Do Deer Eat Phlox? (and How to Deer-Proof Your Garden)

As a nature lover and a curious learner, I often find myself pondering over interesting topics such as: do deer eat phlox? My fascination with deer has led me to discover the truth about this topic, and I am excited to share my findings with you. Read on to learn more about the elusive eating habits of deer when it comes to phlox plants.

Deer are known to avoid consuming phlox due to its strong scent and the hairy, thorny nature of its leaves. While these plants are not a preferred food source for most deer, unfavorable circumstances such as hunger may cause them to consume phlox. However, it should be noted that phlox is not a significant part of the deer’s natural diet as they tend to favor other vegetation to meet their nutritional needs.

Do Deer Eat Phlox?

Phlox is known for its beautiful, vivid blooms and pleasant fragrance. This plant is an excellent addition to any garden or landscape, but one question that gardeners often ask is whether deer are attracted to this particular plant. The answer is that generally, deer don’t eat phlox.

This is because of a few reasons. Firstly, phlox has hairy, thorny leaves that deer tend to avoid. Additionally, the plant’s overpowering scent can be a turn-off for deer. However, unfavorable circumstances such as hunger or unfavorable weather conditions may drive deer to eat phlox. It’s important to note that while deer may eat phlox from time to time, it is not a significant part of their diet, as they tend to favor other vegetation to meet their nutritional needs.

Types of Deer-Resistant Plants

If you want to keep pesky deer from munching on your plants, it’s crucial to choose flora that they won’t find appealing. While no plant is entirely immune to deer, some are less tempting to them than others. Plenty of research has identified these deer-resistant plants, including daffodils, lavender, salvia, zinnias, and foxglove, among others. However, keep in mind that plants alone won’t be enough to keep deer at bay. An effective garden pest control strategy that combines plant selection with other practices is necessary.

The Important Qualities of Phlox

Growing Conditions for Phlox

Moss phlox is a beautiful low-growing groundcover that offers an abundance of summer blooms in pink, purple, and white. To grow moss phlox successfully, you need to ensure the right growing conditions, including well-draining, humus-rich, and moderately moist soil. This plant is an excellent choice for rock gardens as it will grow in rocky or shallow soil and withstand drought well. Moss phlox is also adaptable to growing in full sun or part shade conditions.

Appearance of Phlox

Gardeners can revel in the many variations of Phlox, each with its own unique features that set it apart from the rest. A striking characteristic is their vibrant flowers and exceptional foliage. An excellent example is the Sand Phlox, a phlox which creeps low and is impervious to deer, and when given life to grow, forms a dense and expansive territory. The plant has a pale whitish-blue tone and flourishes in USDA zones 4 to 8. Sand Phlox adapts well to most growing conditions and has a preference for dry to a moderate amount of well-draining soil.

Keeping Deer Away from Your Yard

Keeping deer out of your garden can be a challenge, but there are plenty of methods available to keep these hungry creatures at bay. Below are some of the most common and effective ways to deer-proof your garden and protect your plants:

Fencing and Repellents

Deer tend to avoid consuming phlox because of its scent and the hairy, thorny nature of its leaves. However, hungry deer might decide to consume phlox when other more edible plants are not readily available. To keep deer away from phlox, consider installing a fence around the garden or using repellents that offer a scent or taste that deer find unpleasant.

Be Careful With Crops that Attract Deer

Deer have foraged in gardens for generations, and there are certain crops that they seem to prefer. If you grow these plants in your garden, be prepared for increased deer activity in your yard. Some of the common crops that attract deer include strawberries, lettuce, beans, broccoli, and carrots. It is best to plant these crops in a different part of your garden if deer are a concern.


Spotlighting is a practice where you highlight or utilize plants that are less attractive to deer, distracting them away from other vulnerable plants. For example, you can plant deer-resistant plants like lavender or daffodils near the phlox to deter deer activity near these vulnerable plants. Distracting deer with other plantings may not keep them away entirely, but it can help reduce the amount of damage they cause to your garden.

