Petunias are a popular flowering plant that is primarily grown as an annual. Best known as perennials, these plants are abundantly found in US hardiness zones 10 to 11. Interestingly, many experts tend to claim that petunias are resistant to deer.
But is that true?
Well, deer are known to devour any plant they stumble upon. Although certain plants are more susceptible to be eaten by deer, petunias do not fall in that category. They might, however, be damaged if one or more deer visit your yard.
Also, it is worth noting that deer can consume almost any plant if they are hungry enough. So, if a hungry deer chances to visit your petunia yard, they might as well end up devouring it. Over the next few sections, we will discuss the risk posed by deer to your petunia plants. Additionally, we will also share some guidelines that will help protect your yard from potential deer attacks.
Are Petunias Deer Resistant?
Unfortunately, petunias are not deer resistant. As with any other succulent, deer will spot your petunias and immediately choose to devour them.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent deer from encroaching your yard and in the following sections, we will discuss all of it.
Why Do Deer Like Petunias?
One of the biggest reasons why deer prefer petunias is because they are young plants with almost succulent growth. Since deer are especially fond of succulents, there’s no way they are going to miss out on your petunias. Petunias will grow from spring until the first few months of frost and deer will almost instantly jump to devour them.
Most deer also prefer them because they are extremely moist. In case you are experiencing issues with deer while growing petunias, you will need to go the extra mile for ensuring proper protection which in turn will minimize the damage caused by them.
How Do You Keep Deer From Eating Petunias?
While deer will almost always take the opportunity to devour your petunias, there are some ways to prevent them from doing this. Following is a list of guidelines that will help protect your property from deer infestation.
1. Establish Levels
This is probably one of the easiest ways to keep deer at bay. Since these animals aren’t the best climbers you might want to add a bunch of terraces or beds to dissuade them from encroaching your yard. In case your property is woodsy, you might also want to add a bunch of pallets. Since most deer are afraid of pallets, they would no longer enter your yard or harm your beautiful petunias.
2. Add the Right Fence
Fences are often deemed to be the best way to protect your property from deer. You might want to add a bunch of straight fences with a height of 8 feet. Once you do this, the deer can no longer jump right over them. If this doesn’t work in your favor, you can also add fences with a height of 6 feet and a slant of 45 degrees.
Available in a range of materials including wire and mesh, these are one of the best ways to protect your property from deer attacks. At this point, you are probably wondering what to choose between mesh and wired fences. Here, it is worth noting that mesh fences are not as sturdy as their wired counterparts. However, they beautifully blend with your garden surroundings and are also convenient to operate.
In case you are planning to set up an electric fence, we recommend using a single strand that’s at least 30 inches away from the ground. This fence should also be flagged with a tape or a poly tape causing the deer to notice it before they try jumping over.
3. Get Plants With Fuzzy Foliage
This is yet another surefire way to ward off deer from your property. You can always plant a bunch of deer-resistant plants around your petunia to keep the deer at bay. While exploring your options, closely examine the type of foliage the plants come with. The easiest way to do this is by rubbing the leaf around your cheek. In case you think the leaf has tiny hairs, it might be an excellent choice for your garden.
Most deer do not enjoy textures that are hairy and fuzzy. Since these plants bother their tongues, they won’t bother eating them up. In case you manage to place your precious petunias right in the middle of these plants, you might as well be assured of deer not touching them.
Common options can be flowering tobaccos, yarrows, poppies, vervains, and similar other flowers. You can also plant a bunch of lavenders and peonies. Although they do not feature fuzzy leaves, the strong scent of these flowers will repel deer, ultimately keeping them away from your yard.
If you are not sure of what plant to get, choose multiple plants, and position the petunias strategically near them. This way, you will soon be left with a sprawling garden that is free from potential deer attacks.
4. Use Invisible Nets
This is yet another great way to keep deer off your property. Just get a quality black mesh net and fasten it to a garden post (wooden or metal). This simple tactic will go a long way in keeping deer away from your petunias.
While fastening the netting to the garden post make sure it is at least 8 feet tall. This will act as a major hindrance preventing the deer to jump right over. Also, for the first few months after setting the fence, you might want to add a couple of colorful streamers right above the fence. This will prevent the deer from accidentally moving over it, in case they are scared.
5. Fence Your Petunias Individually
In case you don’t quite like the idea of getting a fence for your entire yard, you can always fence the petunias individually. Just add a layer of netting over your plant and then proceed to create a solid and sturdy fence around it. This method is quite convenient and it won’t take you much time to set the entire thing up.
6. Use Homemade Deer Repellants
Homemade deer repellants work just as well as their artificial counterparts. All you need is some patience and the correct trial and error strategy. One of the easiest ways to go about this is by hanging strips of fabric softeners along with the trees. If this doesn’t work, team it up with a wrapped soap bar. Both these scents will confuse the deer and repel them from your yard.
You might also want to use pepper sprays, a mixture of garlic and egg, and rags soaked with ammonia in your garden. As with you, the deer will find these items smelly and they will no longer be attracted to your petunias.
Just like commercial items, the hack here is to keep mixing things up and using multiple items until you finally figure out the most effective method. While this might appear intimidating at the outset, at the end of the day, it will be truly rewarding given the fact that your garden is now completely safe from deer attacks.
7. Try String Fishing Lines
This is a cheap and effective way to ward off deer from your property. Easier than setting an entire fence, this process doesn’t take much time either. All you need is a string of your fishing line (monofilament preferred) along the flower beds.
Make sure they are positioned right in proximity to the deer feeding spot, typically not more than three to four feet over the ground. Just like light, smell, or glass, this string-based barrier will confuse the deer, eventually scaring them off.
What Other Animals Eat Petunias?
While most deer prefer enjoying your petunias to themselves, they aren’t the only suspect here. Your beautiful flowers may also be at risk from rabbits, squirrels, mice, budworms, chickens, and a range of other animals and insects.
If you find your petunias ravaged overnight, your first suspect should be the rabbits. While white-tailed deer and mules can also do this, they do not usually ruin the entire garden like rabbits. Squirrels too are especially fond of petunias, though unlike deer, they prefer the foliage over the flowers. Most squirrels are attracted to the spicy flavor of the petunia leaves.
Among insects, the biggest culprits would be caterpillars, budworms, and cutworms. Most of them prefer eating the leaves and buds of the plant as opposed to the entire thing. Still, you should do your bit to keep them off your property.
Well, now that you have a clear idea about whether or not deer might consume your petunias, what are you waiting for? Follow our guidelines and devise a solid strategy to keep deer and other wild animals at bay. Remember, with smart planning and a tad bit of diligence, you can have your perfect petunia blooms throughout the summer. Keep doing your homework (like reading our blog) and you will soon have a blooming yard free from potential animal attacks.