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June 06, 2013 2 min read

For gardeners, there is scarcely anything more exasperating than waking up to discover headless stems where flowers should be, or broken twigs instead of fruit. No deterrent, homemade or commercial or is 100 percent effective but some do better than others to keep deer away.

The best deer repellent for garden plants is, according to many scientific studies as well as years of practical advice, a mixture of raw eggs, diluted with water. The egg and water mixtures, in fact work better than much more expensive and difficult to obtain solutions, like those made with predator urine or blood.

A repellent with egg can be either made right at home or purchased commercially. To make an effective mixture at home, one egg can be cracked into a gallon of water, mixed together, and sprays on the leaves of plants. This simple mixture is the basis of several varieties, which can also be tried to obtain the best results. One variation of the mixture is to let it stand outside for about twenty-four hours to allow the egg to putrefy. The vegetarian deer avoid the smell because it smells like meat, and so allowing the egg to putrefy increases its potency and odor. Another variation to this mixture is to cook the egg before mixing it with the water. The disadvantage is that it a little harder to mix egg solid with water, and it adds a step to the process, however, some gardeners swear by it and claim it works better than raw egg. Other would prefer not to handle raw egg or spray it on their plants, and cook it for that reason. Like the mixture with raw egg, it can be left to putrefy to make it smell stronger.

The egg mixture needs to be reapplied frequently and if there is a problem with it coming off of the leaves, a little bit of oil can be added to the mixture. Any kind of oil, from vegetable oil to mint oil, will work.

Another deer repellent for garden plants is blood meal, which can be used as fertilizer and in combination with the egg mixture. Blood meal is a byproduct of meat processing, and is available at gardening stores to be used as fertilizer. It works to deter deer for the same reason as the egg mixture: deer avoid any food that they think might be meat.

Best Deer Repellent for Garden

Another deer repellent for garden plants is a motion detecting sprinkler. These are excellent for homeowners who want to set up a low maintenance systems, and who, for various reasons, may not want to use an egg mixture on their plants. Deer, much like cats, don’t like to get wet, and a system like this will turn on once motions is detected, day or night. However, this deterrent cannot be used too close to an area being protected by egg repellent, because once washed off by the sprinkler, the egg repellent will need to be reapplied.