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January 03, 2021 3 min read

Do deer eat hostas? This question might come to mind if you have noticed some damage within your garden. Now you have to figure out which pest is responsible and implement measures to protect your garden from them in the future.

We love the hostas plant because of its gorgeous beauty. Also called plantain lilies, hostas can thrive under shades, are drought-tolerant, and grow just about anywhere. Another reason growers love cultivating them is that they can remain around throughout winter, with their beautiful violet, lavender, or white flowers keeping your landscape beautiful all through. However, it’s okay to wonder – do deer eat hostas?

Deer and Hostas

Hostas do have some deer resistant features, such as their textures. However, the plant is scentless, making it ineffective to keep deer away. Therefore, even as hostas are not the first choice for deer, it can still be eaten. Deer will most likely eat them when they cannot find anything else. Because hostas grow through the winter, there is a big chance they can become eaten to the ground during the winter season. But you have nothing to worry about; once planted, hostas can return year after year, refreshing your home at the right times.

How to identify the deer problem?

Before you conclude that you have a deer problem, look for the signs. Deer hoofprints and droppings are usually obvious. Not sure how to identify these? Look out for upside-down heart-shaped tracks. If the soil is moist or you have mulch, the imprint might look like a cylindrical hole. Deer droppings are also easy to distinguish- they look like small black pebbles.

However, there is more. A hungry deer will eat the hostas plant by tearing off leaves from the stems, beginning from the top. In most cases, you might still find the stem intact, making your hosta look like celery stalks.

Protect your hosta plants from deer

Some people might say that there are hosta plants that are deer resistant. While this is true, it isn’t possible to completely keep deer out of your gardens by planting such. Therefore, you need to include other deer deterrent methods. Some of them include:

Odor and taste repellents

Consider sprinkling odor and taste repellents around your hosta plants. Many growers swear by using predator urine, shafts of human hair, and soap shavings. However, repellents only work for a short time. Deer are very resilient and can quickly get used to the repellents you use. To prevent this, you should also consider alternating between at least two repellents. You may also have to reapply when it rains, or you water your plants.


Fencing is an excellent option for many reasons. However, if you choose electric fencing, you need to figure out your location. While an electric fence may keep deer out, it may harm your pet. An alternative is wooden or wire fences. Wooden fences are costly and not attractive. You will also need a fence of over 8 feet because deer can jump as high, especially when frightened or desperate.

Other deterrents

You can also consider using a dog to keep deer out of your fields. However, never leave your dog unsupervised. Motion-activated sprinklers or alarms are also excellent choices. Nonetheless, deer may get used to them over time. There is also a danger of flooding your plants and disturbing your neighbors with the noise.

Concluding Thoughts

Do deer eat hostas? Yes, they do. Even as hostas aren’t one of their first choices, they still eat them on occasion. Still, there is no one effective way to keep deer out of your hostas plants. We recommend that you combine the methods we discussed to keep deer away from your hosta plants.

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