactic you may employ.
How to Plant Deer Resistant Hydrangeas
After the final frost in the early spring is the ideal time to plant them. To plant, create a hole that is 12 inches deep and 12 inches broad for each plant.
Garden soil from your garden and compost or manure should be used to fill in the holes, respectively.
Combine the two, then plant each shrub in its own hole some far from other hydrangeas or plants that draw deer.
After that, add more dirt to the hole and properly water each plant.
The easiest approach to care for them is to place them somewhere where hungry deer won’t touch them.
This requires planting far from locations where deer and rabbits congregate in order to achieve the greatest outcomes.
Which other animals eat hydrangeas?
Deer are most likely to blame if you go out to your garden one day and see that your hydrangeas are shrinking. But they are not just the domain of deer. Other animals can also prey on hydrangeas.
Additionally, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks like eating hydrangeas. These shrubs not only produce a lot of foliage, but they also contain multiple flowerheads that are loaded with nourishing nectar and pollen. These plants are also bushes, which allow tiny animals to hide inside them and avoid being eaten by predators.
You might not realize it, but birds can also do serious damage to your floral plants. Your hydrangeas are a favorite spot for sparrows, robins, and finches to land and rob them of their buds.
This may explain why your hydrangea plants never seem to blossom. Birds may also damage the woody undergrowth of your hydrangea plants because it makes excellent nest-building material.
Can hydrangeas recover from deer damage?
Your hydrangea plants are susceptible to serious damage by the local wildlife. And they have a very quick burst of destructive power. Your hydrangea plants may be completely devoured, save for a few inches, and you might not be able to stop them. Their general health will determine whether they survive.
Your hydrangeas might not be strong enough to resist deer damage if they were sickly to begin with. Scratch into the stem with your fingernail if there is sufficient stem protruding from the ground.
See any green there? If you do, keep looking after it. It may get better. Your hydrangeas are probably dead if you don’t see any green and no new shoots appear after many months.
Your hydrangeas should be alright if they were healthy before the deer ate them. These plants are extremely hardy. The quicker they can recuperate, the longer they have been in place. If the roots are sound and unbroken, your hydrangea plant should survive whether the deer nibble just a few inches or nearly all of it. Simply be patient and give them some space.
Your hydrangeas should return to normal in a season or two. Deer don’t always graze in the same way, though. To restructure your plants and keep them from becoming asymmetrical, you might need to undertake some trimming.
Can hydrangeas grow anywhere?
Hydrangeas cannot grow in all climates. This is so that the plant may grow, which needs lots of sunlight and well-drained soil. They are also unable to develop in cold areas.
This is due to hydrangeas’ love of sunlight. The shrub will stop developing and produce fewer flowers if they don’t get enough of it.
Because they thrive in acidic soil, hydrangeas are particularly adaptable to a variety of soil types. However, excessive acidity can result in leaf rolling and the early death of blossoms.
Helpful Tips To Know About Deer Eating Hydrangeas
When growing hydrangeas in places where wild deer are frequent, keep the following in mind:
There is no such thing as a hydrangea that can withstand deer. Every type of hydrangea has been seen being consumed by these creatures, and their tastes vary according on the population’s preferences and demands.
A little myth exists regarding wild deer and hydrangea consumption. If no other food sources are available, they will consume these plants, but the majority of the time, they will nibble and pull at the plants out of curiosity. A deer won’t devour a whole hydrangea plant unless they are really ravenous.
Deer are particularly drawn to early bloomers (spring hydrangeas), white hydrangeas, and hydrangeas that grow on old wood just since they are simpler to view and discover. Due to their rarity, late-blooming types and those that grow low and squat, like the bobo hydrangea, have a natural advantage.
Combining spicy components is a secure and wildlife-friendly technique to stop deer from foraging because deer have a strong aversion to strong scents. Foods like eggs, milk, and yogurt have very strong odors as they age and provide a significant risk to ruminants, which depend on their sharp sense of smell to evade predators.