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Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas?

Will Deer Eat Hydrangeas or Are Hydrangeas Deer Resistant?

A hydrangea is an easy to grow flowering shrub with large green leaves, short dense woody branches and large globes of colorful flowers.

These flowering shrubs can grow to a height of up to 15 feet tall and bloom during the spring and summer and sometimes into the fall.

If you are growing these beautiful dramatic flowering shrubs, then you want to enjoy their lovely blooms and sweet perfume as long as possible. This is why many people want to know if deer eat hydrangeas.

So, are hydrangeas deer resistant or do deer eat hydrangeas?

The short answers are no, hydrangeas are not deer resistant and, yes, deer will eat your hydrangeas if they are hungry and have no other food to eat.

Keep reading for more details, including tips on how to protect your hydrangeas from deer.

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About Hydrangea

There are over 75 species of hydrangeas and each species will add a dramatic touch to your yard or garden.

One of the reasons that these flowering shrubs are considered so dramatic is that they have the ability to change color. You can change the color of your hydrangeas depending on a variety of factors including PH balance of the soil, age of the plant and even the specific variety.

These plants grow best in US hardiness zones 3 through 7.

Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas?

Deer need to eat several pounds of food each and every day and they enjoy a varied diet of grasses, acorns, fruit, leafy plants, bark and flowers.

When it comes to hydrangea plants deer won’t seek them out, but they will snack on them if they happen to come across them. Many people think that deer will only eat the flowers and leaves of these plants. But the truth is that deer will eat every part of the plant if they are hungry enough and other food sources are in short supply.

This means that a hungry deer can wreak havoc on your hydrangeas if circumstances are right. So, it is only natural that you would want to find ways to protect your shrubs from a hungry deer.

How to Stop Deer from Eating Your Hydrangea Shrubs

If you are looking for ways to protect your shrubs from becoming deer feed, then one of the following tricks and tips may help.

Red Cat Eyes

Deer are prey to a large number of animals, which makes them extremely wary and easily spooked. Placing red cat eyes in two or three places in a hydrangea bush may be enough to frighten any deer away who come to munch on your flowering shrub.

Keep in mind that these cat eyes are designed to glow in the dark and deer tend to feed during dusk and dawn. However, these low light conditions are usually enough to spook deer and chase them away.

Motion Activated Sprinkler

Deer are animals that startle easily. Any sudden movement or noise can frighten them and send them running for safety.

That’s why motion activated sprinklers are quite effective at keeping deer away from your hydrangeas. Simply surround your shrub with these sprinklers and turn them away from the plant.

Sensors in the sprinklers detect any movement that comes close to your hydrangeas, causing the sprinklers releases a sudden burst of water. When the water hits the deer it panics them causing them to run. After a few tries the deer will learn to avoid the area.


If erected properly, fencing is one of the most effective ways to keep deer from your flowering plants.

Your fence needs to be made of sturdy wire with no gap larger than 6 inches by 6 inches. The bottom of the fence needs to be set underground and at least 8 feet tall with some extra wire at the top bent inward to discourage deer from jumping the fence.

The only negative to fencing is that wire fences are not exactly attractive and having one in the middle of your yard can be an eye sore.

Deer Netting

Deer netting is almost as effective as fencing at keeping deer away from your hydrangeas.

However, when using deer netting, you need to place the netting over and around your plant to keep the deer from jumping it.

Dog Smell

Deer have an incredible sense of smell and easily recognize the scent of predators including domestic dogs. A simple method for keeping deer away from your hydrangea plant is by spreading dog hair around the base of your bush.

Whenever you or a neighbor brushes their dog collect the hair and spread it around your shrub. When a deer approaches the plant, they smell dog and shy away from your hydrangea.

Best of all, because a deer has such a strong sense of smell, they won’t get too close to your plant.

Deer Repellent Spray

There are certain odors that deer find offensive and will shy away from. Some of these odors are made into spray on deer repellents that you can spray on or around your hydrangeas to keep the deer at bay.

The Internet actually has recipes for home made deer repellents or you can purchase an already-made repellent.

Keep in mind that you will have to reapply the deer repellent after a heavy dew or rain since the repellent can be washed away and no longer effective at keeping those deer at bay.

Can My Hydrangeas Grow Back If a Deer Does Eat Them?

The good news is that hydrangeas are pretty resilient plants. So, unless the deer has too severely damaged your shrub there is an excellent chance that your hydrangea will recover and once again bloom.

Keep in mind however, that since deer tend to return to areas where they have found food to graze on before that your beautiful flowering shrub may come under attack again.

Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas? Final Thoughts

If you are looking to protect your hydrangeas from becoming lunch or dinner for deer, then you need to take steps to protect your plants. Learning some methods of keeping deer away from your flowers can allow you to enjoy both your plants and your wildlife.

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