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Do Deer Eat Verbena? (Quick Answers)

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As you might have heard, no plant is safe from the chews of a deer. If you have a garden and deer are hovering around it, you might want to protect it. So let’s stick with us to figure out if deer will eat verbena or not.

Do deer eat verbena?

Deer do not eat verbenas as they are not fond of the taste, texture, and aroma of the plant. Yet, if they are starving and food sources are scarce, deer would eat the verbena plant. The hard stems and hairy leaves of the plant do not attract deer. The taste of the plant is also sharp for deer.

Walk through this section to explore if deer can eat the following types of verbena –

Verbena bonariensis:

Verbena bonariensis is a popular one among the species and its tall and vibrant appearance is a good reason to make it so. 

Deer do not like to eat verbena bonariensis, particularly because of its hard and tall stems. A deer would most likely come back to plants that have thick and succulent stems to chew on. 

Unlike some other verbenas, bonariensis is a hardy plant in particular zones, making them stand intact and resist deer invasions. 

Lemon verbena:

Lemon verbena has one of the most aromatic foliage and would scent up a garden with its strong fragrance. 

This is good news for people who are looking to plant in areas where the deer population is high. Deer do not go near plants that are so aromatic and hence do not make a meal out of the verbena. 

Other than that, lemon verbena also has quite a sharp and pungent taste, both of which are traits that deer do not look for in food. 

Annual verbena:

Annual verbenas can bless your garden with long blooming flowers that are both greatly resistant to high temperatures and weather conditions. 

Although deer are not fond of the sharp taste and smaller leaves, they might still eat the plant if they are too hungry and there is little to eat.

 However, the fragrance from a blooming flower could deter them from other food sources, if there are any. 

Rose verbena:

A deer would not eat rose verbena because of the hairy and hardy stems they produce. Not only that, the flowers of a rose verbena are incredibly fragrant, both of which repel a deer more than anything. 

Do deer eat verbena plants and flowers?

If there is a shortage of food sources, particularly during the pre-winter season when they need nutrition, a deer might eat verbena plants and flowers

Generally, deer seldom eat the plant since they do not like the sharp and pungent taste of the plant. The flowers are aromatic for which deer are repelled from the smell. 

Moreover, the bushy texture of the leaves and hard stems are also reasons good enough for deer to avoid the plant. 

Do deer like to eat verbena? 

If you notice a herd of deer being attracted to certain plants and eating out of them more often than other plants, it is because they like the texture of the plant. Sharp and fuzzy food like the verbena plant is not a deer’s favorite

Likewise, deer are not fond of verbena and do not like to eat the plant. However, they would eat verbena when their food source is scarce and they cannot find much to eat. 

The rough texture of verbena plants is not what deer want in their mouth. Hence it is often said that if a deer is eating a verbena plant, it must be starving. 

Is verbena bonariensis deer resistant? 

In an official study by Rutgers University, Verbena falls in the category of “Seldom Severely Damaged” in the context of deer eating the plant. The list has 3 other categories, only one of which implies “rarely damaged”. 

This means that deer might not be as attracted to eating and destroying a verbena plant but there is still a fair chance that the animal would make a meal out of verbena if they are hungry and like the texture of the flower. 

Verbena Bonariensis is considered to be deer resistant because this species is not a deer’s first choice of food. Thanks to the hardy stems that are difficult to chew on and flowers that have a strong smell, deer would hardly eat this type. 

Moreover, the clustered appearance of the lilac verbena bonariensis flowers may be too bushy for deer to eat. The pear-shaped leaves on the other hand are hairy and rough, again a taste that does not favor a deer’s palate. 

What makes verbena deer resistant? 

A verbena plant is never a deer’s first choice and the animal would mostly avoid eating a verbena plant. Here are some features of the verbena plant that makes it a deer resistant annual: 

Deer do not like Verbena stems:

A deer is always on the lookout for plants that have a thick yet tender stem. 

A deer would often go for the stem first, and if the item is not of desired texture, the deer would deter away from the plant. 

Although each type of verbena is different, most have tall, thin and hard stems. 

Moreover, some of the stems, like that of verbena bonariensis, are widely branched, clumpy, and somewhat wired. This is distasteful to deer for which they choose not to have the plant. 

Deers love smooth texture:

If anything, a deer would love anything smooth in texture. 

The plant should not feel rough on the mouth and hairy on the tongue. Fortunately, the verbena plant has hairy flowers, as well as leaves. 

Since they grow in clusters, the flowers also feel bushy to deer which they avoid. 

Deer are deterred from the smell:

If the foliage of a plant can be smelt from a distance, the plant is likely going to be deer resistant. 

Likewise, verbenas, particularly lemon and rose verbena are two of the most aromatic plants that repel deer from a distance. 

Verbenas have a sharp taste:

Last but not the least, deer do not like the taste of a verbena plant for which they are said to be deer resistant. 

The taste of the plant is said to be sharp and pungent, repelling gangs of deer looking to eat the plant. 

How to keep deer away from verbena? 

There are several ways in which you can keep deer away from your verbena plants. Here are a few ways to deter the animal: 

Fence the garden:

If there are grazing animals around the area you have planted your garden, and wish to protect your verbenas, there is no better option than fencing the area. 

You may want to build or have fences that are tall enough for deer to not jump over the barrier. To be assured that deer would not be able to leap, have fences that are strong and at least 6 feet tall. 

Deer won’t come near humans:

If a deer understands that there is a human presence around the verbena plants, it would not come near the area. 

For that, you can keep a bell or object that makes a noise every time a deer or other animal comes near the fence. A container of water making the slightest noise helps to deter deer as well. 

Use of natural repellents:

As mentioned before, deer do not like aromatic places. Whether it is the strong smell of citrus or peppermint, you could always have a safe and natural spray to keep the area aromatic. 

Deer particularly dislikes the smell of mint or citrus but any other strong fragrance helps equally. Planting plants like garlic or ginger around the verbena would mean that the deer would be deterred by the smell from afar. 

Will verbena come back after deer eat them? 

Whether a verbena would come back after a deer eats them would depend on factors like how much it has been damaged. Other than that, post damage care would also bring a damaged verbena back.

If a verbena is slightly damaged, and it does not go through further damage due to other animals or events like wind or storm, the plant is most likely to come back gradually. 

Moreover, if there is slight damage and it receives an adequate amount of water and sunlight in the coming days, the plant would recover eventually. 

It is also a wise practice to trim off any damaged part of a plant and make sure to protect the plant properly. 

Final Thoughts 

Deer only eat verbena plants and flowers if they do not have anything else to eat. Since a verbena plant is not poisonous, a deer can eat the plant without harm, if they can overcome the sharp taste and texture of the plant. Building a fence or using natural smelling deterrents keeps deer away.

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