Do Deer Eat Nasturtiums? How To Protect Them

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 01/20/22 •  7 min read

Do Deer Eat Nasturtiums? Nasturtiums are a popular annual that produces masses of green growth and flowers in a range of colours. They are a useful plant as they can smoother large areas of the garden preventing weeds from growing. However, if you live in a deer prone area can nasturtiums be grown successfully without being eaten?

Nasturtiums are considered moderately deer resistant according to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station which rate them as “seldom severely damaged”. This this means that while the plant is not the deers’ favorite it can still be eaten and does require some protection.

This is apparent from the forum of which shows that some people have had the experienced where deer do not touch the plant while others have seen their entire plant eaten. Whether a deer eats the nasturtium is likely to be related to a number of factors which would include the size of the deer population the availability of other food sources and what protections have been put in place to stop the deer from entering the garden in the first place,

What Can You Do To Protect Your Plants From Deer?

There are many different methods that can be used to protect your plants from deer however the only one that I know of that is 100% effective is exclusion of the deer from your garden. This can be achieved by erecting a fence that is approximately 8 ft tall.

The size of the fence maybe considered excessive however academic studies have shown that deer can easily clear a 6-ft fence. At 7 ft many dear will still attempt to jump over the fence however at 8 ft the fence is sufficiently high to deter the animals from even attempting to jump over it. To read more about this click here.

However, for many people erecting an 8ft of fence around the property is either impractical or too expensive as such there are many other methods that can be used, however, the reality is that they are less effective than fencing your property.

The other methods that can be used to discourage deer is to plant things that they do not like to eat at the outer edges of your garden. Doing this will discourage the deer from entering your garden in the first place.

As a general rule deer do not like plants that are highly fragrant, poisonous, or thorny. However, it is advisable to always double-check the status of these types of plants as this is only a guide. The plants that I generally recommend are things like rosemary lavender and other fragrant herbs as they are rarely eaten by deer.

Lavender and rosemary are particularly useful because they are relatively tall plants which not only help to repel the deer but help in preventing deer from seeing other things in your garden that they may find more attractive to eat.

In addition to this, it is advisable also to plant those things that are most attractive to the deer close to your house as your mere presence will discourage them from spending time in that part of the garden, at least during the daytime.

These measures will reduce damage however many people also use deer repellent systems to try and keep the animals out of their garden. However, not all of these systems are effective. So which ones work and which one’s don’t?

Deer Repellents

There are a large amount of deer repellent systems that are available commercially. These systems can be divided up into either chemical repellents or mechanical repellents. 

Chemical Repellents

There is a range of chemical repellent formulas out on the market currently. They can generally be divided up into fear-inducing formula, or taste and smell formula. According to the academic studies that have been carried out on a range of different products the fear-inducing products are a lot more effective.

These products are based upon things like coyote urine, blood, and putrified egg. Putrified egg is effective because it mimics the smell of many common predators. These systems trick the deer into thinking that there is a predator nearby and discourage them from hanging around your garden.

However, are academic research has shown that even the most effective systems only last between 10 and 12 weeks. After this period the deer population becomes acclimatized to the smell and begins to feed on the foliage again.

To use these systems effectively we recommend using more than one repellent throughout the year and alternating the deer repellents prevents them from becoming used to the smell. The two products that we recommend Deer Out and Plantskydd because both of these formulas are fear-inducing and are based on different ingredients which means that they will smell different. To read more about these studies click here.

Mechanical Deer Repellents

There are three major types of mechanical dear repellents that are available commercially motion-activated sprinklers, ultrasonic devices, and Predators’ eyes which are devices that mimic the appearance of predator eyes at night.

Of these systems, the most effective is the motion-activated sprinklers. However, they are generally not as effective as chemical repellents and therefore should be used sparingly within your garden.

To ensure that they remain effective it is important to vary the position that they are placed in the garden and also turn them on and off at different times of the year so that the animals do not become acclimatized to them.

If you are interested in purchasing one the one we would recommend is the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer which has a 40 ft detection range and 120 degree view. To see the latest price  on Amazon click here.

The other types of device which is commonly used are ultrasonic devices. There has been a wide number of studies conducted on the effectiveness of ultrasonic devices on deer and other pests such as rodents. The research has indicated that the devices are ineffectual and do not affect the behavior of the target animals in any significant way. As such we do not recommend that you purchase a device of this nature as it will simply not work.

The third type of mechanical device which is commonly used is Predator’s eyes. I have not been able to find any academic research on the performance of these particular systems however when looking at the reviews and information on the performance of this devices by those that have purchased them the feedback is generally not good.

Most people have been disappointed with the performance of the devices with some people even posting night vision videos showing deer eating plants in the yard right next to these devices. As such I would not recommend that you purchase this type of device.

 I hope you found this blog article useful and have great success with your nasturtiums. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the section below.

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Paul Smart