Do Deer Eat Irises? Deer Resistant Perennials

There are a lot of questions that people have about deer, and one of the most common ones is whether or not they eat the plants in our gardens. While deer will eat just about anything, they generally prefer to eat leaves, fruits, and nuts.

But are irises on the menu for deer? In this article, we’ll take a look at what deer like to eat and whether or not they’ll nibble on your irises.

Do Deer Eat Irises?

Deer dislike irises because of their taste and texture. Irises are tough and have a bitter taste, so deer will usually avoid them. However, if there is nothing else to eat, deer may nibble on the leaves or flowers of an iris plant.

It’s also worth noting that deer can trample and damage iris plants, even if they don’t eat them. You see, deer have a habit of rubbing their antlers on trees and bushes, and this can damage the iris plants. If you have deer in your area, it’s best to take steps to protect your irises.

How to Protect Irises from Deer?

There are a few things you can do to keep deer away from your irises. Let’s take a look:

1. Remove sources of food

Deer wander around in search of food, so if you remove the food sources from your garden, they’ll be less likely to visit. Be sure to clean up any fallen fruit or nuts and trim back any overhanging branches.

You should also consider getting rid of any other plants that deer like to eat. This will make your garden less attractive to them and reduce the chances of them coming in and nibbling on your irises.

Finally, don’t forget to keep your garbage cans tightly closed. Deer will rummage through garbage in search of food, so if you make it difficult for them to access, they’ll be less likely to visit your garden.

2. Fencing

The best way to keep deer out of your garden is to build a fence. A solid fence that’s at least six feet tall will deter most deer from entering. You can also add an electric wire to the top of the fence to make it even more effective.

If you don’t want to build a fence, you can try using netting or chicken wire. I like this netting from Amazon as it’s easy to set up and affordable. Plus, if you do decide to remove it later, it won’t be much of a hassle.

3. Deer Repellents

There are a few different deer repellents on the market that you can use to keep deer away from your garden. I personally like using Bobbex repellent, which is extremely effective and long-lasting.

You can also make your own deer repellent at home using ingredients like garlic, chili peppers, or soap. Simply mix these ingredients together and spray them on the leaves of your plants. The strong smell will deter deer from coming near.

4. Hanging Baskets

You can plant your irises in hanging baskets and keep them out of reach of deer. This is a great solution if you have a small garden or if you live in an area with a lot of deer. Plus, hanging baskets add another dynamic to your garden and can make it look even more beautiful.

Just be sure to water the plants regularly as they’ll dry out faster in a hanging basket. You may also need to fertilize them more often to ensure they get the nutrients they need.

5. Sprinklers

Deer don’t like being wet and will avoid areas where they could get sprayed by water. So, one way to keep them away from your irises is to install a sprinkler system. When the deer come near, the sprinklers will turn on and scare them off.

You can also try using motion-activated sprinklers. These are great as they’ll only turn on when there’s something nearby, so you won’t have to worry about wasting water. The randomness will scare away the deer, while also keeping your plants well-watered.

Can Irises Be Used as Deer-Resistant Fencing?

Yes, irises can be used as deer-resistant fencing. Irises have a strong, unpleasant smell that deer don’t like. So, if you plant them around the perimeter of your garden, they’ll help to keep deer out.

However, irises aren’t the strongest plant and can be easily damaged by deer. So, if you live in an area with a lot of deer, it’s best to use them as part of a fence rather than relying on them alone.

Boxwoods are my favorite deer-resistant plant. They’re strong and have a sharp, prickly texture that deer don’t like. Plus, they make an excellent evergreen hedge that will look great in your garden.


In conclusion, irises are not on the menu for deer. Deer will avoid eating them because of their strong smell. However, they can still damage the plants if they rub up against them or accidentally step on them.

You can use irises as part of a deer-resistant fence to keep them out of your garden. But if you really want to guard your garden, the best solution is to build a fence. You can also use deer repellents or motion-activated sprinklers to deter them.

Do you have any tips for keeping deer away from irises? Let us know in the comments below!

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