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Alyssum is an eye-catching and easy-to-care-for addition to any garden and hugely beneficial to insect life. But is alyssum deer resistant, or will your four-legged friends find it a tasty treat? Do deer eat alyssum, and is sweet alyssum deer resistant?

We have all the answers for you below. You’ll find that there are many benefits to growing alyssum in your garden!

What Is Alyssum?

Sweet alyssum - Lobularia maritima - alyssum deer resistant guide
Sweet alyssum – Lobularia maritima

There are over a hundred different varieties of alyssum, but just a few are cultivated for domestic gardens. The common characteristics of alyssum include an abundance of tight clusters of tiny flowers and a low-growing creeping habit, making them ideal for ground cover

Depending on your zone, you can grow alyssum as either an annual or a perennial. It self-seeds easily and requires little maintenance, apart from keeping it in check before it takes over the garden! If you grow it as a perennial, new plants can easily be established from cuttings in the spring. 

One of the most well-known varieties, sweet alyssum, is not actually an alyssum at all. Sweet alyssum is a close relative of the true alyssum family, and is great for attracting butterflies and other beneficial pollinating insects. 

Do Deer Eat Alyssum?

Do deer eat alyssum?
Do deer eat alyssum?

One of the reasons we love to grow alyssum is the abundance of flowers it produces, and this is also a big advantage when it comes to deer! In mild climates, this low-maintenance plant will produce flowers year-round, often so profusely that you can barely see the foliage

Deer do not find alyssum particularly tasty. Most likely, this is due to the highly scented flowers which form a barrier above the foliage. They will normally pass through a garden without touching this low-growing plant, preferring to search out other tastier greenery to eat. 

Is Sweet Alyssum Deer Resistant?  

If you’re attempting to create a deer-friendly garden, the search for plants that are deer resistant can seem endless! These beautiful and majestic animals often treat our gardens like an all-you-can-eat buffet, and it can be challenging to find flowers they don’t enjoy snacking on. 

We hate to break it to you, but no plant is truly deer resistant. These herbivores like to eat a wide range of different plants and shrubs, and they will trample on what they don’t eat to get to other plants. 

In a deer-resistant garden, we aim to utilize plants that deer are not keen on eating, and that will also withstand any damage caused by our majestic friends. 

And in this situation, cultivated varieties of alyssum really come into their own! When you grow it as an annual, alyssum will self-seed prolifically, coming back year on year even if the ground is trampled by deer. Perennial alyssum is also robust enough to withstand moderate amounts of damage from deer hooves. 

So, yes, we would say that alyssum is deer resistant, which makes it a great choice if you need some fast-growing ground cover in your deer-friendly garden. 

Is Alyssum Toxic?

Honey Bee in sweet alyssum wildflowers

Cultivated varieties of alyssum that we commonly grow in our gardens aren’t toxic to either humans or animals. They are considered to be a hugely beneficial plant, as they provide ground cover to shelter insects and invertebrates, as well as hundreds of flowers to attract pollinators and useful predatory insects. 

Alyssum attracts parasitic wasps, ladybugs, hoverflies, and minute pirate bugs, all of which love to feast on aphids. Growing a patch of alyssum is a great way to encourage these natural pest control solutions into your garden. 

All in all, we can’t see many downsides to growing alyssum in a deer-friendly garden, except it may spread further than you planned! But when you see the delightful abundance of flowers and smell the delicious fragrance, you may well be glad that this deer-resistant plant is thriving in your garden.

Keep reading!

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