Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas?

Marilyn writes:
Hi – I just saw your web site on Hydrangeas, and it is wonderful! Do you know if deer like hydrangeas? I have a terrible problem with deer eating everything I plant.

Thanks for your help.




Unfortunately, deer love young hydrangeas. They also like new leaves on older plants. However, the older plants usually survive the damage even if they don’t bloom that year. If you are having problems with newly planted hydrangeas, it might help to plant larger hydrangeas and protect them with wire cages the first few weeks they are in the ground. It seems to me that deer are most active in the spring, but others may challenge that idea.

On the other hand, deer can be pretty non-selective if they get hungry enough (as I’m sure you know). I worked for a garden center for years and heard all the stories about tricks people used to try to keep the deer from eating their plants. The only one I ever heard that really worked was an electric fence – a little too expensive for most of us.

Naomi, a visitor to my site, said that spraying Deer-Off had worked for her with hydrangeas. Sometimes these sprays work for a short time, and then the deer get used to it, and ignore it. So I don’t know if it was a permanent fix or just short term.



If someone could really invent a strong deer repellent, they would be wealthy.

A flower for all seasons

Please leave your comments if you’ve had experience repelling deer.


21 Responses to “Do Deer Eat Hydrangeas?”

  1. judith Says:

    Hey, I’ve got a remedy for deer eating our plants; in fact, its free but must be re-applied after every rain. Human urine. Its the only thing I’ve found to work. Invite the grandsons over to have a fun time; or keep a container in your bathroom with a lid and when full enough pour it around the perimeter of your garden/area that you wish to keep the deer away from. Remember to replenish it frequently. And no, you won’t smell it, but they will. Their sense of smell is far keener than yours.

    • hydrangeashoh Says:

      Thanks, Judith. This sounds like a good solution. Even though it might be difficult to keep this up all year, it could definitly be done during the spring when damage is especially bad. Those deer love the new growth! -Judith

  2. Susan Spreng Says:

    I have deer that like to eat my tulips as soon as they come up. They also like to eat from the bird feeders ih the winter. I just planted my Hydrangeas in my garden so I need to deer proof. I use strips about 1-2 inches wide of dryer sheets and clip them to sicks around the garden and I tie them to the bird feeders. Deer hate the smell almost as much as my husband does. It works to keep them away and they last for quite some time. Susan

  3. Sheila Ottey Says:

    Yup deer do eat hydrangeas !! I never had a problem before, but the past 2 weeks every morning when I go out, they have eaten another plant. I covered my plants with the black mesh.

  4. Judy Says:

    How many people out there have had success with human urine repelling deer eating hydrangea or any other plant? Would love to know as this seems economical. Does the uric acid in the urine hurt the plant at all?

    • hydrangeashoh Says:

      Interesting question. According to Judith below, it would be effective until it rained, which means it would have to be reapplied very often. People get tired of reapplications after awhile, but nothing lasts forever.

  5. Josh watkins Says:

    An ar-15 is a good deterrent.

  6. Bonnie Says:

    I use Zest soap bars. You can just put them on the ground, like around hostas, or hang them inside hair nets on a garden fence. They smell strong and the deer don’t like the smell. They last a long time, plus, when it rains, it only brings the smell out even stronger!

  7. anne Says:

    we have found an excellent solution although it must be diligently repeated after a rainfall
    1/4 C milk
    1 egg
    1 gallon water
    1 tablespoon of Canola oil (can be any oil)
    1 TBS liquid dishwashing liquid

    We keep this smelly, foul mixture in a spray canister and use it after every rainfall. It works and it’s not harmful to our animals. The smell fades after a few minutes.

  8. Jeff Says:

    The soap response is ideal for people who go to their summer homes over weekends but must return to their city lives midweek, so they cannot be there right after a rainfall. Are there any other treatments that would not require the continuous presence of the gardenders? Thanks. Jeff

    • hydrangeashoh Says:

      Jeff, I don’t know of an easy method. It is so difficult to keep deer out of gardens that I once knew of a large strawberry farm that had to fence off their entire farm with electric fences. Otherwise they would have been put out of business by the deer. The suggestions here are the only ones I’ve heard of before. Good luck. – Judith

  9. Luther J. Says:

    I have heard that human hair repells deer. Has anyone tried placing some around plants?

  10. genevieve nesbitt Says:

    try all three dryer sheets, human hair plusurine should do the trick-lost all my expensive lily plnts last year they even dug up the roots and ate them-good luck.

  11. bo Says:

    I can tell you human urine doesn’t work at all on my Hasta if anything it seems to attract them.

  12. Jim Gallucci Says:

    Liquid Fence to repel deer. As a professional
    Landscaper I find Liquid Fence stays on longer than Deer Off

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