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Do Deer Eat Coleus?

With the coleus shrub being such an easy to care for shrub that is surprisingly hardy and has a unique look, it is a very popular option all over the globe.

Unfortunately, most types of coleus also taste good to most many types of animals so it is not uncommon to notice that a large chunk or the majority of your coleus has been eaten by the local wildlife.

Due to this, we often see people reaching out and asking about their coleus having been ate in a bid to try and locate the culprit.

One of the most common questions that we see is based on if deer eat coleus so that will be the main focus of today’s article.

That said though, there are a wide number of wild animals in Europe and North America that will happily eat coleus given the chance.

On top of that, some animals will actively try to find coleus once they have tried it after having developed a taste for the shrub too unfortunately increasing the chances of your other coleus shrubs being ate too.

Do Deer Eat Coleus?

Most species of deer will eat coleus to some level with a number of deer species native to Northern Europe actively looking for coleus due to enjoying the taste so much.

It is believed that some of the stronger smelling types of coleus can actually attract some deer species too.

When it comes to gardening, the more commonly kept types of coleus such as henna coleus, rainbow festive dance coleus, sun chocolate coleus, and magma coleus do not tend to give off that strong of a scent.

That said, just because these types of coleus are less likely to attract deer due to their smell, if deer stumble upon them, they will usually eat them anyway.

An adult deer can easily eat a full coleus shrub to itself if it is hungry and due to deer being social animals, female deer will usually travel around in herds with each other.

If a herd of female deer stumble onto your garden then they can eat a surprising amount of your coleus shrubs as well as other plants too.

How Do I Stop Deer Eating Coleus?

There are three main strategies that people try to stop deer eating their coleus.

The most effective is to put a physical barrier around your garden but the more common method is to try keeping daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies in your garden due to their toxicity helping to keep deer away.

The scent of sage, salvias, and lavender can also help to repel some species of deer too.

In our opinion, putting up larger fences is not the best option due to it potentially spoiling the look of your garden, having the higher cost, and some deer may be able to jump your fence anyway.

This is why most people try to integrate plants into their garden to help keep the deer away.

Daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies are three most commonly used options but in our opinion, foxgloves are the best option to stop deer from eating your coleus.

Although their scent is strongest just before the seeds ripen, they can be effective year round where as the effectiveness of daffodils and poppies will depend on the season.


That brings our article going over if deer eat coleus or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you protect your coleus shrubs from being ate by the local deer population but sometimes, deer will be relentless when it comes to coleus due to liking its taste. This does tend to be more of a problem in Northern Europe rather than anywhere else though.