Impatiens are a shade-loving plant that boasts beautiful blooms from spring through fall. The flowers are what really stand out on this plant, but the glossy foliage is also striking and provides a lovely contrast against the blooms. While Impatiens are certainly beautiful plants, they are also admired by animals like deer and rabbits, but not for their good looks. Animals are likely to eat Impatiens and can quickly clear out a flower bed. Impatiens grow as annuals in most areas, so this plant is likely to fall victim to hungry foragers during the spring, summer, and fall.
According to Rutgers University, this plant is Occasionally Severely Damaged on their rating scale from Rarely Damaged to Frequently Severely Damaged.
Occasionally damaged means that if there is a tastier plant or food source nearby, an animal will eat that first. There is a good chance that animals will eat Impatiens if given the opportunity.
Keeping Deer Away From Impatiens
Protecting Impatiens from deer and other animals can be tricky, but it is possible. Scent-based deterrents are usually the best option; however, it is necessary to reapply the scent every so often. There are plants that animals do not like; for instance, deer tend to shy away from herbs and ferns. Planting Impatiens near plants deer do not like may discourage them from getting close enough to eat your Impatiens. Featuring the plants in hanging baskets, where they cannot easily be reached, is another possible solution to protect Impatiens from hungry animals.
Will Impatiens Come Back After Deer Eat Them?
Impatiens may come back after being eaten by deer, but it depends on the amount of damage. If all plant parts above the ground are consumed, it is not very likely to come back. Plants usually need some foliage to support new growth. While it is not likely, there is a slight chance you can confirm the plant is done if you do not spot new growth after a week or two. If there is still some part of the plant left after being snacked on, remove any damage and give the plant time. Keep up with water and feed the plant every two weeks to support new growth.
Sources: Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station ‘Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance’ 2018
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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 10-01-2022