Do Deer Like Canna Lilies? (and How to Keep Your Garden SAFE)

As a nature lover and passionate deer enthusiast, I often get asked the question: do deer eat canna lilies? The answer is, fortunately, no. While deer may nibble on other garden plants, canna lilies are not their preferred choice due to their bitter taste. However, if you live in an area with high deer populations, it’s important to take precautions to protect your garden.

Canna lilies (Canna spp.) are not a preferred food for deer, as they tend to avoid this plant due to its bitter taste and tough texture. While deer may nibble on the leaves of other plants, they typically do not eat canna lilies. Canna lilies are known for their showy blooms and are popular in tropical and subtropical gardens. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, and are easy to grow in warm climates with full sun exposure.

Do Deer Eat Canna Lilies?

When it comes to deer and garden damage, it’s important to know which plants are susceptible to grazing and which ones deer tend to avoid. Canna lilies are not a common food source for deer, as they prefer other plants over it. This is good news for gardeners who love to grow canna lilies and want to keep their garden safe from deer damage.Canna lilies are known for their bitter taste and tough texture, which repels deer from eating them.

Although they may nibble on the leaves of other plants, they tend to avoid canna lilies because of their unique taste. However, if deer become desperate for food, they may still eat the leaves of canna lilies. This usually happens when there is not much vegetation left in their natural habitat, and they need to look for alternative food sources.

What Are Deer-Resistant Bulbs and Plants?

If you live in an area with high deer populations, it’s essential to choose plants that are deer-resistant. This means selecting plants that deer are less likely to feed on as they prefer other options.

Protecting your garden from deer damage is easier when you use deer-resistant plants. Deer-resistant plants are categorized based on how likely they are to be damaged by deer. This helps you choose plants that are less likely to be destroyed. By planting deer-resistant plants, you can keep your garden beautiful and thriving.

Types of Deer-Resistant Bulbs

If you’re looking for deer-resistant bulbs, there are many options to choose from. Two popular deer-resistant bulb types are calla lilies and cannas.

Calla Lilies

Growing calla lilies is a breeze, and the added benefit of deterring deer and rabbits from munching on them makes them an irresistible choice for any garden. These flowers have a distinct taste and feel, which negatively impacts their appeal to wildlife. Even if deer nibble on them early in the season, they’ll typically avoid them afterward. Calla lilies excel in both outdoor gardening and indoor potting, making them a versatile and appealing option for any plant lover.


Cannas are also deer-resistant bulbs that are not a preferred food source for deer. They are, in fact, at the bottom of deer’s list of palatable plants. Random bulb genera that deer avoid also include Oxalis and Cyclamen. Another great thing about cannas is that they’re easy to grow and come in a variety of colors and sizes. They can add a bold statement to any garden.

How to Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden

1. Fence Them Out

One of the most popular methods of keeping deer out of the garden is to put up a fence. The fence should be at least eight feet high to prevent jumping.

2. Scare Tactics

There are plenty of ways to spook a deer away from your garden. Motion activated sprinklers, noise machines, shiny objects, and even fake predators are all options.

3. Deer Deterrents and Repellents

If you live in an area with a lot of deer, you may find that they like to snack on your garden. There are many products you can buy to repel them, but some work better than others. Research has shown that the most effective deer repellents are the ones that scare them, instead of those that just make your plants taste or smell bad.

Deterring deer from entering your garden can be achieved by using natural methods, including human hair, soap, or pepper spray that can be produced at home. Alternatively, commercial deer repellents like Deer Away or Hinder can also be utilized, showing efficacy in approximately 50% of cases as observed by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

4. Designing a Deer-Resistant Landscape

To keep deer from destroying your garden, try creating a landscape that discourages them from browsing. Incorporating plants that deer typically avoid in your garden design can be helpful. One guide that can be useful in plant selection is Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance, which divides ornamental plants into four categories based on how often deer damage them: rarely, infrequently, occasionally, and regularly.

  • Rarely damaged plants include daffodils and alliums.
  • Seldom severely damaged plants include lavender and sage.
  • Occasionally severely damaged plants include daylilies and hostas.
  • Frequently severely damaged plants include roses and yews.

When selecting plants for your garden, you should consider choosing those that fall into the rarely or seldom severely damaged categories. You can also use fencing, netting, or other barriers to protect your garden from deer.

5. Netting and Covers

Netting or covers can be used to protect specific plants or areas of your garden. Make sure the netting is stretched tight and the covers are secure to prevent deer from finding a way in.

6. Bar Soap

It may sound strange, but hanging bars of soap around your garden can deter deer. The strong scent of the soap will make them think there is a human nearby and they will steer clear of the area.

7. Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency noises that deer find unpleasant. These can be effective at keeping deer away from your garden.

Types of Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer-resistant plants are a great way to keep your garden safe from deer damage. Here are some deer-resistant plant types that you can consider planting in your garden:


Several trees are classified as deer-resistant. These trees include American holly, bald cypress, and southern magnolia. Deer-resistant trees can help add shade and structure to your garden while also protecting it from deer damage.


If you’re looking to add some shrubs to your garden, there are also many deer-resistant options to choose from. Shrubs such as holly, boxwood, and butterfly bush are excellent choices for a deer-resistant garden. Not only do they add a lovely pop of color, but they also attract beneficial insects to your garden.


Perennials are a great way to add some color and texture to your garden. Fortunately, there are many deer-resistant perennial options to choose from. Some popular deer-resistant perennials include Black-eyed Susan, lavender, and rosemary.

These plants not only add beauty to your garden but also protect it from deer damage.In conclusion, canna lilies are not a preferred food source for deer. Gardeners can protect their garden from deer damage by choosing deer-resistant plants, such as calla lilies, cannas, and other deer-resistant bulbs and plants. Consider planting some deer-resistant trees, shrubs, and perennials to keep your garden safe from deer grazing habits.


What flowers won’t deer eat?

While deer are known for their love of foliage, there are certain plants that they tend to avoid due to their strong aroma. Flowers and herbs that give off a strong scent, such as daffodils and lavender, are considered unappetizing to deer and can be a good choice for gardens in areas with high deer populations.

Will canna indica deter deer?

If you are worried about deer getting into your garden, you might be hesitant to plant Canna indica, famous for its vibrant orange and red flowers. However, you can rest easy knowing that these lilies are good choices for gardens that are prone to deer intrusion. Still, keep an eye out for wriggling caterpillars, who can cause damage to the plant. In order to grow well, Canna indicas need to be in an area that gets a lot of sunlight and has soil that stays moist.

What’s consuming my calla lily?

If you notice your calla lilies are looking damaged or eaten, it’s possible that they are being targeted by pests. Some potential culprits could include insects such as fungus gnats or caterpillars, or even small rodents like mice or rabbits. Inspect the plants closely for signs of damage or evidence of the pest, and consider using natural or chemical solutions to protect your plants and prevent future attacks.


So, do deer eat canna lilies? The answer is that generally they don’t! These beautiful plants are relatively “safe” from deer munching due to their bitter taste and tough texture. That’s great news for gardeners who love to include canna lilies in their tropical and subtropical garden designs.

But for those who live in areas with plenty of deer populations, it’s always good to be cautious. Opt for deer-resistant plants and take extra precautions to keep your garden safe from hungry herbivores. With a little bit of planning and strategic planting, you can create a beautiful and thriving garden that doesn’t invite unwanted deer guests. Happy gardening!

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