How We Keep Deer From Eating Our Bulbs


How We Keep Deer From Eating Our Bulbs at White Flower Farm transcript

Hello, I'm Jonathan, Assistant to the Head Gardener at White Flower Farm. While we love to see bees, butterflies and hummingbirds partaking of the bounty of our gardens, it is disheartening to see deer nibbling on our Tulips and Lilies. Here are a few ways we deter deer at White Flower Farm.

Our first option is to plant unappetizing bulbs, perennials or shrubs in and around the bulbs that deer love. Plant bulbs in the Amaryllis family, such as Narcissus, Galanthus and Leucojum, which contain lycorine, a poisonous, bitter substance that no mammal will eat.

Bulbs that have an unpleasant odor will also deter deer, such as Allium or Frittilaria.

Another option to ward off deer is to spray or hang deer repellent around and among the plantings. Repellents can be homemade or purchased. If you purchase a deer repellent, look for formulas that don't need to be reapplied frequently or after every rain, and are safe for your family and pets. Whichever repellent you do choose, keep in mind that after a couple of years the deer will become familiar with what you're using and will no longer be deterred, so it's a good idea change to a different recipe or brand every 2 to 3 years.

Another option is fencing. Note the fence needs to be sturdy enough so the deer can't knock it over or wiggle under it, and tall enough so they cannot jump over it.

The final option is to plant bulbs that deer do not find appetizing. In addition to the bulbs I've already mentioned, other beautiful, deer-resistant options include Camassia, Chionodoxa, Eranthus, Eremurus, ;Erythronium, Hyacinthus, Puschkinia, or Scilla.

For more information, please visit the gardening help section of our website.