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If you’re looking to create a display of color during the spring and fall, snapdragons are a great choice! But is snapdragon deer resistant, or should you opt for an alternative? 

What Are Snapdragons? 

Snapdragons are mid-sized ornamental plants that grow tall spikes of vibrantly colored flowers through the cooler months of spring and fall. They are perennial plants but tend to be grown as annuals in floral garden displays. 

These herbaceous plants will thrive in rich, well-draining soil, and can be grown in full sun or partial shade. They tend to stop flowering in the summer, but if kept well-watered they will burst into bloom again when cooler weather returns. 

If mulched over the winter, plants grown in milder climates may survive to give a floral display the following spring 

Snapdragons come in a range of cultivars, growing from 1 to 3 feet tall. There are over 40 types of snapdragon available, from small container plants to beautiful cut flowers for your home. 

You will commonly find snapdragons planted in pollinator gardens, as they attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. 

Do Deer Eat Snapdragon? 

Do deer eat these gorgeous snapdragon flowers?
Do deer eat these gorgeous snapdragon flowers?

Snapdragon flowers are edible but very bitter, and deer will give any bitter foods a wide berth. Theoretically, deer could eat snapdragon plants and flowers, but you will find that they tend to avoid them. 

However, deer have been known to adapt their tastes according to the region that they live in and the availability of food. If wild food resources are scarce, you may find that the local deer population finds your beautiful snapdragon plants a more enticing prospect. 

Luckily, there tends to be an abundance of food available for deer during the spring, summer, and fall, which is when snapdragons are at their best. It is during the colder winter months when food becomes more scarce that deer will start to eat less palatable plants, shrubs, and trees. 

Is Snapdragon Deer Resistant? 

Beautiful snapdragon flowers
Beautiful snapdragon flowers

The varieties of snapdragon most commonly grown in gardens are deer resistant. The flowers and leaves are edible, but deer dislike their bitter taste. 

Snapdragon plants are also tough, with a woody stem and deep root system. This means that if they are trampled on by hungry deer in search of food, they will recover quickly and send out new growth. 

Are All Types of Snapdragon Deer Resistant? 

Some plant varieties are commonly known as snapdragons, but botanically they belong to a different family. Most of these are not resistant to deer, including: 

  • Brazilian snapdragon, a subtropical perennial of the Achetaria family 
  • Summer snapdragon, a sun-loving herbaceous perennial from the Angelonia family 
  • Wild snapdragon, better known as yellow toadflax 
  • Lesser snapdragon, a herbaceous perennial flowering plant often regarded as a weed 

So if you’re planning a deer-resistant garden, make sure you opt for true snapdragons, rather than their distant relatives. 

Look for plants labeled as Antirrhinum multiflorum – Sierra snapdragon – or Antirrhinum majus, the common or garden snapdragon. 

The blue snapdragon vine (Asarina antirrhiniflora) is also a good deer-resistant choice, although it is not a true member of the snapdragon family. 

Is Black Snapdragon Toxic to Deer? 

Digitalis obscura - Black snapdragon or willow-leaved foxglove.
Digitalis obscura – Black snapdragon or willow-leaved foxglove.

It is no secret that plant names can be very confusing, and this can lead to many people wrongly believing that snapdragons are toxic! The reason for this is because of a plant known as black snapdragon, which is actually a type of foxglove

Foxgloves are toxic to both deer and humans if ingested, and deer will not attempt to eat them. This means that black snapdragons and other foxglove varieties have a high deer resistance. 

Keep reading!

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