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Do Deer and Rabbits Eat Azaleas? (Quick Answers)

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Azaleas are native to northern America. They are deciduous and grow in zone 6 to 10. The blooming period of azaleas ranges from February to September. Azaleas brighten up your garden, but they are also prey to animals. 

Scroll down to know more about azaleas if you want to plant them.

Do deer eat azaleas?

Deer eat azaleas. Deer will nibble on azaleas whenever they get the chance. However, azaleas are not on top of their priority list. In some seasons, you will see more munching than in other seasons. You should take preventative steps; otherwise, a deer flock is enough to eat all your azaleas.

Deer are herbivores and need to consume about 6-8 pounds of food every day. The number of deer is increasing with the limited supply of food. So, the deer-eating azalea is a typical scene around the state.

Azaleas are easy to grow. They love morning sun or part shade, and they are in the proper height for a deer to eat. As azaleas are long-lasting, they make excellent food for deer. 

Let’s see what deer eat about the different parts of azalea.

Azalea plants:

Yes, deer love to eat azalea plants. The azalea foliage is at the right height for deer to eat. You will see more destruction in winter than you will see in spring.

If you do not deter deer, they will eat up all azalea plants.

Azalea bushes:

Most of the azaleas are deciduous. Deer will eat azalea bushes. The azalea bushes provide essential nutrients that deer require while roaming.

Azalea flowers:

Azalea flowers are vibrant and attract a lot of attention. They brighten up your backyard and look amazing in the sun. Deer do love to eat azalea flowers.

Azalea flowers are an essential food source for deer.

Are these azaleas deer resistant?

There are various types of azaleas. The plants have their own characteristics, so let’s see if they are attracted to the different types.

Encore azaleas:

Encore azaleas do not really attract deer that much. They have a distinct aroma, and deer do not like it. However, in dire situations, deer will eat Encore azaleas.

Native azaleas:

Native azaleas are not deer resistant. This tree is not a common scene, but deer eat them whenever they find it.

Deciduous azaleas:

Deciduous azaleas are not deer resistant. Deer will eat the buds and stems of deciduous azaleas. Deer will eat deciduous azaleas more than other species.

Evergreen azaleas:

Evergreen azaleas are not deer resistant. Deer will frequently damage your Evergreen azaleas.

Gumpo azaleas:

Gumpo azaleas are considered deer resistant, but they only hold up when deer are less aggressive.

Exbury azaleas:

Exbury azaleas are somewhat deer resistant. Even though exbury azaleas are not on top of their priority list, they will eat it when they get the chance.

Which azaleas are deer resistant?

  • Encore azaleas
  • Swamp azalea
  • Florida azalea
  • Oconee azalea
  • Red Hills azalea
  • Cumberland azalea
  • Dwarf azalea
  • Plumleaf azalea
  • Golden light azalea
  • Double delight azalea
  • Deciduous azaleas
  • Fireball azalea
  • Sweet azalea      
  • May-white azalea
  • Gumpo azaleas

Do rabbits eat azaleas?

Rabbits eat azaleas in their early stage. Rabbits do not like the older and tougher azalea plants. But azaleas are highly poisonous to rabbits. Azaleas will harm rabbits. If you see your rabbits showing symptoms of asthma and vomiting, immediately contact a veterinarian.

Azaleas belong to the genus rhododendron. So, for this, they are referred to as being poisonous. Rhododendrons are toxic and not safe for animals. However, the plants are different and do not possess the same poisonous characteristics.

Azaleas are good rabbit-resistant plants. Wild rabbits know what to avoid because their life depends on it. But house rabbits may chew on the azaleas unknowingly, which may cause some damage.

Azalea plants:

Rabbits do not eat azalea plants. Rabbits cannot naturally reach the height of azalea plants. That will be too much of a hassle for them, whereas they can find more accessible alternatives.

Azalea bushes:

Rabbits avoid azalea bushes. The bushes have a spicy and sweet scent that rabbits are not fans of. Apart from the smell, rabbits do not like the plant in general because it causes sickness.

