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Do Deer Eat Irises? (Quick Answers)

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Irises are the most beautiful flower ornamental plants in the garden. It has a beautiful design and a sharp fragrance, making the garden more attractive and giving much pleasure to the garden owner.

If you love to add colorful flower plants to your garden, you should consider growing some irises.

They will not disappoint you in resisting wild animals through the strong fragrance. It might be an excellent pleasant to you, but the wild animals don’t like the irises’ taste and smell.

Do deer eat irises?

The deer don’t eat the irises because of the taste and smell of these ornamental plants. If you have any concerns regarding the iris’ deer-resistant feature, you can offer some iris flowers to your pet deer or other wild animals. They will not eat them and leave these flowers.

Here is the list of different irises with distinct features and characteristics. You should know if they are deer-resistant or not. It will be easier to grow them if they are deer-proof. Otherwise, you need to use the deer-repellent sprayer.

So, it’s your job to know these irises if you can deter the deer like the regular irises through the taste and smell.

Siberian irises:

Since the Siberian irises are deer-resistant, you can plant them in your garden. Deer don’t eat Siberian irises because of their bitter taste and the strong fragrance.

If you have Siberian irises and want to plant them, you should grow them in the middle of the garden to spread the smell in the air.

Bearded irises:

Deer cannot eat the bearded irises because of their unpleasant taste. If you grow the bearded irises in your garden, it will become an excellent deer-proof plant that will deter the deer through its smell and taste.

So, you can indeed plant the bearded irises as the deer-resistant plants.

African irises:

African irises are also deer-resistant plants, so the deer cannot eat the African irises because of their taste and smell.

The taste is unpleasant to most deer, which makes this tree deer-resistant. You can add this plant to your deer-resistant list.

Dutch irises:

Since it is also a deer-resistant plant, deer don’t eat the Dutch irises. You can plant these in the middle and let the smell spread in the air.

Another reason is the taste; since deer dislike the dutch iris taste, they will avoid eating these plants willingly.

Dwarf irises:

If you plan to grow spring-friendly flowers, you should plant dwarf irises. They are deer-resistant, and the deer don’t eat the dwarf irises.

You can plant them at that time and expect them to bloom properly. They will not become the meal or attraction for your pet deer.

Japanese irises:

Since the Japanese irises also contain the same smell and taste, deer don’t eat the Japanese irises.

You can put the fence around the Japanese irises to make it deer-proof. It will become a new deer-resistant plant in your garden.

Do deer eat purple irises?

Deer do not eat purple irises. The toxicity of the purple iris is the primary factor that causes deer to avoid it. Another reason deer will prevent it is that they like plants with a flavor that is more pleasing to their palate.

Because of this, they choose not to consume purple iris because the flowers do not have a pleasant flavor.

Last but not least, this one might seem a little strange, but deer will avoid plants with a pungent odor. They steer clear of them for the same reason that the vast majority of people are drawn to them!

The purple iris is an excellent example of a plant that not only has a foul flavor but also emits a potent odor, making it unappealing to deer since they cannot stand the smell of it.

Do deer eat these parts of irises?

Deer will not eat any of the following parts of irises:

Iris flowers:

Deer firmly adheres to plants with strong odors, including fragrant plants like iris.

Even though the smell of these well-known flowers is one of the main reasons that so many people adore them, deer aren’t interested in eating them. How’s this for a win-win situation?

Iris leaves:

In general, the leaves of an iris plant have the shape of a sword and are pretty long and narrow.

Another factor contributing to why deer won’t eat iris leaves is their preference for those with a more pleasant flavor. Irises don’t have a nice flavor, which is why deer, in general, don’t consume them.

Iris trees:

Toxicity is the primary factor determining whether deer will avoid a plant. If a plant is toxic, deer won’t eat it since they don’t want to get sick.

Irises with bearded flowers are one of the “stinky” plants that deer are most likely to avoid.

3 reasons why deer will not eat iris

You will mostly find these three reasons why deer will not eat iris.


Toxic properties are the primary factor determining whether deer will avoid a plant. If a plant is toxic, deer won’t eat it since they don’t want to get sick.

Bad Flavor:

Deer also avoid the lack of an appetizing flavor; they favor plants with a more desirable flavor profile. Irises don’t have a pleasant flavor, which is why people don’t consume them.


Last but not least, and this one might seem a little strange; deer will avoid plants that have a pungent odor. They steer clear of them for the same reason that makes iris flowers appealing to you.

Are iris deer resistant?

Iris is deer resistant. Many plants that deer won’t consume for specific reasons; either because these plants have a poor taste or are toxic to deer, we refer to them as “deer resistant.”

Irises have a flavor that deer do not enjoy so they will stay away from them.

These flowers contain a lovely fragrance with which deer is not that comfortable.

How to keep deer away from irises?

You can follow some tips and deter or keep away from irises. Let’s get them all.


A fence surrounding the garden is the most efficient method for preventing damage caused by deer.

A fence designed to keep deer out of your yard should go at least partially underground, have no gaps larger than six by 6 inches, and not have any openings through which deer could squeeze or crawl under the fence.

If you don’t enclose the entire garden, they will find a way to get over the fence. Additionally, the height of a fence should be at least 8 feet.


Garden netting is the same material used to keep birds away from edible plants so that you may drape it over shrubs and small trees.

A temporary fence can also be constructed around a garden section by using netting and metal stakes.

If your garden is at least 8 feet tall, installing deer netting in black, also known as “invisible netting,” will not obstruct your view of the garden but will keep deer away.

Double fencing is an option to consider if you don’t want your fence to be quite as high but still need to keep deer out of a certain region.

Shiny elements can be attached to nets in the same way that pie pans are hung from trees and bushes to frighten away animals.


Whistles and wind chimes are both effective noise deterrents that you can use to keep deer away. Deer are easily startled. In addition to this, they steer clear of electric wires because of the buzzing sound they produce.


Sprays that can be made at home to protect plants from being eaten by deer include a mixture of rotten eggs and water, soap spray, and hot pepper spray. Commercially available repellent sprays come in a wide variety as well.

Some individuals go so far as to try to entice deer away from their gardens and flowerbeds by growing the deer’s preferred meals in a remote part of the property that is far away from those areas.

What animal eats iris flowers?

There are a few animals that like eating iris. These animals are drawn to the iris plants in the garden because of the scent.

They enjoy eating various plant components, and their preferences determine which part of the flower they choose. The animal who eats iris flowers are:

  • Voles
  • Crickets
  • Rabbits
  • Moths
  • Squirrels
  • Moles
  • Caterpillars
  • Whiteflies
  • Snails
  • Aphides
  • Slugs
  • Moth Larvae
  • Spider Mites

Final Thoughts

Since the irises contain a strong smell and an unfavorable taste, deer cannot eat the iris plants and flowers. They are entirely deer-resistant plants in the garden. You can make them deer-proof by putting the fence and planting other deer-proof plants like mint, ginger, and onion.

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