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Do Deer Eat Salvia Splendens? Test!

» Deer stories » Deer resistant plants » Do Deer Eat Salvia Splendens? Test!
gardener notes Gardeners Notes
Plant type: perennials
Deer resistant: somewhat
Our plant hardiness zone:
New Zealand: subtropical
U.S. Zone 10b

The other day a bright red spot caught my eye in the garden center. So I came back with a pack of salvias.

Salvia splendens 'Saucy Red', also known as Scarlet Sage or 'Lighthouse Red', is a tender herbaceous perennial plant native to Brazil, grown for its lush scarlet-red flower spikes.

Of course, if you live with deer around and let them roam close to your garden now and again, you want to know how keen they are on that new type of plant you've decided to grow. Sadly, in most cases deer find the plant appealing enough to eat. But what if, maybe, one day, I stumble upon a flower they find disgusting?
So sages, some say are deer resistant, but is Scarlet Sage? One way to find out - run a test with our animals.

Watch what our deer do when they encounter Scarlet Sage

Do deer like to eat salvia splendens plant? At first, deer didn't seem too interested, some walked away, and there was hope scarlet red salvia was safe. But then comes Cricket and takes its head off: "Don't mind if I do, thank you very much, nom nom!". Other deer seemed readly to follow her example. Disappointing.

Previously, we've reported on deer eating our cyclamen. This story had a continuation of them breaking even further into the area and taking some plants down to their root base. We've preserved the bulbs and they seem to be showing new growth.

Salvias should be able to withstand some pruning, we'll see what happens to these ones after the attack.

Update February 2023: all plants  featured in the video survived this attack.

salvia before and after deer

It is of course, quite frustrating to see your carefully planted flowers chomped down. Deer and beautiful gardens don't mix. A truly deer resistant plant is one they can't get to. But deer sure have their preferences and there are less appealing and irresistable to them plants. We'll keep testing and updating you on the results. Hopefully one day we'll be able to win this battle and plant a deer resistant yet beautiful garden.

Other varieties of sages, reportedly, are less appetizing to deer and might actually be a good option. We just haven't gotten to them yet. So stay tuned.

2023 Promising update: Once these Salvia Splendens plants got established and grew up, deer seem to have lost the interest in it. Thus it appears that young plants are particularly vulnerable, but overall red sage is quite deer resistant.

Slugs though have been doing enormous damage to it all this time, its one of their favorite plants to attack, leaves looking like lace.

⚘ Do you like Scarlet Sage? Are you growing any salvias? Share your experience in the comments below.

Last modified 17 October 2023 at 18:20

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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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