Will Deer Eat Lilies & Hostas?

Deer will eat just about any plant that is available to them, but they really do prefer some types of foliage over others. Both hostas (Hosta spp.) and lilies (Lilium spp.) Are bull favorites, and often damaged by their grazing habits. If you enjoy having these plants and their blooms in your garden, you are going to have to protect them with fencing to deter deer from snacking on them.

Shade-loving Hostas

You’ll find hostas in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, based upon the species. These herbaceous perennials have been known for their leaves, which come in a variety of colors, and showy, lily-like flowers. Hostas are used as ground cover or as an addition to boundaries. They grow well in rich soil and prosper in partial to full shade. Hostas with leaves need color than their counterparts that are yellow or green. With the exclusion of snails and slugs, hostas are free of pests, which makes them easy to watch over and plant plants.

Hostas: A Deer Buffet

While hostas are thought to be toxic to some animals, like dogs, cats and horses, they are not toxic to deer, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Deer love eating their large leaves, tender ones, especially the young. Hostas merely grow between 2 and 3 feet in height, so they are easy to protect with garden and fencing netting to deter deer. Install a few sprinklers close to the plants to harmlessly repel deer and keep your hostas moist and fine. You can even spray a little deer-repellent on the leaves of your hostas to dissuade them.

Colorful Lilies

Lilies of various species thrive in USDA zones 3 through 9, just like hostas, as these plants both used to be classified together from the Lily (Liliaceae) family. These bulbs grow best in full sun or shady locales and are known for their large, showy blossoms. Lilies can grow very tall, up to 8 feet based on the species of lily which you are dealing with. Lilies make excellent border plants and are deemed low-maintenance plants, although they can suffer with bulb corrosion, the mosaic virus — that is spread by aphids — botrytis and weak stems from growing from heavily-shaded or windy spots.

Lilies: A Smorgasbord for Deer

Like hostas, deer love munching according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. Plant them away from the fencing to discourage algae from nibbling on these tall plants and install fencing at least 8 feet in height to protect your lilies. Plant a few deer-resistant foliage, such as a few greenery with thorns, aromatic leaves or leaves with a tough, leathery feel, around your lilies, recommends the California Native Plant Society. Produce hedges around other exposed crops and your own forehead using foliage which deer don’t like to consume. Oleander (Nerium oleander), by way of instance, is resistant since it’s toxic and grows up to 8 feet tall. You’ll find oleander in USDA zones 8 through 10.

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