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Deer are lovely creatures. Gentle and beautiful, we love them. That is until they munch on flowers we’ve spent so much time on planting and curating. Deer will eat a variety of flowers. If you love growing a garden full of flowers, you may wonder, do deer eat begonias?
If you think begonias are deer resistant, you’re mistaken. Deer will eat begonias. Below we will discuss some deer resistant varieties and how to keep deer away from your begonias.
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Deer Resistant Begonias
The begonia (begoniaceae) is a flowering perennial plant with over 2,000 species. They are native to tropical and subtropical areas. However, many species do well as indoor houseplants. Also, some do well in non-tropical climates during the spring and summer.
The flowers are often vibrant shades of red, pink, yellow, and orange. The leaves are attractive all on their own and are often larger than the flowers.
Though begonias are not the first meal choice for deer, they are big eaters and won’t be that picky when hungry. The good news is they don’t care about anything fuzzy, prickly, or waxy. Deer also do not like any strong, overpowering smells.
Many begonias have these characteristics. Some deer resistant begonia varieties include:
Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens)
Deer will eat this species only if they are pretty desperate for food. According to Rutgers University, deer ‘just don’t like the taste of these plants’. They are all about texture and don’t care about the waxy leaves.
These are sturdy and durable begonia species that do well in most environments. They come in a variety of colors and bloom all summer into the fall.
Plants with leaves that are tough to digest are also typically avoided by deer. Some plants in this category include: Pachysandra, most irises, wax and dragonwing begonias, elephant ears (Colocasia and Alocasia), peonies, some viburnums (including leatherleaf and arrowwood).Lindemann, Katherine. Garden Pests: Guide to Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden.
Tuberous Begonia (Begonia tuberhybrida)
This begonia type is among the most beautiful. With thick green leaves. These begonias have fuzzy leaves and deer do not like to eat fuzzy plants.
Deer dislike fuzzy or hairy textures against their tongues and will avoid these types of plants in favour of more palatable textures. Deer-resistant garden plants in this category include lambs ear (Stachys), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla), Siberian bugloss (Brunnera), flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), tuberous begonias, heliotrope, yarrow (Achillea), Ageratum, poppies, purple top vervain (Verbena bonariensis), and many others.Lindemann, Katherine. Garden Pests: Guide to Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden.
Tuberous begonia is a tender bulb, grown as an annual in most places, but is sometimes eaten by deer on Long Island.Gardening author/ designer Anne Halpin. Soderstrom, Neil. Deer-Resistant Landscaping (p. 235). Harmony/Rodale.
Bedding Begonia (Begonia cucullata)
With fuzzy leaves that have serrated edges, deer don’t like how these begonias feel. Deer are unlikely to eat this begonia unless they’re desperate. This begonia has lots of colorful blooms and lasts from late spring to early fall.
Rex Begonia (Begonia cultorum)
These begonias have thick spines and fine hair that are not appetizing to deer. The Rex begonia is more leafy than flowery. The leaves are big and lush, ranging in color from green and red to silver, and even purple.
Reiger Begonia (Begonia hiemalis)
These begonias have thick, waxy leaves that deer do not enjoy. This flower has dark green leaves and vibrant colors of red, yellow, pink, orange, and white petals. They can be kept indoors (away from deer) and will bloom all year with proper care.
So, are begonias deer resistant? No. If a deer is really hungry, nothing is safe, but these are probably your best bet. Especially if you’re a begonia lover that would like to keep them!
How to Keep Deer From Eating Begonias
If you’ve decided to take your chances with deer and plant begonias, there are ways to keep the deer at bay. There are many safe and natural ways to keep deer away from your begonias. These include:
There are several safe and effective deer repellents on the market. You can look online or visit your local garden center. There are also many recipes for DIY repellents with ingredients like hot sauce, vinegar, garlic, and soap.
Remember deer do not like strong, pungent smells. If natural deterrents are of interest to you, head on over to Naturesmace.com. This minty no-stink formula repels deer and is safe for plants, humans, and pets.
A fence of about 6-8 feet should protect your begonias. It must be that high because a determined deer is like an Olympic hurdle jumper! Fencing will work but can block others from seeing your beautiful begonias.
Also, you may want to look into vertical or hanging begonias. Many varieties take to this.
Plant Flowers and Bushes That Deer Don’t Like
There are many types of plants and flowers that deer find offensive. Pansies and daffodils are two pretty flowers that will look great with begonias, but deer will find their scent overpowering.
Also, plant garlic, lavender, mint, rosemary, and sage among the begonias. These herbs are great for humans but disgusting to deer.
Don’t Plant Flowers That Deer Love Near Begonias
Some deer favorites are daylilies, roses, hosta, and pansies. So if you want to give your begonias a fighting chance, keep them away from those flowers!
Plant Close to Your Home
If you plant begonias, try planting them where they can be seen easily from in your house. You may be able to spot a hungry herd before they do any damage. Also, if you have a dog, Rover will surely alert you to garden intruders.
Will Begonias Grow Back If a Deer Eats Them?
Whether begonias will grow back after a deer eats them depends on certain factors. For instance, tuberous begonias may grow back if it’s early enough in the season and they have a chance to replenish.
Non-tuberous may grow back if they are not chomped down to the ground. It really depends on the begonia type, time of year, and how bad the damage is to them.
Verdict: Are Begonias Deer Resistant?
Yes, begonias are fairly deer resistant. At the end of the day, begonias are not a favorite food for deer. They will not be their first choice in a garden. However, if that’s all there is, then they will eat them.
As listed above, there are several measures you can take to make sure your begonias are protected in case Bambi gets a craving for them. Remember
- Natural repellent
- Flowers and herbs they don’t like
- Strong-smelling ingredients like soap, vinegar, hot sauce, and garlic
Deer are wonderful creatures and begonias are beautiful plants. We hope this has helped make it easier for you to both live in harmony!