Are Butterfly Bushes Deer Resistant?

Butterfly bush is a popular shrub to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and is easy to care for since it resists many diseases and pests. That includes deer, who do not munch on the pretty leaves or flowers of butterfly bush. 

According to Rutgers University butterfly bush is listed as Rarely Damaged on their rating scale that runs from Rarely Damaged to Frequently Severely Damaged. Deer may eat the buds, but otherwise this shrub is rarely on the menu when deer browse home gardens.

Rarely Damaged
Seldom Severely Damaged
Occasionally Severely Damaged
Frequently Severely Damaged

Keeping Deer Away From Butterfly Bushes

There is no need to repel deer from a butterfly bush. This shrub makes a nice and colorful choice in woodland gardens and wildlife areas. You can plant it as a border around plants more susceptible to browsing to keep them safe. You can also plant them close to wooded areas where deer frequent. Experience shows deer tend to leave these plants alone.

If the deer are very hungry in your area, you may want to apply some deer repellent spray to help keep the deer away from your butterfly bushes or other plants. The spray will need to be reapplied every week for the first month and after rain washes it away. Once the deer learn which plants to avoid, the application frequency can be reduced.  

Will Butterfly Bush Come Back After Deer Eat Them

Deer rarely damage butterfly bushes, and even if they decide to try it once (as fawns sometimes do), the plant grows rapidly and should come back within the same season.


Sources: Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station ‘Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance’ 2018

Teresa Odle Profile Pic

 Author Teresa Odle - Published 7-06-2020