Cleyera is a great broadleaf evergreen shrub that resists most pests and diseases. This shrub is also highly resistant to deer browsing, making it very valuable as a hedge plant in areas with high deer populations. The large glossy leaves do not entice deer in the same way that azaleas do and make a good substitute for laurel and photinia shrubs in the home garden.
Keeping Deer Away From Cleyera
Protecting cleyera from deer damage is not necessary. The deer will largely ignore cleyera in the home garden, instead, getting their fill of plants that are easier to eat such as perennial or vegetable crops. You can even try discouraging deer by planting cleyera as a hedge around your property line or around your vegetable garden. Deer, for the most part, are very lazy and will not make an extra effort to enter areas with tall fencing or no natural opening. Cleyera reaches an average height of 6-8 feet, which is tall enough to keep deer walking past your yard.
Will Cleyera Come Back After Deer Eat Them?
In the unusual event that deer do decide to dine on your cleyera shrubs, regrowth of the foliage is quick. Any ragged-edged leaves that are left on the shrub can be removed to keep the plant looking neat and also to protect it from any secondary pest or disease attacks. Prune back hard any branches that are damaged, cutting all of the way back to where the limb joins a main stem.
Sources: Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station ‘Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance’ 2018
Author Robbin Small - Published 4-25-2023