Motion-activated sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are a humane and effective way to keep deer out of your garden. These devices use sensors to detect motion and then spray the area with water, scaring off any intruders. In addition to being effective, motion-activated sprinklers can be fun to watch in action.


If you have a smaller garden or just want to protect a few prized plants, netting can be an effective method of keeping deer away. Simply drape the netting over your plants and secure it in place with stakes. Be sure to use a fine mesh netting to prevent deer from chewing through it.

Ultrasonic Repellents

Ultrasonic repellents are a non-invasive and eco-friendly way to keep deer away from your garden. They work by emitting high-frequency sounds that repel deer and other pests that may be living in your yard, without harming them.

These devices can either be set to operate continuously or to activate when motion sensors detect animals nearby.

Ultrasonic repellents can cover an area of up to 5,000 square feet and are easy to install, just plug them in and let them do their job.

It’s important to remember that no single method is 100% effective when it comes to deterring deer. A combination of multiple methods, such as fencing, repellents, and ultrasonic repellents, may be necessary to fully protect your garden.

Regrowth After Deer Damage

If deer have eaten your phlox, do not despair! Phlox is known for its remarkable ability to regrow even after being heavily damaged by deer. Whether the damage occurs during the growing season or in the winter, phlox will eventually bounce back.

Reproductive Process of Phlox

Fortunately, the reproductive process of phlox is such that it can recover from damage caused by browsing. When phlox is eaten, tall varieties may not grow back up to the following year, while creeping phlox will continue to grow during the growing season.

If deer cause harm to phlox, whether or not it blossoms again within the same year is contingent upon multiple factors such as the level of destruction, the time the harm was incurred, and the particular bloom cycle of the phlox species. Nevertheless, it can be anticipated that phlox will regenerate next year and remain a wonderful floral sight to behold.

Evaluating Damage by Deer

Assessing the amount of damage caused by deer to your phlox is crucial before embarking on any remedial measures. Take a closer look at the damage and determine how severe it is. If there are only a few nibbles on the phlox, then it is probably not significant enough to cause lasting damage. In cases where the plant has been heavily damaged or completely eaten, it may require a more proactive approach to encourage regrowth.

Caring for Phlox

Taking proper care of phlox is essential to its overall health and longevity. Here are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your phlox:

Soil and Fertilization

To enjoy vibrant and thriving phlox flowers, it is essential to maintain a slightly alkaline soil with a pH level of approximately 7. Giving your phlox plants a proper pruning regime can help them attain a more attractive appearance. Employing an all-purpose fertilizer can provide the plant with a steady and slow supply of nutrients to encourage a robust root system to develop and generate enormous and stunning blooms.


To improve the overall appearance and health of your phlox, it is recommended that you prune it throughout the growing season. Removing dead or damaged stems, and cutting back some of the newer growth will encourage your phlox to produce even more flowers.


Phlox should be planted in a spot that receives at least six hours of full sun each day. Because it is a hardy perennial, phlox should be planted in the spring or fall in well-draining soil. When planting, be sure to water thoroughly and space them appropriately to prevent overcrowding.By following these simple steps, you can help your phlox to grow, and bloom beautifully for many years to come. And if deer do happen to cause some damage, remember that there are ways to encourage regrowth and keep those pesky critters at bay.


So, do deer eat phlox? The answer is not a definitive yes or no. While it’s true that they tend to avoid consuming phlox due to its strong scent and thorny leaves, circumstances such as hunger may compel them to eat these plants. However, phlox is not a significant part of a deer’s natural diet.

So, if you’re a gardener looking to protect your phlox, don’t let the fear of deer attacks prevent you from adding this lovely plant to your garden. With the right combination of protective measures, you can enjoy the beauty of phlox without worrying about deer damage. And if you’re a wildlife enthusiast, rest assured that deer tend to favor other vegetation for their nutritional needs – leaving phlox safe to bloom and thrive in its natural habitat.

You may also be interested in reading: