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Do Deer Eat Calla Lily

» Deer stories » Deer resistant plants » Do Deer Eat Calla Lily
gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: perennials
Deer resistant: yes
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

Calla lily (arum lily) are a flowering plant species native to South Africa with trumpet-shaped blooms that come in a variety of colors, including white, shades of pink, yellow, and even deep purples.

What sets Calla lilies apart are their unique, arrow-shaped leaves, which add an architectural element to gardens and floral arrangements. These lush, dark green leaves provide a beautiful backdrop to the splendid large flowers, creating an interesting contrast.

wild calla lillies

Photo by Zetong Li

Are Calla Lillies Deer Proof?

So one notable attribute of Calla lilies, especially for gardeners dealing with deer infestations, is their deer resistance!

These plants are often classified as deer-proof due to their unappetizing taste and toxicity to animals. While no plant is completely impervious to deer, Calla lilies are generally not their first (or second, or third) choice, making them a valuable addition to gardens in deer-prone areas.

red arum lillies

Photo by Ashley Levinson

On our farm, Calla lillies grow inside deer paddocks like weeds. The animals ignore them completely.

So no wonder that here in New Zealand and in western Australia, Calla lily is seen as an aggressive invader of riparian areas and pastureland.

"Long-lived and persists under regenerating canopy, forming dense patches excluding other vegetation. Tolerates wet, wind, salt, hot to cold, most soil types and moderate shade, and is drought-resistant once established. Stock avoid it as it is poisonous, allowing it to gradually dominate grazed sites." [ source ]

In US, while this plant is invasive in California, in cooler states it can actually "behave itself" and be grown as an annual [ source ]

We mention invasiveness feature as another testimony to the fact that these plants are deer resistant if not deer proof. It's easy to become invasive if nothing wants to eat you.

Here, found an accidental shot of more lillies in deer paddocks. They grow and grow, deer are not interested in them.

calla lillies in deer paddocks

So if the look and feel of arum lillies appeal to you, go ahead and plant them for a deer resistant garden. These lillies are generally hardy in zones 8 to 10 according to Gardenia, and there you can read all about how to plant and care for them.

Top10, Fluffyduck and Calla Lily

Here is a short footage of a couple of deer by the water tank, with a Calla Lily in the background. It has survived to be this tall despite almost daily deer visits.

If you've enjoyed our post and are looking to buy some bulbs or seeds for planting on Amazon, we'd appreciate you using our link to search for calla lily bulbs here. Won't cost you any extra but might earn us a small reward. Happy planting!

Last modified 07 October 2023 at 11:52

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