How to keep deer from eating hostas

Deer are adorable, aren’t they? Of course, who doesn’t love Bambi? However, when it comes to ruining your beloved hostas, deer aren’t that pleasant.

There are several ways to protect your hostas from wild animals, like deer. For starters, you can build a fence around your hostas. However, if you enjoy observing wildlife, you can spray deer repellents on your hostas or use scaring techniques to keep the deer away. There are other effective methods, so you’ll definitely find one that works for you.

Keep on reading to find out how to keep deer from eating hostas.

How to keep deer from eating hostas
How to keep deer from eating hostas

How To Keep Deer From Eating Hostas?

Hostas are beautiful shade-tolerant plants known for their fascinating foliage and striking flowers. Most gardeners love planting hostas because they look gorgeous and require minimum care.

Unfortunately, in areas where hungry wild animals wander at night, hostas are considered a favorite midnight snack for deer.

Deer love eating those moisture-rich, succulent hosta leaves. So, waking up to a munched-up hosta garden is definitely frustrating. That’s why we have some tips and tricks to keep deer from eating your hostas:

Man building fence
How to keep deer from eating hostas

Tip #1: Building a Fence

Building a fence is the most effective solution, but it’s a pricey one. For a fence to be able to keep deer out, it has to be at least eight feet high, with gaps no wider than a six-inches. This is generally higher than most wooden privacy fences in residential areas. It can block your view of the outside scenery and might not fit in with the landscape design.

Shorter fences can also work as they pose a psychological barrier for deer. What’s more, adding an electric wire to the top of the fence will reinforce it. Nonetheless, having an electric fence might not be a good idea with the neighbor’s kids around.

Another more affordable alternative for fences is using a fishing line. Wrap your fishing line around a fence post at approximately three feet high.

After that, stretch the fishing line to the next fence posts and around your garden. Repeat the process two more times, each one about a foot lower than the other.

The fishing line fence is invisible to you yet confusing to deer. So, you’ll still be able to enjoy your garden while keeping wild animals away.

Tip #2: Using Repellents

There are different types and brands of deer repellents on the market. Some of them are chemical, and others are electronic. If none of these fit you, there’s always the DIY choice.

Chemical Repellents

Spraying a chemical repellent over or around your hostas is a perfect solution. It doesn’t affect the plants nor does it need frequent application.

Electronic Repellents

Devices like ultrasonic repellers emit noise frequencies that are annoying to deer. Those frequencies are totally harmless as well as inaudible to both humans and pets. Ultrasonic repellers also have motion sensors and are pretty affordable.

Other options like motion-activated flood lights or water sprinklers work great too in scaring off deer.

DIY Repellents

If you’re the DIY type, these homemade solutions are perfect for you. Some scents or tastes are abominable to deer. Basically, any strong odor that deer aren’t familiar with can help repel them.

You’ll need to reapply those kinds of repellents every two weeks or whenever it rains. Most importantly, try to alternate between them, as deer get familiar with strange smells over time.

Repelling Scents

Try to wrap any of the following items in a small mesh bag and hang it around your hostas.

  • Strong fragranced soap
  • Unwashed human hair
  • Aromatic herbs, like thyme, rosemary, mint, or lavender
  • Scented dryer sheets
  • Garlic
Repelling Tastes

Additionally, you can spray or sprinkle any of the following around your hostas:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Any strong spice, such as cinnamon or oregano
  • Talcum powder
  • Bitter apple spray
  • A mixture of eggs and water
  • Milorganite, which is a high-nitrogen fertilizer known for repelling deer

Tip #3: Scaring Techniques

Aside from the motion-activated lights and water sprinklers, there are other techniques you can use to scare off deer.

Hanging any shiny object around your hostas will sparkle while moving and frighten most deer. You can try hanging aluminum foil plates or CDs.

Wind chimes can also be scary for deer. Placing decoy animals around your garden is another great approach for scaring deer.

Tip #4: Netting

Covering your hostas with garden nets or floating row covers at night can keep deer away. It’s one of the low-cost ways to protect your dear hostas. Still, it’ll require some manual labor from your side to place nets at night and remove them in the morning.

If you choose to follow this technique, just make sure to secure the edges. If not secured, the wind may blow your nets away.

Golden retriever fetching a ball
How to keep deer from eating hostas

Tip #5: Getting a Pet Dog

Having a pet dog works like a charm, as deer are jumpy animals. A few barks will keep them away for quite some time. That said, your dog can’t stay up and outside all day long.

Luckily, aside from barking, dogs deposit scents and mark their territory. Deer consider those scents a predator threat.

Conclusion

Having your plants eaten and ruined by deer is every gardener’s nightmare. Fortunately, there are many tips to protect your garden.

Some of those tips might not work for your budget, so, luckily, you’ll find many affordable ones that are as effective.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a gardening expert and founder of Home for the Harvest. She's also an engineer and certified permaculture garden designer. Mary Jane has been featured by publications such as Real Simple, Mother Earth News, Homes & Gardens, Heirloom Gardener, and Family Handyman.