Is Crocosmia Deer Resistant? What Can You Do To Protect The Plants?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 04/29/22 •  6 min read

Is Crocosmia Deer Resistant? What Can You Do To Protect The Plants? Crocosmia is a popular cottage garden plant that produces tall whippy growth and orange or yellow flowers in the summer. Crocosmia makes an excellent addition to any garden to add a little bit of height to a herbaceous border, however, if you are living in an area where there are lots of deer can you successfully grow Crocosmia without having too many problems?

Crocosmia do periodically get attacked by deer and are rated by the New Jersey agricultural experiment station website as being “seldom severely damaged”.  This means deer will eat the plant periodically, however, it is not an absolute favourite food but if you want to ensure that it does survive and flower in your garden on an ongoing basis you do need to provide it with some protection.

There are several strategies that you can employ however the only method that is 100% effective is to exclude deer from your garden entirely. To do this you’ll need to erect a deer-proof fence that typically will need to be approximately 8 ft tall.  

The height of the fence may seem excessive, however, academic research has shown that most deer can comfortably jump a fence that is 6 ft tall. To provide a deterrent to the deer from even attempting to jump an 8-ft fence is required. But for many locations erecting a fence of this size is either impractical or simply just too expensive.

The other alternative that you can implement is to design your garden to discourage the deer from entering your garden by strategically positioning deer repellent plants and those plants they generally do not like to eat in the outer part of the garden.

As a general rule deer do not like to eat plants that are toxic, fragrant, or prickly, however, this rule is not hard and fast and you too need to check the deer resistance of the individual plant. Ideally, these plants should be positioned in the outer parts of the garden to ensure that these are the things that the deer encounters first. 

These plants should be relatively tall as well as this will block the deer from seeing more appetising plants in the inner parts of the garden. Things like french lavenders and rosemary on a mound can often be tall enough to block their view.

Apart from the position of the plants the only other options are to either protect the plants individually with wires and mesh or use commercially available deer repellents, however, these deer repellents do vary in quality quite substantially depending on the nature of the product. They can generally be divided into two classes which are chemical and mechanical deer repellent systems.

Chemical Repellents

There are a lot of chemical repellents on the market which can be categorised as fear-inducing, pain-inducing or those products that affect the taste and smell of the plant. The most effective chemical repellents are fear-inducing products according to academic research.

The fear-inducing products are generally made from ingredients such as coyote urine, blood, or putrified egg. The petrified egg is effective because it emits smells that are similar to those produced by common predators.

However, despite these fear-inducing products being relatively effective, there are limits to their performance. Academic research has shown that these repellents are typically only effective for 10 to 12 weeks after which point the deer start to return to their normal feeding habits as they become accustomed to the smell of the repellents.

To reduce this effect we recommend that you use at least two different deer repellents and alternate them every 3 months or so to reduce the chances of them becoming ineffective. The two products that we recommend using a deer out and plantskydd which are both fear-inducing repellents made from different ingredients and therefore smell different.

Mechanical Deer Repellents

Like the chemical repellents, there is also a range of different deer mechanical systems which can be divided up into 3 major categories which are motion-activated sprinkler systems, ultrasonic devices, and things such as predator eyes.

Of these three types of repellent systems, the motion-activated sprinkler systems are the most effective, however, they are generally not as effective as chemical repellents and therefore need to be used sparingly to add to your deer defences but should not be relied upon as your sole form of protection.

As such we recommend that you use it in periods of the year which are particularly important for your garden such as when you have vegetable crops coming through or when there are buds and flowers you particularly want to protect. When using the devices it is a good idea to periodically move the position of the sprinklers and also turn them on and off turn ensure that the deer does not get too accustomed to their presence.

If you are considering purchasing a device the one we would recommend is the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer which has a 40 ft detection range and 120-degree viewing angle which means that a single sprinkler can cover a large area. To see the latest price click on Amazon the link above.

The second type of mechanical repellent system is ultrasonic devices and there are a large number of these on the market. However, academic research has consistently found that ultrasonic devices do not work very effectively against a range of animals including deer despite what many manufacturers may say.

We, therefore, do not recommend that you purchase a device of this nature as it does not appear to affect the behaviour of deer in any significant way,

The third type of device is predator eyes which have had very little academic research conducted on them. As such we have had to rely upon product reviews from people that have purchased these types of items. Generally, the reviews from customers have not been particularly favourable with many people being disappointed with the performance of these types of devices.

In some cases, customers have posted videos with reviews which show night vision of the deer feeding on their plants right next to where the device has been placed. These responses suggest that if these predators eyes are effective at all, they are not effective for very long and therefore we do not recommend that you purchase them.

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

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Paul Smart