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Do Deer Eat Peas? (We've tested!)

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gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: vines
Deer resistant: no
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

As beginner gardeners, we've tried to grow our first pea plant this year and it was a success! We've grown a big vine against our trellis with lots of pods in the end.

BUT! We've preemptively planted our snow pea plant out of our deer devils reach. And only then tried and offered them some plant parts already when we were pulling it out at the end of the peas season.

Ours was pisum sativum, Shiraz, with beautiful purple pods, which aside from the enticing color are also easy to spot and harvest, so give it a try next time.

deer and garden pea plants

Deer are, as per usual, cautious with any new plants they come across, and since our deer have never encountered pea plants before, they first were a little unsure. 

But the outcome was rather predictable; deer ate the whole lot. Stems, pods, tendrils - all gone.

deer eating snow pea plant

You may notice the slugs and snails had a feast on it as well. Since it was planted in winter, wettest season, those pests were abundant, and pea wasn't even their favorite plant, this is just them having a light snack!

But back to our deer. Yes, so another disappointing result. Garden peas are definitely on deers' menu. Keep them fenced off or employ other, less surefire way to protect your plants. We've covered a myriad of them in our post.

Deer Eating Pea Plant (Video)

See for yourself how our deer are trying to eat some cut pea parts off the ground. A bit unsure which end to go for, as these vines are loose, not attached to the plant, as they're used to.

In a somewhat related matter, what about fragrant sweet peas?

Do Deer Eat Sweet Peas?

We've actually planted them by mistake, thinking they're edible garden peas )) Don't confuse the two, because sweet peas, despite their sugary name, are inedible and considered somewhat poisonous to people.

our sweet pea plants

But deer... this may be a different matter. Our deer did eat our sweet pea plant. Same story, a bit of hesitation initially, but then 'yes, give us more, yum yum'.

Have even seen them eat the fragrant flowers, which is unusual but not shocking, I mean, they eat the odorous Star jasmine and French marigold, which is also quite aromatic. Still, this is just one test, doesn't yet mean they'd severely damage the plant. Some things they eat a bit and walk away in search of better pastures... But definitely they do consider it edible.

doe chewing a sweet pea flower

Oh and those fragrant flowers - they're really strongly perfumed. If you cut just a few, like a dozen of them and place into your room it will be filled with the aroma. But watch out, it is really powerful on the first day.

Bonus: Young doe ( Charky or Fluffy ) spook moment when sweet pea tendril got stuck in her teeth and she felt the whole bunch was now attached to her mouth, following her.

deer got pea tendril stuck in teeth

Last modified 09 December 2023 at 08:27

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