Gardening in an area with a heavy deer population can be challenging. Knowing which plants to avoid or embrace is the first step to a successful blooming garden. Lupines are not 100% deer-proof, but they are rarely browsed or damaged by deer. Rabbits also do not nibble on Lupine. Generally, the most concerning pest of Lupines are Aphids, white, black or green. Lupine plants can be used to direct deer away from other ornamentals such as Hostas or Hydrangea.
According to Rutgers University, this plant is Seldom Severely Damaged on their rating scale from Rarely Damaged to Frequently Severely Damaged. This designation means that deer will only browse on Lupines when no other food is available. Deer may also take bites every once in a while when they are traveling through the garden. Deer eat everything at about 3-4 feet from the ground and do not often differentiate between plants. One bite of Lupine is all it takes for deer to move on.
Keeping Deer Away From Lupine
Lupines make a good plant for yards that are not fenced. Very little is needed to keep deer from browsing on Lupines. Even when the tender new spring shoots emerge, deer do not give these plants a second glance.
Will Lupines Come Back After Deer Eat Them?
Lupines are herbaceous perennials that do not depend on pruning for proper growth or flowering. Lupines will quickly regrow following any damage from deer. Foliage, branches, and flower spikes will regrow if it is early enough in the growing season. All the top growth will die back in the fall to be replaced by brand new foliage in the spring.
As long as the roots are not damaged, Lupine will heartily grow back the following spring. Adding extra fertilizer to encourage growth is not recommended. Quick regrowth of tender foliage can easily attract aphids, weakening the plant.
Sources: Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station ‘Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance’ 2018
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Author Robbin Small - Published 8-24-2022