Heucheras forum: Deer Resistant ? Not really ...

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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 6, 2013 11:20 AM CST
Hello ...

I started my first heucheras last fall and am somewhat new to this forum. I tend to do a lot of research about deer resistance for plants I hope to put in the front yard ... that's deer territory. I checked many sites and nurseries and all of them said that heuchs were deer resistant. Well, my deer don't read.

Thank God, I planted them in containers before I put them in their permanent spots. The deer ate them down to nubs in one night. Using Deer Fence on them kind of spoiled the look of the foliage and the foliage is why I wanted to plant them.

I relocated them to the back yard where they are safe from critters, but where I have very little shade. In my climate, I have very hot and dry summers and living at a higher elevation more intense sunlight, so the back yard is not ideal from what I have read. So far, they made it through a week-long heat spell of triple digits and I only lost one of them to the heat.

Are there any heucheras that are truly deer resistant ? I have more shade in the front yard.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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NJBob
Jul 6, 2013 10:05 PM CST

Moderator

I have not seen that any are more deer resistant then others. Even deer resistant plants are not deer proof unless they are poisonous like Hellebore. You could try planting them in the container with the Heuchera. Another choice could be granular deer repellent by plantskydd
http://www.plantskydd.com/omri.html
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 7, 2013 11:27 PM CST
Thank you for the information.

I had hoped the nurseries selling the plants were right because I want to put things out in what I call "deer territory" that I really don't have to spend much time caring for because I spend most of my gardening time in the back yard where I don't have to worry about deer. I had envisioned this incredible foliage bed when I first fell in love with heucheras. Dang ... looks like I need another plan.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Jul 8, 2013 10:18 AM CST
Don't give up. When I first moved into my new house I did the same thing with these plants because they said deer resistant. They ate them down. After I started planting more plants they did not not like and I made some deer scram. (Garlic, hot pepper sauce,. As you garden and you wipe perspiration with a handkerchief lay it in the garden) they cannot stand the smell of humans. Rolling on the floor laughing They started leaving them alone. They walk and smell and graze they smell your perspiration and they will keep walking.

Deer have to be trained. If they stop getting use to not going in that area they do not seem to go back at least for awhile. Nothing is deer proof if they are hungry they will eat anything.

They love roses after making it an area that they did not like I even have roses in that garden they just go to another area of the yard to eat something else. I have 3 acres and am constantly fighting saving my plants in one area or another from the critters.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 8, 2013 10:40 PM CST
Thank you ever so much for the encouragement.

I live in an old gold mining town in the mountains of northern California. The town is a wide spot on the highway, but we have what I call "town deer". These deer have been born and raised in town and have no fear of humans or human scent. I tried every method I could find and many products, both home made and purchased to discourage the deer from eating the roses Mrs. J planted in the top tier of the two terrace beds in the front yard and I think the deer just laughed. (One night I saw a deer tip toe through a rosemary bed to get to the roses.) Mrs. J. used to go out and cover the plants with chicken wire cages every night.

I finally gave up and widened the bed and put up deer fencing because the roses she planted are no longer in commerce and had probably been there for about 40 to 50 years and I just couldn't give them up. It actually looks pretty good, but I still have to paint the posts.

All of my roses are in the back yard and I have managed to fence off all of the access points, so that's where I play. My new long-term plan to allow me to indulge in collecting heucheras is to clear out Mrs. J's shade garden in the back and make it into a heuchera shade garden. I just have to do the work and find the plants that can handle intense dry heat. There are three species native to my county, so I know it's possible.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Carolyn Madden
Pennsylvania
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Carolyn22
Jul 10, 2013 5:37 PM CST
I have not tried any of these products - but wondering of Coyote or Bobcat urine would work as a deterrent?

http://www.predatorpee.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY...

I have not tried anything like this, but I know the deer can be upsetting.

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 10, 2013 7:11 PM CST
Thanks for the suggestion. I may not have tried that specific product, but the deer fencing I've got in place now for the roses out in front is all I need and all I want out there. There are plenty of plants I can find that are not deer candy. I just haven't been working in that part of the garden yet this year and planting season is over until fall due to high summer temps.

I do have one fenced bed out there where I can use some heucheras. I planted a shrub rose there and it turns out that morning and early afternoon sun wasn't enough to satisfy its need for light, so I've pegged so that it is getting more light and therefore more foliage. However, that leaves plenty of room to plant some heucheras where they can get some shade and possibly thrive.

