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Do Deer Eat Phlox? (Read This First!)

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Native to North America, Phlox are vibrant ground-covering flowering plants that are mostly popular among people who want to cover their garden’s ground with colorful waves of flowers. 

Thus, while living in an area with frequent deer raids, if you are growing these colorful Phlox in your garden, certainly you will care enough to know whether deer are going to eat Phlox or not.

So, let us go through the explanations ahead to know the facts regarding this query.

Do Deer Eat Phlox?

Normally, deer don’t eat Phlox to a great extent because deer have a very strong smelling sense of picking up strong fragrant flowering plants, thus, they don’t prefer to eat Phlox due to its fragrance. However, if there is a scarcity of food, deer can eat almost any flowering plant including Phlox.

There are 67 species of this Phlox and hence, so many Phlox varieties, you may want to know which Phlox species are more likely to be eaten or not eaten by deer. 

Thereby, some of the very popular Phlox species such as – 

Phlox Paniculata aka Garden Phlox or Tall Phlox, Phlox Divaricata or Woodland Phlox, Phlox Subulata/Creeping Phlox/Ground Phlox, Moon Phlox, and Hardy Phlox are shortly described below so that you can have some detailed ideas. 

Phlox Paniculata/Garden Phlox/Tall Phlox: 

Phlox Paniculata aka Garden Phlox is tall Phlox plants with vibrant flowers and the flower heads have a very sweet and heady fragrance. 

Due to the fragrant Phlox flower heads, many plant-selling stores and websites claim that Garden Phlox/Tall Phlox are deer-resistant. 

But it’s not true, Garden Phlox/Tall Phlox are not fully deer-resistant, many garden owners stated that they have seen deer eat and damage their Phlox Paniculata/Garden Phlox/Tall Phlox.

Phlox Divaricata/Woodland Phlox: 

Phlox Divaricata, also called Woodland Phlox is a Phlox variety with showy aromatic flowers. It’s one of the Phlox varieties that garden owners, websites, and plant shops have claimed to be deer-resistant. 

Hence, it’s deer-resistant; deer aren’t like to eat Phlox Divaricata. 

Phlox Subulata/Creeping Phlox/Ground Phlox: 

Phlox Subulata which is better known as creeping Phlox, Ground Phlox, or thrift is most widely known to be another deer-resistant Phlox variety that deer don’t eat usually. 

However, some home gardeners stated that from their personal experience, Phlox subulata isn’t 100% deer-resistant. Deer can eat them when there is an adverse environment. 

Moon Phlox: 

Moon Phlox is actually Phlox Divaricata which is also known by several different t names such as the Blue Moon Woodland Phlox, Wild Sweet William, Blue Phlox, Blue Woodland Phlox, Louisiana Phlox, etc. 

Even though it’s actually Phlox Divaricata/Woodland Phlox, it’s called moon Phlox because of its rich violet-blue flowers. And this Moon Phlox is a deer-resistant variety of Phlox, thus, deer don’t eat it. 

Hardy Phlox: 

Hardy Phlox is the exact same variety of Phlox with another different name as the Phlox Paniculata/Garden Phlox/Tall Phlox/Summer Phlox. So it simply means that Hardy Phlox are also not fully deer-resistant, thus, deer may eat them sometimes.

Will Deer Eat Phlox Plants?

Usually, deer are most likely to avoid any species of the Phlox plant as their regular meals, which simply means deer will not eat Phlox

Among a total of 67 Phlox varieties, nearly all varieties of Phlox quite successfully deter deer from eating them or damaging them. 

Deer avoid eating Phlox mainly because Phlox produces strong aromatic flowers and deer naturally absolutely don’t prefer any plant with a strong fragrance as their meal. 

Besides, Phlox plants have slightly woody stems that are covered with quite prickly and needle-like leaves with long, fluffy, matted hairs and a wooly texture that deer very much avoid in any plants. Thus, it makes another reason why deer don’t like to eat Phlox plants. 

Also, Phlox are sap-filled and deer dislike sap-filled plants so they avoid eating Phlox. However, depending on the environmental situation, sometimes deer might eat Phlox plants. 

Do Deer Eat Phlox Flowers?

Deer do not eat Phlox flowers of any species among all 67 Phlox flower varieties because the blossoms produced by Phlox plants are strongly aromatic flowers, and deer are much sensitive to any flowers with a pungent fragrance. 

Thereby, Phlox flowers are generally averted by deer as their meal due to the strong fragrance. 

