Is Salvia Deer Resistant?

Although no plant is truly “deer-resistant”, salvia plants are quite safe from hungry deer. Deer tend to go for grasses, fruit, nuts and so much more. Salvia plants contain many pungent properties within their leaves, stems and flowers that deer do not typically find the taste delectable. More than likely, unless your landscape is nothing but salvia and you have a very hungry deer with nothing else to eat, your salvia will be safe.

In the off-chance deer do actually eat from your salvia, that is nothing to worry about! Salvia plants do well with light pruning and may actually benefit from having part of the plants removed.

According to Rutgers University this plant is Rarely Damaged on their rating scale from Rarely Damaged to Frequently Severely Damaged. If you are concerned that your salvia may be eaten by your local deer, read on for potential deer deterrents you can use in your landscape. 

Keeping Deer Away From Salvia

Although deer are not a main concern for salvia plants, there is nothing wrong with using extra precaution for protecting your salvia!

For edible salvia, it is not recommended to use spray deer deterrents as this will affect the taste and edibility. There are many options when using spray isn’t recommended, such as: fencing, human hair in a mesh bag at the base of your salvia, and companion planting with plants like marigolds.

Ornamental salvia varieties that serve no edible purpose may have deer deterrent spray used to prevent deer from munching on your beautiful blooms if deer are a concern in your area.

Salvia tends to be deer-resistant and you may not need to have any deterrents for your plants to thrive. Determining your local deer population and what food sources they may have available for them to eat will help you make the best decision of what is favorable to your landscape.


Will Salvia Come Back After Deer Eat Them?

Salvia plants are very adaptable to their environment. If a deer becomes quite hungry and does end up eating your salvia, don’t worry! This is a free pruning session that you didn’t have to initiate.

If deer do end up pruning your salvia for you, you may wish to even out the plant so it looks more uniform. This is a great time to take cuttings!

If you’d prefer to not even bother with additional pruning, your salvia should make a full recovery quickly. However, if deer have completely taken your salvia plant(s) down to the root base, you will want to add plenty of aged compost overtop the root base to give a boost for the re-growth.

Overall, salvia are quite deer-resistant and will do quite well whether they are a snack to local deer or not. This makes salvia a great addition to any landscape amongst their many other benefits!

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


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Author Chris Link - Published 03-07-2022