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Do Deer Eat Azaleas? (Deer Loves Them)

Do Deer Eat Azaleas? (Deer Loves Them)

Azaleas are shrub-like flowers of the rhododendron genus that grow both in gardens and in the wild. They are perfect ground covers for homes and also possess desirable characteristics. The fact that they grow in areas accessible to deer raises the question, “do deer eat azaleas?”

This article will give a perfect explanation of the question above and explain other related questions similarly. The answers in this article will enlighten you on how to groom and protect your azaleas from deer invasion. In the end, you will be familiar with the best practices for maintaining your plant garden.

Read: Do Deer Eat Acorns

Are Azaleas Deer Resistant?

Azaleas are a favorite snack of deer. In fact, this flowering shrub is a sumptuous delicacy that deers enjoy. Deers are one of the most common creatures that eat azaleas. Consider this plant a bingeing snack for deers as they eat all its parts, including the stem.

Deers consume azaleas even though consuming large quantities of this plant is dangerous as it is a tad bit poisonous. White-tailed deer munches on this beautiful shrub, the most of all kinds of deer. They are drawn to it as fish is to water.

Thus, deer will often eat azaleas whenever they come across them. And, as you may have rightly imagined, they don’t stop nibbling until the surface part of the plant is depleted. Thus, deers eat the shoots, flowers, and stems.

After realizing this, country farmers and landowners often use this plant as bait for deer so they can feed on it and ignore the crop plants. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.

As the cold winter season progresses, deers occasionally gallop in search of food. During this time, people who plant azaleas for decorative purposes employ various measures to protect their gardens from deer.

But you shouldn’t bother if deers eat your azalea because the plant will experience regrowth when you apply fertilizer, prune, and water it.

According to a report on plant addicts, the damage rating for deer consumption of azaleas on a scale of rarely damaged to regularly severely damaged reads the latter. Thus, there is no doubt to the fact that deers love to eat azaleas.

Do Deer Eat Azaleas Bushes?

Of course, deers eat azalea bushes. They love and savor the taste of every part of this beautiful plant. As such, it’s a great delight when deers stumble upon azalea bushes, which is why they devour it all.

A hungry deer can eat just about any plant; how much more a bush of one of its favorites? However, though deers enjoy feeding on all parts of an azalea, they mostly enjoy the new soft shoots.

The new protrusions are tender and juicy, so what’s there not to love? But their preference doesn’t mean that they’re picky. A deer will eat every part of an azalea bush, gradually nibbling on it until there’s nothing left.

If you are not cautious, deers will also eat azalea buds in winter, leaving the bush flowerless in spring. I’m certain that deers will go as far as eating azalea roots if they can find them. After all, deers eat the roots of some other plants.

To deers, no plant scent is as aromatizing as that of an azalea. This fact is especially true for the white-tailed species of deer. So, if you have an azalea bush you’ll like to protect, continue reading to see effective measures to take. And if you’ll like to get to it straight away, skip to the fourth section.

Read: Do Deer Eat Nasturtiums

Do Deer Eat Encore Azaleas?

Yes, deer eat encore azaleas. Another name for this lush plant is the evergreen azalea. This species of azalea smells and tastes the same as the regular azalea, so deer cannot differentiate between them.

Encore azalea is a unique variety of shrub. The difference between encore and regular azaleas is that the former grows and blossoms for three seasons consecutively (spring, summer, and fall). On the other hand, the latter lasts for only one season.

Another name for Encore azaleas is evergreen azaleas because, as the name implies, they are always green. The color of evergreen azalea leaves ranges from purple to a lovely tan shade of bronze. When the flowers are not blossoming, the plant shoots out beautiful leaves with rich colors.

All azaleas have a pleasant fragrance, which is why deer find this plant from the rhododendron genus irresistible. They use their sharp sense of smell to perceive and trace encore azaleas till they find the flowery shrubs and happily munch.

Since encore azalea tastes like regular ones, deer love them as well. What’s more? Encore azaleas grow almost all year round, providing deers with an almost year-long supply of lush foliage to enjoy.


How to Protect Your Azaleas From Deer?

