Deer feed on over 700 species of plants, many found in gardens and home landscapes. Consuming up to 6 lbs. of food a day, deer can quickly destroy a garden or flower bed. Although deer will eat almost anything if hungry, some plants are less desirable than others.The common lilac is amongst plants that deer tend to avoid.
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The best know lilac is the common lilac (Syringa vulgari). This hardy, deciduous shrub grows 8 to 20 feet tall with a spread up to 20 feet. Fragrant white to purple flowers are framed by dark green, heart-shaped leaves.
Lilacs prefer full sun and well-drained, alkaline soil. Water 1 inch per week during dry and hot periods. Mulch and spring fertilization increase flower production. Diseased and distorted stems should be removed to encourage dead wood bloom. Remove flowers at the base as soon as color fades.
Choosing plants that deer dislike helps protect your garden and works well in combination with other known deterrent methods. Commercial deer deterrents sprayed on plants or around the garden perimeter emit a foul taste and odor that discourage dining deer. The best method of keeping deer from beloved plants is to erect an 8 foot fence at a 45 degree angle.
- Montana State University: Deer-resistant Ornamental Plants for Your Garden
- Fine Gardening: Lilacs: Syringa vulgaris 'Primrose'
- Birds and Blooms: How do I keep deer and rabbits out of my garden?
- Mississippi State University Extension Service: Discouraging Deer in the Garden
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Lilacs in New Hampshire
- Rutgers New Jersey Experiment Station: Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance
Susan Patterson is a health and gardening advocate. She is a Master Gardener, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and a Certified Health Coach with vast experience working with organic gardening and nutrition. Her passions include sustainable living, organic foods and functional fitness. Patterson has been writing and presenting on health and gardening topics for 10 years.