do deer eat irises

Do Deer Eat Irises?

Written by: Gemmali Dizor
Last updated on:

The answer to the question “do deer eat irises?” is yes, deer may eat irises. Irises, also known as bearded irises, are a popular type of flower often grown in gardens and landscapes. However, their beauty can be jeopardized by hungry deer who view the irises as a tasty snack.

If you have a passion for growing irises and live in an area where deer are common, it’s important to be aware of the potential damage they can cause. Keep reading to learn more about how to protect your irises from deer and what alternatives you can try to keep them safe.

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Understanding Deer Behavior

Deer are known for their love of fresh vegetation and will eat almost anything green, including flowers and shrubs. They are especially drawn to irises, which are known for their sweet, juicy leaves and delicate blooms. If a deer finds a patch of irises, it will likely continue to return to the area to feed.

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, so it’s important to be vigilant during these times. They are also most likely to damage your irises during the winter when food is scarce and they’re more hungry.

How to Protect Irises from Deer

There are several ways to protect irises from deer. The most effective method is to create a physical barrier around the irises, such as a fence or hedge. A fence should be at least 8 feet tall to keep deer out, and you may also want to consider using a combination of fences and hedges to create a multi-layer barrier.

Another option is to use deer-resistant plants around the perimeter of your iris garden. These plants produce strong scents or textures that deer find unpleasant, and will deter them from venturing into your iris garden. Some popular deer-resistant plants include lavender, rosemary, and daffodils.

If you don’t want to create a physical barrier or plant deer-resistant plants, you can also use deer repellents. These come in a variety of forms, including sprays, granules, and wipes. However, it’s important to remember that deer are adaptable and may eventually stop avoiding the area if repellents are used repeatedly.

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Alternatives to Irises

If you’re looking for an alternative to irises that won’t be affected by deer, consider planting flowers that are less attractive to them, such as dahlias, peonies, and lupines. These flowers will provide similar beauty and color to your garden, but won’t be subject to the same damage from deer.

Another option is to grow irises in containers. This way, you can keep them in a protected area and enjoy their beauty without worrying about deer damage.


In conclusion, deer do eat irises, so it’s important to take steps to protect your flowers if you live in an area with a high deer population. From creating physical barriers to using deer-resistant plants and repellents, there are several ways to keep your irises safe. And if you’re looking for an alternative, consider planting deer-resistant flowers or growing irises in containers.

By following these tips and being proactive, you can enjoy a beautiful iris garden without worrying about deer damage.

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