But know the fact that even though deer avoid eating Phlox flowers usually, it doesn’t really make Phlox flowers 100% deer-resistant. There are some varieties of Phlox flowers such as Phlox Paniculata that deer may eat during a crisis of food scarcity. 

4 Reasons Why Deer Eat Phlox?

Despite being pretty hard deer-resistant plants, deer still do eat Phlox occasionally. Here the main 4 reasons that occasionally compel deer to eat Phlox have been listed and described below. 

Unfavorable Environmental Condition: 

The surrounding environment isn’t always favorable for deer in an area, as sometimes the weather can be too hot to bring drought or too cold to frost plants. Sometimes, floods can happen too. 

Thus, in such unfavorable environmental conditions, it’s very hard to find usual/palatable food sources. Therefore, with having no other options, deer might be eating Phlox plants as an alternative meal to survive in that unfavorable condition. 

Penchant For Tasting Anything: 

While raiding a garden to search for food, deer have a natural penchant for eating plants they spot even if it doesn’t go well with their appetite and taste for food. 

Due to such a propensity to taste any flowering plants, deer occasionally can eat Phlox plants out of curiosity regardless of the variety. Young deer have this tendency to taste anything more as they explore different tastes. 

Their Large Appetite: 

Needless to mention that deer prefer chewing on plants almost all the time in a day to keep themselves full. Thereby, without searching for a palatable meal, deer sometimes can eat Phlox plants in a hungry state to satisfy their large appetite.

Scarcity of Sources of Food: 

In an area, sources of food aren’t always abundant, especially when the number of deer is increasing day by day. 

So, it’s very obvious that there is a scarcity of regular sources of food because an increasing number of deer will be eating all the plants that make regular meals for deer. Thereby, without having any more sources of regular food, deer will be eating Phlox upon spotting them.

Are Any Phlox Deer-Resistant?

Almost all varieties of the Phlox plants are deer-resistant but the most commonly known deer-resistant Phlox plants are the Creeping Phlox aka Phlox Subulata or Ground Phlox, Sand Phlox, Moss Phlox, Woodland Phlox aka Phlox Divaricata, and Blue Moon Woodland Phlox. 

Phlox Paniculata, which is also called Garden Phlox/Tall Phlox, is quite deer-resistant. 

How Do You Keep Deer From Eating Phlox?

It becomes a necessity to keep deer away from eating your Phlox plants when deer are frequently raiding the garden and occasionally eating Phlox. Below 5 beneficial methods to deter deer from your garden have been explained to help you in saving your Phlox plants. 

Plant Deer-Resistant Plants: 

To stop deer from eating Phlox, plant more deer-resistant plants around or in between the Phlox plants to discourage deer more effectively. Fuzzy or hairy fuzzy textured plants such as- lamb’s ear, poppies, lady’s mantle, Siberian bugloss, etc. 

Prickly foliage such as Cardoon, sea hollies, and bear’s breeches, and heavily aromatic herb plants such as sage, oregano, thyme, and other plants like catmint, dill, lavender, Russian sage, etc. are some of the deer-resistant plants options.

You can plant them around or between Phlox plants. 

Installing Stockade Fence:

Installing a stockade fence is a true way of making your garden deer-proof and safeguarding Phlox plants. Deer barely jump over a fence unless they spot plants inside a garden, thus, stockade fences around your garden’s perimeter will work better than anything else. 

Install 6 feet or a little taller stockade fence around your garden and keep deer away. 

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Use Deer Repellents: 

You will find tons of effective commercial deer repellents in the market such as Deer Out 32oz Concentrate Deer Repellent, Bobbex Deer Repellent, Liquid Fence Deer and Rabbit Repellent, and others. 

Homemade and natural DIY deer repellents also work effectively. You can make a mixture of hot pepper, garlic, and water, then spray it onto the Phlox plants. The spicy pungent smell will keep deer away from Phlox. 

I Must Garden Deer Repellent: Mint Scent Deer Spray for Gardens & Plants – Natural Ingredients – 32oz Ready to Use

Scare Deer Away: 

Deer get scared pretty easily, you can take advantage of it and make noise to scare them away from your garden. You can use wind chimes or empty tin cans in the garden that will make sounds or keep a radio on to scare them. 

Installing a motion detector water sprinkler will work greatly too as it would sprinkle water on deer upon detecting their footsteps. 

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Final Thoughts 

Usually, deer will not feast on Phlox because they dislike its strong fragrance. Also, Phlox plants have hairy textured prickly leaves, and such features in plants are disliked by deer too, so deer barely will eat Phlox. However, adverse situations and hunger can provoke deer to eat Phlox sometimes.

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