Do Deer Eat Succulents? What You Need to Know

Do Deer Eat Succulents
Do Deer Eat Succulents

Do deer eat succulents? If you are living in a rural area, wildlife may be a challenge to deal with. In this post, I will share with you some of the tips on how to protect your succulents from wandering animals including deer.

Deer are known to have good appetite. They devour virtually any plants they come across. But do deer eat succulents too?

In most cases, deer would pass on succulents. This makes most succulent growers think that succulents are deer resistant. However, hungry deer would eat anything but probably eat the succulent plants last.

Like humans, animals would eat something they don’t usually eat when they are hungry. This means that, although succulents are not their favorite plant, they would consider it if no other food is available around.

These animals are resilient to food crisis and capable of surviving by improvising. What I mean by this is that they are well adjusted and adaptable to any available plant to eat.

If you are living nearby wildlife park, this is a considerable challenge for you and your succulent plants. Succulents may not be safe outdoor.

Does this mean that you should not leave your tiny plants outside? Well, that’s not really what I mean. In fact, I created this simple post to give you tips on how you can grow succulents outdoor regardless of the threat.

But before discussing the tips, I would like to mention in (case you don’t know yet) that there are some types of succulents that are more deer-resistant. Those succulents have natural defense systems against foreign intruders like deer.

Examples of those succulents are Hens and Chicks, agave, Sempervivum, and Aloe. These plants are not deer favorites so you can place these succulents outdoor.

Aside from choosing deer-resistant succulents, there are many things you can do to keep your succulents safe outdoor.

Below are the tips you can implement to your succulent garden to keep the deer away from your cute succulent plants.

Blend the succulents with companion plants

As mentioned, choosing the deer-resistant succulents might not work all the time. Hungry deer may not pass on those succulents. Therefore, previous techniques may not be always effective.

Fortunately, there are available ways you can implement in your garden to strengthen the defense system of your plants. One of the best ways is companion planting.

Companion planting involves other plant varieties around the plants that you want to be protected. In this case, succulents. Surround your succulents with plants that are truly deer-resistant.

Deer-resistant plants will serve as the main defense system to deceive the deer. Plant those varieties close to cover your beloved succulent plants.

But what are the plants you should be planting around your succulent garden?

There are a handful of deer-resistant plant varieties that could your succulent plants. Below are some of the examples of those plants:

1) Plant Maximilian Sunflower

Maximilian Sunflower

The Maximillian sunflower is one of the best companion plants for succulents. This plant is perennial and like succulents, needs not too much water. And because it loves full sun, it is best for an outdoor succulent garden.

Aside from protection from hungry deer, this type of sunflower can also serve as shade to the succulents. As you might already, know, succulents need partial shade.

This sunflower grows from 4 to 10 feet tall. Because it grows tall, you can spread it in the garden 3 to 4 feet apart.

Lastly, this sunflower is tolerant of extreme environmental conditions so you don’t have to worry.

2) Lavender Plants

Another good companion plant for succulents is the lavender plants. These plants have natural oils will that help scare the hungry deer.

These plants are harsh for animal intruders but bring aesthetic features to the human eyes. They also possess irresistible beauty and amazing smells.

The Maximillian sunflower and lavender plants have natural oil that ousts the hungry deer.

What I love about lavender plants is that they are drought-tolerant. This means that you don’t have to give water to these plants frequently.

Lavender plants can grow up to 12 to 48 inches tall. They grow well outdoor, especially in full sun. They can provide shade to the succulents.

But like succulents, these plants don’t like to be overwatered. So be careful not to give them water too much.

3) Rosemary

The third plant I would recommend is rosemary. You are familiar with this plant. This is not just an ornamental plant but also a great condiment for your chicken recipe.

But the aroma it produces is what makes the deer deters from your succulent garden. The good thing about this is that you don’t only protect succulents but also make your garden full of useful plants for cooking.

4) Russian sage

This plant is another great companion plant for succulents. It is not only drought tolerant but also thrives in cold weather. For me, this is a great defense against hungry deer.

However, this plant can be dangerous to humans if you do not care. It has natural substances that can irritate the skin. The same substance makes this plant deer-resistant.

The good thing about this plant is that it can grow in virtually any type of soil. If you have acidic or alkaline soil, this plant has no problem growing.

5) Hyssop

Hyssop is another herbal plant you can plant along with succulents. It is a member of the mint family. For decades, this plant is being used to treat many diseases including but not limited to respiratory sickness and earaches. It is also a quick treatment for cuts, rheumatism, and bruises.

Not only humans love this plant but also birds. However, this is also one of the worst enemies of rabbits and deer. So if you have this in your succulent garden, there’s a high chance that your succulents will be safe against deer and other animals.

My favorite one is the hummingbird mint. It blooms longer than other plants. This means that you have a stronger defense system against deer and other wandering animals.

However, the list of plants you can use to protect succulents can be longer. If you don’t have access to the mentioned plants, you can use whatever is available.

Look around you and see what else is growing well. Pick those plants and incorporate to your succulent garden. The very important function of companion plants is to divert the attention of deer from eating your more precious succulent plants.

The part about choosing the available local plants is that you can be sure that they are suitable to the climate and soil.

Build a Fence Around your Succulent Garden

If you don’t have access to the mentioned companion plants, the best way you can is to build a fence around your succulent garden.

This is a more arduous process though. You need a lot of muscle, time, and possibly money to do that. But this is a more secure defense system against wandering animals.

The drawback however with fences is that they could block the sunlight, especially in the early morning when the temperature is perfect for succulents.

When building the fence, make sure not to make it too high. Just make it high enough to block the deer and other intruding animals but not most of the morning sunlight.

Cyclone wire can also be a great option to use on the fence instead of lumber or concrete. Cyclone wire gives the garden good aeration for the succulents and for us.

I am trying to say here is that, when building a fence, there is no single way to do it. Creativity is the only limit.

Use Deer Repellents

Deer repellents are another great strategy to strengthen the defense in your garden. There are many brands of deer repellents you can choose from in the market. Or if you want, you can try the one that I am using for my succulent garden. Click here to check my recommended deer repellent on Amazon.

Using deer repellents is a good option especially if the succulents are young. At this stage, the plants have no defense system. So giving them something that could protect them is always a great decision.

But unlike the previous strategies, this one will cost you a little bit of money.

Related Questions

Is stonecrop sedum deer resistant?

Yes, stonecrop sedum is deer resistant. They are resistant not only for deer but also a rabbit. Planting this succulent in your outdoor garden gives you a high chance of success.

What animal is eating my succulents?

Aside from deer, there are other animals or insects that could harm succulent plants. Some of these are aphids, mealy bugs, caterpillars, grasshoppers, snails, and slugs. Determining what exactly eats your succulents is difficult. This is because different animals have different eating behavior which leaves different remains.

Will squirrels eat succulents?

Yes, squirrels eat succulents too. When they do, they tend to eat big chunks out of the leaves of the plants making it recognizable. But they don’t usually eat the whole plant.

Do snails eat succulents?

Yes, snails eat succulents. They tend to make holes in the leaves of the succulents. Their favorites are the slow-growing succulents.

To learn more about succulents, visit my complete guide.


I am a university teacher by profession, researcher, blogger, and gardener.

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