Do Deer Eat Elephant Ear Plants? (Create a Deer-Resistant Garden)

I have always been fascinated by deer and their feeding habits. As a nature lover, I have often wondered if there are certain plants that deer avoid eating. One such plant that has piqued my curiosity is the elephant ear plant. So, do deer eat elephant ears? Let’s find out!

Do Deer Eat Elephant Ears?

Elephant ears, also known as Colocasia esculenta, are not known to be a part of deer’s diet. Many customers have reported that when they plant elephant ears in a frequently trafficked deer area, the deer tend to change their path and avoid the area where the elephant ears are planted. However, the reason behind this behavior is still unknown. More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of elephant ears in deterring deer from certain areas.

Understanding Elephant Ear Plants

If you’re a plant lover, it’s likely that you’ve seen or heard of elephant ear plants before. These plants are known for their striking, large leaves that resemble elephant ears. They are relatively easy to maintain, and many people love growing them as they add a bold and tropical touch to any garden. However, a common concern for those growing elephant ear plants is whether or not they attract deer.

Characteristics of Elephant Ear Plants

Elephant ear plants are not only beautiful, but they’re also known for their size and unique shape. They are technically classified as herbaceous perennials and are part of the Araceae family. These plants grow from rhizomes and can be propagated by separating the clumps or divisions of the rhizomes. One striking characteristic of elephant ear plants is that they are toxic to both humans and animals, especially when ingested in large quantities. This may be one reason why deer tend to stay away from them.

Feeding Habits of Deer and Other Animals

Deer are known for their affinity for leafy green plants. However, they also have a varied diet that includes fruits, nuts, and other vegetation. The specifics of their feeding habits may vary depending on the season, as well as the availability of food in their habitat. While elephant ear plants are not typically part of their diet, there are many other plants that deer will graze on if given the chance.

Deer Resistance of Elephant Ears

One surprising fact about elephant ear plants is that they are resistant to deer. This could be because of their toxic nature or perhaps it’s simply because deer don’t find them appetizing. Whatever the case may be, planting elephant ear plants in or around your property could potentially deter deer from coming too close.

Protection Strategies for Elephant Ears

While elephant ear plants are already resistant to deer, it’s important to note that there may be other animals that could pose a threat to your plants. For instance, rabbits are known to eat the foliage of many plants, including elephant ear plants. To ensure the protection of your plants, you may want to consider erecting a specific cordon or fencing around them.

Here are the best methods to deer-proof your garden:

1. Fencing

Deer are majestic creatures, but you don’t want them in your garden! Construct a fence that’s at least 8 feet high, made from heavy-duty material such as metal or plastic. You can also add a slanted top or double fence to deter them from jumping over. Remember to bury the fence at least 8-12 inches into the ground to prevent them from digging under it.

2. Use Deer-Resistant Plants

If you can’t beat them, plant things they don’t like. Deer tend to avoid plants with strong scents or prickly textures, so opt for fuzzy lamb’s ear, spiky yucca, fragrant lavender, and Russian sage. But keep in mind that no plant is completely deer-proof, so plant a mix of vegetables, herbs, and flowers to minimize their interest.

3. Motion-Activated Sprinklers or Lights

Motion-activated sprinklers or lights can startle deer and make them run for the hills! It’ll teach them to stay away from your garden. Sprinklers release a burst of water when it senses movement, while lights can make it harder for them to navigate around your garden.

4. Deer Repellent Sprays

Deer repellent sprays are an excellent option for the chemically-averse gardener. They use a combination of ingredients, including garlic, hot pepper, and eggs, to create an unpleasant taste and scent that will keep the deer away. But remember to reapply after rainfall to ensure it remains effective.

5. Hang Reflective Objects

Want to add some pizzazz to your garden while keeping deer out? Hang shiny objects such as CDs or aluminum foil strips. The reflection of light off these shiny items can confuse deer and keep them from coming towards your garden.

6. Physical Barriers

Protect individual plants or small garden areas by creating physical barriers, such as cages made from chicken wire or heavy plastic netting. Row covers are also effective in protecting sprouts and young plants from being eaten by deer.

7. Sound Deterrents

Deer have a keen sense of hearing, and certain sounds can frighten them away. Wind chimes or ultrasonic devices emit sounds that can deter deer from coming near your garden.

8. Smell Deterrents

Deer’s sensitive noses can be put to use! Human hair, soap, and rotten eggs are examples of strong scents that deer dislike. Spread these around the garden to discourage deer from coming close.

9. Natural Barriers

You can use nature to your advantage by planting holly or barberry bushes around the perimeter of your garden. Deer will avoid these prickly and thorny bushes. Alternatively, use a natural deer repellent such as bone meal or blood meal, which emit strong smells that deer dislike.

10. Clean Up Debris and Fallen Fruit

Old leaves, fruit, and debris attract deer, so clean up your garden regularly. By doing so, you’ll eliminate any potential food sources that might draw deer to your garden.

11. Rotate Your Methods

Deer are smart creatures, and they figure out how to outsmart your preventative measures. Rotate your tactics to keep them guessing. For example, start with building a fence, use sound deterrents or deer-resistant plants, then switch to natural barriers or deer repellent sprays. Keep mixing them up to keep them off-guard.

Other Potential Threats and Solutions

Aside from deer and rabbits, there are many other animals that could potentially threaten your plants. Fortunately, there are many strategies that you can employ to protect your garden. For instance, there are many homemade sprays and deterrents that you can create by using natural ingredients. Additionally, planting deer-resistant plants in your garden could help to deter many animals, including deer, from grazing in your garden. The key is to experiment with different strategies and to find what works best for you and your garden.


So the question is, do deer eat elephant ears? Deer tend to avoid eating these plants. But why? Is it the texture, taste, or smell? Perhaps it’s just the sheer size of the elephant ear leaves that deter the deer. Or maybe it’s a combination of all these factors.

Regardless of the reason, it’s good news for gardeners who are tired of deer munching on their prized plants. Elephant ears could be the solution you’ve been looking for to keep deer at bay. It may not work for every situation, but it’s worth a try if you live in an area with high deer traffic. So go ahead and plant some elephant ears, and let’s see if we can make those deer do a double take!

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