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Do Deer Eat Rose Of Sharon?

Have you ever wondered whether deer eat Rose of Sharon? If you are struggling to keep your garden free from deer, you might be pleased to learn that Rose of Sharon is a deer resistant plant that most deer will not bother with.

The plant is quite toxic, so few deer try to eat it; this is great news if you want to fill your garden with Rose of Sharon plants, but not ideal if you were hoping to be able to feed them to the deer, because they are one of the few shrubs that deer will not eat.

Rose of Sharon is a beautiful plant, and on the whole, it is safe from deer damage, which is useful if you want to bring splashes of early color to your garden.

However, there have been reports of deer eating this plant in spite of its toxicity, perhaps because they are desperate and otherwise face starvation.

Many deer struggle to get through the winter, with constant human developments leaving them with less and less land and resources.

If you want to grow deer-friendly plants in your garden, Rose of Sharon is not a good choice of shrub, because it is toxic and should not attract deer except in extreme circumstances.

However, if you want to choose plants that are not likely to be eaten, Rose of Sharon may be a good option, as it is unlikely to suffer from too much deer damage.

Do Deer Eat Rose Of Sharon?

Most deer will not eat Rose of Sharon, no, because this shrub is moderately toxic and can cause gastrointestinal distress in many animals, including dogs, cats, and deer.

On the whole, deer know better than to try and consume it, and will steer clear of this plant if there are other food sources available.

Occasionally, however, deer may decide to sample or even eat this plant, often because they are very hungry and there is little other food available.

Young deer might also decide to eat Rose of Sharon, as they do not always know exactly what is and is not safe for them to consume.

However, as the deer grows, it is less likely to try and eat toxic shrubs, and should instead choose plants that are better for it, especially if it is guided by its parents.

It’s unlikely that eating a little Rose of Sharon will cause much upset for a deer, especially an adult, but it is still better for them not to eat it.

They may suffer from abdominal pain, diarrhea, and possibly loss of appetite if they consume things that don’t agree with them, and if a deer ate a large amount of Rose of Sharon, it could make itself very ill.

Fortunately, deer will rarely do this, but you may wish to put food out for the deer if they seem to be struggling enough to try and eat your Rose of Sharon.

Do Wild Deer Eat Rose Of Sharon Blooms?

It is possible that wild deer will eat the blooms from your Rose of Sharon, yes, although this may not be very good for them.

Deer generally choose the tender parts of plants, and the blossoms are likely to be among these, so they may attract hungry mouths. Deer may also be attracted by the scent and color of the blossoms.

In general, however, deer should leave the flowers alone for the same reasons – they are not great for them.

That said, there are reports of deer munching these plants to the ground, blooms and all, so it is not guaranteed that they will leave them alone when they are in flower, or during any other season.

If you don’t want the deer to eat your flowers, it may be a good idea to protect them with fencing, or to try some of the deer deterrent options, such as mothballs, predator scents, or sprays made from chili or soap.

If there is other food around, your Rose of Sharon should stay safe from the local deer, but it is a good idea to be cautious if you have planted these bushes and deer already frequent your garden, because they may nibble on them.

Sometimes, deer will also use plants to rub up against when they have an itch, and this can do as much damage as the deer consuming the plant, so be aware of this issue.

How Do I Protect My Rose Of Sharon From Deer?

The best way to protect your Rose of Sharon plant from deer is to fence it in, and while that isn’t always easy to do, you should at least consider it when you put the plant in your garden.

Although deer will generally leave this shrub alone, it’s better not to test whether they will, or risk the plant getting trampled. If you can put up fencing around it, do so; this will discourage deer from investigating it.

You can also try deterrent sprays, which can either be purchased commercially or made at home from ingredients like rotten eggs, chili, garlic, and soap.

However, these sprays need to be applied very frequently in order to be effective, because they will quickly wash away and re-expose your plant to potential nibbling by deer. This can be a lot of effort, but if you are dedicated, you may be able to keep the deer away.

Another option is to provide more palatable sources of food for the deer elsewhere. This does run the risk of attracting more deer, but on the whole, deer will only eat Rose of Sharon if they are very hungry, so giving them alternative food should solve the issue.


So, the answer to “do deer eat Rose of Sharon?” is that they will eat it if they are desperate, and in some cases, they also seem to just develop a taste for it. They can decimate a plant very easily if they decide to feed on it, especially in a herd, so it’s a good idea to protect your plant where possible. Install a fence, use a deterrent spray, or provide better food sources elsewhere to reduce the risk of hungry deer munching on these plants.