Please ignore the weeds ... I've been working in back and haven't done much out in front so far this season, but here's a photo of the bed I think will work:Thumb of 2013-07-11/RoseBlush1/b5c75d

After I weed it, I am just going to dump a bag of compost on top of the soil and let it decompose this summer and winter and will plant it next spring.

If anyone has any suggestions of heucheras that can handle high summer temps in a low humidity climate, I would love some suggestions. I know I can't get them locally, but I don't need them until next spring.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Carolyn Madden
Pennsylvania
Charter ATP Member The WITWIT Badge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Daylilies
Bulbs Purslane Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Clematis Cat Lover
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Carolyn22
Jul 11, 2013 4:02 PM CST
Very nice Lyn. How much sunlight do you get in that area? I know there are some that can take more light than others, but I also know my sun is not as strong as yours.

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 11, 2013 5:11 PM CST
Hi Carolyn ..........

Yes, the light at a higher elevation is more intense. It's hard to explain, but just watching plants, you can almost see that they respond differently.

During the summer, that bed gets sunlight until around 2pm. Clearly the rose needed more light. Since I pegged it towards the light, it has put out a lot more foliage and is even putting on new growth at the base of the plant because it is being fed by photosynthesis. Fertilizers, compost, mulch can only do so much. The plant has to perform its own function of producing food for it to thrive.

All of the new growth on the rose is growing straight up to reach the light, so I will continue pegging it and will probably end up with a decent shrub on that side of the bed.

So learning from the rose, the bed has had at least 6 hours of sunlight ... the house faces southeast ... but it still did not thrive. It's very possible that the light did not reach the base of the rose for all of that time. I am thinking plants needing less sunlight will do OK. Since the base of the bed already looks dark, I would think I need to stay away from the dark leaved heuchs to create a better impact.

I removed a lot of bergenias from the front of that bed this spring. There is a Margo Koster rose under where the CH cane is leafing out. I had previously left it uncaged hoping the deer would eat it to a nub. I hate the color, but it might just look good with CH burgandy blooms growing through it. In case you don't know the rose 'Margo Koster', it is a polyantha with kind cantaloupe colored blooms. In nine years, the deer haven't managed to kill that rose for me. Smiling Of course, it's probably been there for 50 years.

I am currently growing 'Autumn Leaves', 'Silver Scrolls' and 'Amethyst Mist' on the house pad level with AM getting the most direct sun. All three made it through our last week of triple digit temps.

Smiles,
Lyn

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
[Last edited by RoseBlush1 - Jul 11, 2013 5:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Christine
Southeastern MN (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Heucheras I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 2 I sent a postcard to Randy! Keeps Horses
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Christine27360
Jul 16, 2013 12:41 PM CST
I have autumn leaves in morning sun and doing great -- morning till 2pm. Maybe it will like afternoon sun too?? Shrug! Shrug!

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."
2 Corinthians 9:6
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 16, 2013 3:15 PM CST
Thank you for the suggestion.

Autumn Leaves is doing just fine in the dry heat in filtered shade, so I know it can handle my climate. It came through winter like a champ and we had a foot of snow stay on the ground for about a month, which is very, very unusual for my elevation. Of course, snow is an insulator, so I'll have see how they fair when the top growth doesn't have that kind of protection.

Even tho' my winter night temps are always below freezing, my soil doesn't freeze because the day temps are always above freezing. A winter without deep snow cover will impact the top growth more.

The lineage information in the patent doesn't give enough information to let me know what other plants with similar lineage might work. Dang ! It's always something.

I love contrasting foliage and that's why I am drawn to heucheras.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Carolyn Madden
Pennsylvania
Charter ATP Member The WITWIT Badge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Daylilies
Bulbs Purslane Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder Clematis Cat Lover
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Carolyn22
Jul 16, 2013 6:14 PM CST
I like the contrasting foliage too Lyn.

I just bought Sweet Tea - I have been coveting that one from afar for a long time. Autumn Leaves is on my covet list too.....
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Jul 16, 2013 7:49 PM CST
It looks like an interesting plant. According to the patent it has only been tested to low temps of an average of 32 degrees. I wonder about its winter hardiness.

I have what I think must be a species heuch on the far side of the house. I've just walked by it and never watered it or anything and it has never died. I saw a gopher mound next to it today, so I think I'll dig it up tomorrow morning and move it.

There are three species heuchs native to this part of California, so if the plant survived with no care, it may fall into that category. Smiling I didn't even know what it was or I think I would have been more careful about taking care of it.

Smiles,
Lyn
I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.

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