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Cyclamen: Putting deer-resistant plants to the test.

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gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: bulbs
Deer resistant: somewhat
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

If you're planning to have a nice garden by your house but have deer as your neighbours, you might have your hopes and dreams crushed. Or rather, chomped down. Trimmed. Destroyed. Stomped over. And so you might be wondering, are there really deer-resistant and even deer-proof flowers and plants? Greenery they simply won't touch? We would like to know that too! Let's find out empirically, by putting some supposedly deer-resistant plants to the test.

🎯 If you're looking for Heuchera (Coral Bells) we have moved its page here.

On our farm, we can go directly to our deer and ask them, whether they find certain plants deer-resistant or ... deer-irresistable? Keep in mind, our deer are well fed, so definitely not out of hunger do they munch on stuff. And wild deer will be hungrier.

Deer testing today: Cyclamen.

Cyclamen (🙃sound like a cyclope spiderman or something) is a genus of flowering plants that belong to the family Primulaceae. They are known for their beautiful, showy flowers that come in a variety of colors, including pink, red, white, and purple. They grow on long stems and have five petals that are twisted and reflexed at the tips.

Cyclamen plants have distinctive leaves that are heart-shaped and slightly twisted. 

These plants are popular because they are relatively easy to care for and can bloom for several months. They prefer cool temperatures and indirect light, making them ideal for growing in the cooler months of the year, when most other things stop blooming.

So will deer eat this beautiful plant? Let's ask our farm's elder Babushka, she'd seen (and smelled) it all.

Cyclamen. They say, are deer-resistant. True or false? Our deer make a judgement:

is cyclamen deer proof

cyclamen is not deer-proof

FALSE! Cyclamen is NOT deer-resistant!

It's gotten rather heavily trimmed as well:

cyclamen chomped up by deer

To be fair, it's not deers' top favorite, for example, tomato plants will get attacked within seconds of discovery. Cyclamen can sometimes survive a few hours of deer browsing nearby plants, but eventually all of the flowers disappear. This one time, some deer even took to digging cyclamen bulbs out of the ground. Disaster. So we have to hide our cyclamen from deer just the same. They are beautiful and easy to grow plants that love part-shade and indeed require little attention.

Will cyclamen grow back if damaged by deer?

Good news: yes. If the bulb was preserved then simply adding some compost on top and watering from time to time helps to bring the flowers back 'from the dead'. Bad news: it takes a long time for the plant to regrow. Months, if only the bulb survived.

Will keep running our 'deer lab' and keeping you updated with so far utterly disappointing results.

Read how to protect your plants without a deer fence.

Last modified 2023-02-26 at 11:45

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Plants alphabetically
Aagapanthus [bulbs]anemone [bulbs]armeria [perennials]arugula [annuals]aster [annuals]
Bbamboo [perennials]
Ccalla lilly [bulbs]coneflower [perennials]courgette [annuals]cyclamen [bulbs]
Ffoxglove [perennials]freesia [bulbs]
Hheuchera [perennials]hyacinth [bulbs]hydrangea [shrubs]
Iiris [perennials]
Jjasmine [vines]
Llobularia [annuals]
Mmarigold [annuals]mint [perennials]
Nnasturtium [perennials]
Ppea [vines]purple toadflax [perennials]
Ssalvia splendens [perennials]snowflake [bulbs]sweet potato [annuals]
Ttomato [perennials]

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