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January 27, 2021 2 min read

Do deer eat Japanese honeysuckle? If you plan on cultivating honeysuckles like the Japanese honeysuckle, you may ask this vital question. However, there’s more than cultivating to the picture. Let’s look at the other reasons why you may not consider planting Japanese honeysuckle.

Whether you want to describe the Japanese honeysuckle as a twining vine, evergreen or semi-evergreen, it was once a great ornamental choice. Its strong pleasant flowers, and vibrant appearance, are one reason some people consider them for their yards.

The flowers are also edible for humans and have found their way into culinary dishes. In traditional Chinese medicine, it finds much use for a variety of ailments including sore throat, headache, cough, etc. The Japanese honeysuckle has also been planted as erosion and wildlife control. However, if you wish to plant the Japanese honeysuckle in your land, you may ask a few vital questions. One such question is – do deer eat Japanese honeysuckle?

Japanese honeysuckle as deer fodder

Deer eat Japanese honeysuckle, especially the tender parts of the vine and the leaves. They are essential to browse fodder and are packed with proteins. Therefore the tender foliage of the Japanese honeysuckle is a great attractant for deer. Add fertilizer to the mix, and it is going to be a deer buffet. For hunters, that’s a welcome idea but as a grower, you probably don’t want deer around your honeysuckles. You need to also realize that when there are other palatable food choices, deer might ignore the honeysuckle.

Therefore, you need to take action early enough to prevent them from entering your yard and feasting on them.

Things to Consider

However, do note that cultivating honeysuckles may also create another problem. They often devour other seedling trees in the area, you should consider the space between your Japanese honeysuckle and any other plant in the area to give breathing room for growth. You should also choose your fertilizer carefully to prevent birds from spreading the growth to other areas to prevent it from taking over your entire yard. When deer do not eat the Japanese honeysuckle, they might use the mounds of the plants’ vine as a bedding spot. That way they leave deer ticks behind which are carriers of Lyme disease. Also, remember that there are laws for cultivating honeysuckles. Some states have laws against propagating them because they are highly invasive and the drawbacks of cultivating them often outweigh the benefits.

Deer resistant substitutes

If you still want to cultivate honeysuckles, opt for deer-resistant varieties like the boxleaf honeysuckle, and North American native coral honeysuckle. Other plants that are deer resistant with shared characteristics with honeysuckles are also great choices. For instance, you can enjoy aromatic foliage from plants like boxwood, wormwood, and salvia while deterring deer browsing. Members of the onion family alongside, chives and allium are also excellent selections. You can also enjoy toxic species like yew, oleander, and monkshood or ornamental grass like the prickly pear cactus. All these share one or two physical similarities with the Japanese honeysuckle and are excellent substitutes.

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