The factor that attracts deer to azaleas is their nice smell. The easiest way to protect your azalea from deer is to cover up its fragrance with another that deer find unattractive and unappetizing. You can also erect a high fence to keep the deer out of your garden. There are also other methods you can implement.

There are many ways to protect your azalea from the mouth of hungry deer. After reading through this article, you can select a preferred method or even combine several tactics.

However, you must note that these protective measures do not make your azaleas deer resistant. They only keep the deer away temporarily or permanently. Let’s explore the protective measure for keeping deer away.

You can hide the spray deer repellent on your azalea, but repellents are expensive, and their effectiveness wane after some time. Plus, deer can grow accustomed to the smell of repellents, so you may have to be alternating between strong brands.

However, you can manufacture homemade repellents with ingredients like ginger, spoiled eggs, and any other edible items with a strong smell. This option is easy to access and much cheaper. Another cost-effective method is planting deer-resistant crops around your azaleas, like a hedge.

You can also scare and chase deer away whenever you notice their presence. But this will be stressful. So, consider buying a dog or letting yours loose if you have one. German shepherds are equal to this task.

However, if the deer are smart enough to come around when your dog is asleep, you will need backup protection for your azaleas.

All of the above methods provide temporary protection. You’ll have to build a fence to keep deer out for a long-lasting solution. However, you must note that deer can jump high, so your fence needs to be relatively high.

A solid and sturdy four feet fence is apt for little gardens. But, you must ensure that it is properly embedded into the ground and made of durable material that won’t break easily. Your fence should be equally sturdy and at least eight feet high for more extensive terrain.

Just like two-factor authentication, you may combine two short-term solutions or one short-term solution and a fence.

Read: Do Deer Eat Mandevilla?

Do Rabbits Eat Azaleas?

Yes, rabbits eat azaleas. As herbivores, they can eat most plants even though certain poisonous plants like azaleas are highly toxic to rabbits. However, the toxicity only occurs when rabbits eat azaleas in large quantities. So, rabbits eat tender azaleas and mostly avoid the older ones.

Even though azaleas are toxic, rabbits eat them all the same. Thankfully, the toxic compound isn’t dangerous enough to kill rabbits, so they just fall sick after overindulging.  

Rabbits enjoy this plant to the extent that its nectar becomes addictive, making them crave it constantly. Since the young azalea serves as a delicacy to rabbits, they burrow holes into the ground and eat the plant from its roots.

Hence, for the well-being of your rabbit & the safety of your plants, the best line of action is to create a fence around the young plants to keep rabbits away.

Can Azaleas Grow From Cuttings?

Yes, azaleas can grow from cuttings. This is the best method of propagation for evergreen azaleas. The best seasons to obtain azalea cuttings for rooting are the end of spring and the start of summer. Also, taking azalea cuttings early or late in the afternoon is best.

There are two main methods of propagating azaleas: cutting and planting. It’s best to obtain cuttings from healthy azaleas that are just blooming. Then, you can use sharp secateurs to cut off the stem. By doing this, you will be sure to get semi-hardwood which is the best for planting.

To grow azalea from cutting, after striking and preparing it, you can root it into the soil, and it will grow into an azalea bush in no time. First, however, you must ensure to water the parent plant for a few days before cutting and planting.

What Other Animals Eat Azaleas?

Apart from rabbits and deer, other animals that eat azaleas include squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, cats, and even birds. Though this flowering shrub is toxic to most animals, they still love to nibble its leaves. Certain insects also eat azaleas.

Many animals eat azaleas despite the danger of large quantity consumption. However, deer is the number one eater of this plant, causing severe damage.

Animals that eat azaleas often eat their leaves and flowers, but some can also eat the stem and root. If you have pets that frequent your azalea, you should seek a protective measure for safety purposes.


Azaleas are beautiful bright colored multipurpose flowering shrubs. One of this plant’s most unique qualities is its enticing smell, making it a tasty snack for several animals. Though deer and rabbits love azaleas the most, other animals, pets, and even insects also enjoy them as a meal.

However, consuming excessive quantities of azaleas can make animals sick and damage the plant. Thus, you must always remember to implement protective measures around your encore azalea bush to safeguard your plant and pet(s).