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Are Hosta Plants Deer Resistant?

By Melissa Lewis
Hostas can suffer severe damage from deer.
Hosta image by Michele Maakestad from Fotolia.com

Many homeowners have problems with deer feasting on their beloved gardens. Planting deer-resistant plants is a way to discourage the animal from your garden. Hostas, unfortunately, not deer resistant. In fact, hostas are often plagued by deer. Don’t fret though; many other plants are deer resistant, though there are a couple other ways to help deter deer from your hosta garden.

About Hostas

Hostas are shade-loving perennials that are extremely cold hardy, with some varieties hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zone 3. They are typically grown for their foliage, which can be bright green or variegated with white edging, for example. They are relatively easy plants to grow, making them a favorite among many gardeners.

Where to Plant

You can plant hostas in areas that receive less than four hours of sunlight per day; however, they will fare better if they have dappled sunlight throughout the day or a couple hours of direct sunlight in the morning. Plant in the center of your garden or near an area with deer-resistant plants to help discourage deer from entering the garden in the first place.

Deer-resistant Plants

Hostas may not be deer resistant, but many other plants are. In general, plants that are bitter, spicy, milky, sappy, hairy, though, thorny or tough, are unpalatable to deer. Examples include boxwood, thyme, rose-of-sharon, columbine, snakeroot, bleeding heart, foxglove, daffodil, rhubarb, buttercup and yucca.

Other Deer Deterrents

Exclude deer from your property with a fence. A permanent 8-foot-high fence built on a slight angle works well, as does a temporary electric fence that trains deer not approach your yard. Other ways to keep the deer out of your garden bed is to let your dogs outdoors. Even if you keep them on a leash or in the confines of an invisible fence, their presence will help keep the deer away. Put their food and water on opposite sides of the garden to keep the dogs moving. Use deer repellents, which may be available at your garden store and are often made from rotten eggs or cayenne pepper. You could also try sprinkling cayenne pepper around your hosta bed and on the leaves to help repel deer.


About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.