Azalea flowers:

Azalea flowers are toxic to rabbits. Wild rabbits will avoid all the parts of azalea plants, but house rabbits are not the brightest. They may eat azalea flowers out of curiosity.

Azalea plants and bushes are not safe for your rabbits. So, it would be best if you shift your azalea plant to a place away from the reach of rabbits.

Are azaleas poisonous for deer and rabbits?

Azaleas are often considered toxic by many. Various research shows that these plants possess harmful chemicals that negatively impact human health. However, the negative ties to this plant could be overrated.

The bees that feed on this plant have high concentrations of toxin levels in the honey they produce. The honey is called“mad honey,” which worsens the health of whoever consumes it.

Azaleas keep their leaves throughout the year, so animals are naturally attracted to them. The amount of toxin ingested from this plant determines the harmful effects it will have on animals.

Deer are much more giant in size compared to rabbits. So, deer are not affected much by the toxins of azaleas as much as it affects rabbits. Rabbits should be kept away from this plant.

How do you keep deer from eating your azaleas?

Deer will eat anything if they are in the mood. Tackling deer is a tricky job. You can follow these methods to protect your precious azaleas.


Fencing is by far the best solution for stopping deer from entering your garden. Deer are known as good jumpers, so you have to make the fencing tall.

Any fencing material will do the work. Deer can jump up to half of a foot. So, make the fence up to 8 inches tall.

Keep your azaleas away from the proximity of deer. Deer will be less discouraged to munch on azalea.

Dalen Deer X Protective Netting for Gardens and Landscapes - 7′ x 100′ - Strong and Durable 3/4″ Polypropylene Mesh with UV Inhibitors

Alarm system:

Deer are cautious animals, so they get frightened to the tiniest of movements. You can install alarm systems that will fend off deer effortlessly.

A watchdog could do the work, or you can install alarms and sirens that will trigger upon movements. If deer get scared many times, they will avoid coming to your backyard.

You should ensure that your dog does not get too involved with wild animals. They often move in a flock that will outnumber your pet.

Solar Sound & Light Alarm Motion Sensor 110 Decibels Siren Sound Alert & 6LEDs Flash Warning Strobe Security Alarm System for Farm Villa

Scented soaps:

Deer have a strong sense of smell. They do not like anything that gives off a pungent smell. Scented soaps work great in combatting deer from damaging your backyard.

Pick a soap that has a strong smell. One or two soaps will do. You can cut the soaps into pieces and hang them from the tree.

You can use a grater and grate the soap. Spread the residues around your azaleas. This will protect azaleas from mammal pests.

Deer repellant:

You can find many deer repellants in your nearby store. Commercial repellants work great on deterring deer and other animals. But the chemicals used in them are often questioned whether they are safe for plants or not.

Commercial deer repellants could be expensive. Plus, you might have difficulty adapting to the smell. You can settle for less costly natural deer repellants.

Deer do not like the smell of rotten eggs and garlic. They give off an offensive odor, and they are bearable to humans.

Attach or keep the rotten eggs or garlic at a nose height on azaleas. The first thing deer will smell is their pungent smell, and they will go away.

Bobbex Deer Repellent Ready-to-Use Deer Deterrent Spray (32 oz.) B550110

Deer resistant trees:

Deer-resistant plants offer some resistance and protect your azaleas. African lily, Mint, Rosemary, Foxglove, and Sage provide an excellent barrier that stops deer from entering your backyard.

Plant the deer-resistant trees in such a structure that the trees are the first thing that deer face. This will demotivate deer from moving any deeper.

So, check your local guides. Deer will eat any tree if the weather is terrible, and food is unavailable.

Final thoughts

Azaleas do contain some toxic properties that cause a number of complications. Ingesting large amounts of azalea plants could be fatal. Deer usually avoid azaleas, and they consume in low, harmless quantities. Keep rabbits and other pets away from azaleas for their safety.

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