Deer Proof Bulbs - Knowledgebase Question

Saranac Lake, NY
Question by samdona
July 19, 1998
We have way too many deer on our property, how can I know what bulb to purchase that won't be eaten by them?

Answer from NGA
July 19, 1998


Unfortunately, deer seem to consider bulbs to be the equivalent of deer candy. In my garden, they devour the summer blooming lilies and the spring blooming bulbs just as they open if not sooner. The exceptions I have noticed are that they do not usually eat my daffodils or the little chionodoxa. The deer don't seem to eat crocus, either, but it's hard to tell because the chipmunks eat them as soon as they open.

In very hard winters the deer have eaten our emerging daffodils, although this is rare and the daffodils are supposed to be poisonous. Daffodils are often recommended as "deer proof".

Deer in different areas of the country seem to have adapted and learned to eat different sorts of plants. This is why a plant listed as "deer don't like it" in one area may be eaten in another area. You might check with other gardeners in your area and see if they have had luck with any particular bulbs besides daffodils. I'm sorry I don't have a longer list for you.

You might also consider a fence or caging arrangement for your bulbs, and in fact for other plantings as well if the deer population is very high and they are in the habit of browsing in your yard. Good luck with your plans!

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