One common concern for gardeners in deer-infested areas is the potential damage to their beloved plants. Daylilies, known for their vibrant blooms and easy maintenance, are a popular choice in many gardens. However, their attractiveness to deer can be a cause for worry.
In this article, we will explore the question: Do deer eat daylilies? We will also take a look at some deer-resistant daylilvarieties and provide tips on how to protect your daylilies from deer damage.
Unfortunately, daylilies are not deer-resistant, save a few varieties that may exhibit some level of (but not complete) resistance to deer browsing. According to Michigan State University, they are among the plants that are most frequently damaged by these invasive herbivores.
Deer will eat every part of your daylily plant including the leaves and flowers but find the flower buds particularly tasty. Other common deer-prone plants include Hostas, Clematis, and English Ivy.
What daylilies are deer-resistant?
While no daylily can be considered completely deer-proof, there are certain varieties which, compared to others are known to be more deer-resistant due to some traits that make them less attractive to deer. One such variety is Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’, a popular daylily variety that features bright yellow three-inch blooms and has a long blooming period.
It is known for its toughness and is often cited as being more deer-resistant compared to other daylilies. Similar to ‘Stella de Oro’, ‘Happy Returns’ is another reblooming daylily that shares the same robustness and higher deer resistance
However, while these daylilies may be less attractive to deer, it doesn’t guarantee complete protection. So don’t take it for granted that your daylilies are safe. Deer feeding preferences can vary depending on the season, available vegetation, and local deer populations. Don’t be surprised if you find a deer munching on your blooms, especially in early spring, after a grueling winter.
How to protect your daylilies from deer
To ensure the safety of your daylilies, you need to employ a combination of strategies to deter these animals from feeding on the plants, especially if you live in an area with a high deer population like Texas, New York, Alabama, and Georgia. Here are some effective methods to consider:
Planting (Garden design)
Consider the layout of your garden to make it less inviting to deer. Avoid planting daylilies near deer pathways or entry points to your garden. Grouping daylilies with more deer-resistant plants can also make them less conspicuous and less likely to be targeted.
Some plants are known to be less appealing to deer, especially those with fuzzy or spiky foliage. so incorporating them into your garden can help protect daylilies. Examples include daffodils, foxgloves, and yarrows.
Additionally, planting aromatic plants or plants with strong scents near your daylilies can help deter them. Deer have a strong sense of smell and they don’t like heavily scented plants.
You can use this to your advantage since the strong odors can mask the scent of the daylilies and make them less attractive to deer. Examples include lavender, rosemary, marigolds, or plants with strong mint or citrus scents.
Fencing and motion sensors
Another tactic you can employ is to install a physical barrier around your daylilies using a sturdy deer fence. The fence should be at least 8 feet tall to prevent deer from jumping over. Alternatively, a 6-foot fence can be effective if it includes additional deterrents such as electric wires or angled extensions at the top.
Motion-activated devices in your garden, such as sprinklers or noise-making devices will startle the deer when they approach your daylilies and discourage them from coming nearer.
Applying deer repellents to your daylilies can also make them less appealing to deer. There are various types available, and can either be scent-based or taste repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and reapplication.
Time-release feeding: If there are alternative food sources available for deer, they may be less likely to target your daylilies. Consult with local wildlife experts or extension services to learn about strategies for providing alternative food sources, such as planting specific deer-friendly forage crops away from your daylilies.
Remember, no method is foolproof, and deer behavior can vary. It may be necessary to use a combination of these strategies and adapt them based on your specific situation.
Other daylily pests
Besides deer, daylilies do have some other common pests that gardeners should be aware of. Though many do only minor damage, they can still impact the health and appearance of the plants. Here are a few examples:
Spider mites are among the most common daylily pests. Spider mites are most active in hot, dry weather. You can get some control of spider mites just by hosing them off as needed.
Daylilies have their own specific aphid which feeds only on daylilies. Aphids are most active in cool weatherspring and fall in temperate zones, and all winter long in the subtropics.
Controlling daylily aphids is not as easy as with other kinds of aphids, which are usually vulnerable to such soft controls as soaps.
In order to reach daylily aphids inside the fans, a pesticide with at least a mildly systemic action is needed. Do not use the pesticide Kelthane, which is known to harm daylilies.
Several species of thrips are known to infest daylilies. Control thrips by starting early in the growing season with a pesticide having either a systemic or long residual action.
Slugs and Snails
Slugs and snails feed on the young, tender tissues, causing ragged edges and holes. They feed at night and hide during the day in cool, moist places, such as in mulch, under rocks and bricks, and in dead foliage.
Sanitation helps to control slugs and snails. Otherwise, control requires using pesticides that are targeted specifically at these pests.
Other insect pests that have been reported affecting daylilies include cutworms, tarnished plant bugs, cucumber beetles, wasps, Japanese beetles, grasshoppers, and periodical cicadas. Bulb mites may be involved in the transmittal of crown rot
In conclusion, understanding the relationship between deer and daylilies can empower gardeners to take appropriate measures to protect their beloved blooms. Also, not all methods work all the time.
In conclusion, while it is important to be aware of the potential threat deer pose to daylilies, it is equally important to recognize that not all methods of protection will guarantee complete success. Deer behavior can vary, and their feeding preferences may change over time.
Therefore, it is advisable for gardeners to improvise based on their unique situation, to increase the chances of deterring deer from feasting on daylilies. Regular monitoring of the garden and adaptability in response to deer behavior will be key in effectively safeguarding these cherished blooms.