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Do Deer Eat Gardenias? (All You Need to Know)

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Deer are known for munching on a long list of greeneries, therefore, it’s absolutely unsure exactly which flowering plants make the deer’s favorite meal.

So, if you live in an area where deer frequently invade the garden to eat flowering plants, while growing gardenias you might want to know whether deer are going to eat gardenias as well or not. Thus, read the explanations ahead to learn the facts. 

Do Deer Eat Gardenias?

Gardenias don’t make the favorite meal options for deer to feast on, as deer don’t prefer the pungent scent or the taste of gardenias on a usual note. However, deer have a natural penchant for eating any flowering plant they see, especially when they are hungry deer can eat gardenias as well. 

Generally, deer do not tend to eat gardenias as much as they eat their other preferred flowering plants. It is because gardenias don’t fall in the list of all those palatable flowering plants that deer like to eat as their meal on a daily basis.

Gardenias are flowering plants with a very pungent fragrance that deer do not prefer, besides the taste of gardenias is not appealing or much tasty to deer, thereby, deer most of the time avoid eating gardenias in the first place.

However, the taste or scent of gardenias does not make them absolutely deer-resistant. Deer will eat gardenias whenever they will get the opportunity to eat them, especially if there are particular adverse environmental situations where deer are facing shortage of food.

Moreover, deer eat almost any plant to meet their hunger, therefore, it can be another reason why deer may eat gardenias.

Sometimes, even if gardenias are not their favorite flowering plant to eat, to meet their penchant for munching on literally any flowering plant deer will taste gardenias now or in the future.

Bambies are more prone to eat gardenias because they like to explore and get a taste of every plant they spot around. 

Anyway, dwarf gardenias aka gardenia shrubs are more popular among people and gardeners due to their small size. So, whether deer would be eating them or not has been explained below. 

Dwarf Gardenias/Gardenia Shrubs:

It doesn’t matter whether it is a dwarf gardenia plant or a gardenia shrub, gardenias will never attract deer to eat them as much as other favorite plants of deer.

And the reason is the same as above that deer don’t prefer the taste and scent of dwarf gardenias/gardenia shrubs too.

But it doesn’t change the fact that no plant is 100% deer resistant, thereby, deer will make dwarf gardenias/gardenia shrubs their meal. However, feasting on gardenia shrubs may not be as frequent as on other plants.

Do Deer Like To Eat Gardenias?

Naturally, deer do not like gardenias as one of their favorite flowering plants to munch on because gardenias are very fragrant flowers with a strong zesty fragrance which is not liked by the deer.

As a result, even if deer invade a garden to feast on plants, most of the time they avoid gardenias and leave them unharmed.

But there is hardly any plant that deer fully don’t like, as deer are seen to eat and damage almost any plant around them when they are famished enough.

Thus, it can be said that gardenias aren’t even fully disliked by deer and upon getting a chance to taste gardenias, deer can damage or even terminate the entire gardenia plant while eating.

Are All Gardenias Deer Resistant?

Gardenias are known to be a deer-resistant plant for all these times which is a fact though because to a good extent gardenia plants are seen to deter deer from eating or damaging them.

And hearing gardenias to deter deer, many of you may think that perhaps all the gardenias are equally effective in deterring deer. But know that it is absolutely not true, all the varieties of gardenias are not equally or fully deer-resistant.

In fact, there is no such type of gardenia that can be called a fully deer-resistant gardenia plant. So, this simply means that not all gardenias are deer-resistant, there are even some gardenias that deer may eat with pleasure if the situation goes against their favor. 

Also learn that two types of gardenias are considered somewhat a fully deer resistant gardenia type and these two gardenia types include- August Beauty and Frostproof gardenias. 

4 Reasons Why Deer Does Eat Gardenias

Gardenias certainly are not a deer’s favorite meal, but in some particular situations, deer do eat gardenias. Below such 4 primary reasons have been illustrated in detail to let you understand the reasons.

The habit of Tasting Everything:

It is well known that deer have a penchant for tasting any plant they see around them even if it doesn’t make a tasty meal for them.

And this habit of tasting everything makes the first evident reason why deer eat gardenias even though gardenias’ strong smell and taste aren’t appealing. Bambies are more prone to return to eat them while exploring different tastes.

They Are Hungry:

Deer have a large appetite, thus, they tend to keep chewing on any plant they see and it makes another reason why deer eat gardenias too despite not liking them much. 

In a really hungry state, deer don’t go looking for their favorite meal, rather they eat whatever they see in the first place. So, while raiding a garden deer will surely eat gardenias if they don’t find any other palatable plant to eat. 

Shortage of Food:

A shortage of usual and tasty food sources is the third reason that makes deer to live on by eating gardenias.

Nature always isn’t favorable so if a natural disaster has happened, the climate is adverse, or there’s a droughty summer, freezing cold winter, or a flood, naturally there aren’t many sources of palatable food.

In such unfavorable situations, deer have no options other than eating gardenias upon finding them. 


In an overpopulated area of deer, tasty food options are hard to find, in fact, sometimes there is no regular food option at all. At such a time, having any plant as their meal is fine for deer, so they can eat gardenias too to keep on surviving.

Do Texas Deer Eat Gardenias?

There is not any clear clarification over whether Texas deer eat gardenias or not. However, by seeing the probability of eating gardenias of other species of deer, it can be assumed that Texas deer also possibly don’t like to eat gardenias in the first place. 

And the reason is simple, if other species of deer aren’t preferring to eat gardenias due to their pungent fragrance and taste, there is very little to no chance that Texas deer will like to eat gardenias.

But depending on the situation, Texas deer may eat gardenias as well just like other species of deer. 

Do Deer Eat These Parts of Gardenias?

Sometimes deer only eat one or two specific parts of a plant. Thereby, you may want to know which part of gardenias like the leaves, flowers, or the entire plant is more preferred by deer as meal. Below, this query has been explained in detail. 

Gardenia Plant:

Gardenias are deer-resistant to a quite good extent, thus, if deer get other tasty plants to eat, most of the time deer tend to leave gardenia plants alone while raiding a garden. So, deer seldom would eat an entire gardenia plant.

But as no plants are fully immune from deer, therefore, according to the situation deer are facing, they actually can uproot, damage, or eat an entire gardenia plant sometimes. 

Gardenia Flower:

Since gardenia flowers are highly aromatic flowers, deer most times avoid eating or going near them because they don’t like too aromatic flowers as their meal.

However, while browsing for food, these hungry deer can even eat such aromatic flowers without having a second thought. 

Gardenia Leaves:

Just like the gardenia plant and flowers, gardenia leaves are also less appealing to deer, thus, deer aren’t likely to eat gardenia leaves as much as other plants’ leaves.

But again it’s needless to mention that hunger and environmental conditions can make deer feast on gardenia leaves too.

What animal is eating my gardenia?

Herbivore animals are less likely to eat gardenias, except for deer, rabbits are the other animals that might eat gardenias sometimes.

However, a large number of insects and pests feast on gardenias most frequently, below a list of the gardenia eater insects and pests added for your knowledge.

  • Scales
  • Aphids
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Spider Mites
  • Flower Thrips
  • Caterpillars
  • Black Vine Weevils
  • Fuller Rose Beetles 
  • Whiteflies 

Final Thoughts

Deer do eat gardenias, not on a regular basis as a usual meal but sometimes when they are facing a scarcity of food sources and hungry. Most times, gardenias do not attract deer as a tasty meal, so deer avoid eating or damaging them often like other flowering plants.

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