Are Gardenias Deer Resistant?

Deer and other larger animals are not attracted to gardenia shrubs. In fact they are considered “deer resistant” so you can safely plant them in your yard and garden. North Carolina Cooperative Extension rates gardenias as "seldom damaged" unless deer have no other options. Some people will place gardenias next to plants that are attractive to animals to help protect them from getting damaged or eaten. 

Deer may try a leaf or two of your gardenia plant but they really do not like the taste or scent so will move on to a more desirable plant such as roses or tulips. They may do more damage to resistant shrubs like gardenias by walking or lying down for the evening on top of them. 


How To Keep Deer Away From Gardenias?

Fortunately, you do not have to worry about deer damaging or eating your gardenia shrubs. Gardenias are not a preferred food source, but they could be more at risk in winter when most plants are dormant. To keep them totally safe, you can use fencing or a commercial deer repellent product. There are also motion sensitive sprinklers that can work to startle or scare off any wildlife that may be interested in your gardenias. 

Will Gardenias Come Back After Deer Eat Them?

Deer will often sample a plant but then move on to something more desirable. If they do damage your shrubs, you can simply prune any broken branches. This should not affect their flowering or performance depending on the time of year. Gardenias bloom on both old and new wood, so even if buds are damaged, the shrub may still bloom later in the season. 


"Deer Resistant Plants." North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

"Gardenia." Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service.

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Author Janice Cox - Published 12-07-2021