Salvia is a plant species in the mint family native to South and Central America. It is widely spread across different regions and serves as food for most plant-eating wildlife. Small mammals eat the leaves, stems, and roots of salvia. Birds like sparrows and quails feed on the fruits.
Deer are also expert browsers who feed on several plant species. They will eat different leaves if they are hungry. So, you might wonder if planting salvia attracts deer or other wildlife to your home. Luckily, this guide looks at salvia as a deer deterrent or favorite.
Continue reading to know more.
Do Deer Eat Salvia?
Deer will eat salvia in case of drought or an increase in population in the wild. Also, they might browse on the leaves and stem depending on the season (in winter when alternative food is scarce). If you are keen, you will notice deer eating other plants in your garden apart from salvia.
Salvia has a toxic sap that deer dislike. So, they will avoid the plant if they have another alternative. Similarly, deer might not find older salvia leaves and stems appealing compared to newly-planted salvias that are less toxic and hard to differentiate from their favorite plants.
Salvias are attractive and easy-to-maintain plants. They produce vibrant blooms that attract different pollinators and are a favorite choice for adding wildlife value to your garden. At home, it would be best to protect your salvias by planting them in areas where deer cannot access them. Use deer repellents, barriers, and nets to protect your garden from destruction.
Is Blue Salvia Deer Resistant?
Yes. Blue salvias are deer resistant. Also known as blue sage, these saliva species are deer-resistant perennial plants with a pungent smell that deters deer from browsing on them. However, research shows that no plant in the wild is resistant to deer browsing because these herbivores eat almost all plant species when food is scarce or if there is an increase in competition for food.
Blue salivahas hairy and tough leaves that deer find less appealing. So, it is a great alternative for gardeners who want to include deer-resistant plants.
Aside from their deer-resistant properties, blue saliva is a common perennial plant with many advantages in the garden. Plant lovers prefer blue saliva because of their distinct ornamental fragrance that attracts pollinators. Also, they are drought-tolerant and rabbit-resistant.
If you want to plant blue salvia in your garden, you must understand how to care for it and protect it from deer or common browsers to improve its growth rate.
Are all Salvias Deer Resistant?
No. Not all salvias are deer resistant. Note that deer preference varies from one plant to several saliva varieties. But, most salvias are toxic and have pungent smells that deer do not find appealing. The leaves are also hairy and fuzzy that deer will not enjoy browsing.
Deer are herbivores that dine on most plant species in the wild. These expert browsers, however, prefer leaves that do not have pungent smells or acidic sap. But deer will consume deer-resistant plants when there is either an increase in population or a decrease in food supply.
Here is a list of a few saliva varieties that are considered deer resistant.
1. Autumn sage (Salvia greggii)
2. Jerusalem sage (Phlomis spp.)
3. Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)
4. Purple sage (Salvia dorrii)
5. Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Not only deer but many other animals in the wild do not like plants with leathery or tough leaves. So, they will seek alternative food sources to supplement their diet.
Lastly, we cannot conclude that no plant is deer resistant. These herbivores can adapt to eating several species of plants depending on a few factors. It would be best to include a few salivas with properties that deer dislike in your garden to reduce plant destruction.
How to Keep Deer Away From Salvia?
Deer will browse salvia when there is a scarcity of food in the wild. Remember that deer might approach your salvia and also browse other plants in the garden. It is best to protect salvia to avoid destruction by deer or other wildlife If you have planted them in the garden.
Here are four effective techniques to keep persistent deer away from your salvia in the garden. Use any combination, depending on the level of threat.
Plant deer-resistant salvia varieties
As discussed earlier, some salvia varieties are more attractive to deer than others. To discourage deer from your garden or other salvia varieties, plant and surround your garden perimeter with less appealing salvia like Salvia officinalis, Salvia nemorosa, or Salvia x sylvestris.
Planting deer-resistant plants
Apart from planting less attractive salvia varieties around your garden, you can grow other less appealing plants to keep deer away. A few varieties include lavender, rosemary, or thyme.
Create a barrier and surround your garden with any species to deter deer from penetrating to eat other salvias.
Using deer repellants
There are many commercial sprays you can purchase to repel deer. Spray around the garden or directly on your salvia. Deer will not like the repellant smell, hence keeping away.
But remember to purchase repellants with natural ingredients to avoid damaging other plants in the garden.
Use physical barriers
The most common barriers include nets and fences around the garden. These barriers are effective in keeping deer away from your salvia.
As a preventive approach, erect tall netting and fences to prevent deer from jumping across.
Will Salvia Come Back After Deer Eat Them?
Generally, salvia is a low-maintenance adaptable plant that requires minimum attention from humans. Some species grow and successfully thrive in the wild even after continuous browsing by herbivores. The time it takes for a salvia plant to regrow (after deer browsing) depends on the variety or level of damage.
Here are a few instances:
A tree might regrow and recover if deer chew the leaves or stems causing minor damage. Conversely, a salvia plant might not recover well if deer severely eat its stem and roots.
Remember that a few saliva species are more resilient than others. So, they can quickly recover even after deer browsing.
The season or environment is another factor that determines whether a salvia might recover after damage. In summer, for instance, plants often grow slowly. So, when salvia is damaged in summer, it might be hard to recover, unlike that damaged during winter or spring.
Lastly, deer do not prefer salvia because of its pungent smell and bitter-tasting leaves. They will only browse it if there is an increase in the deer population in the wild or change in season.
If you have salvia shrubs in your garden, it would be best to protect them from damage. Also, you should maintain your salvia by watering them or adding manure after deer damage to help it regrow faster.
Will Rabbits Eat Salvias?
Yes. Rabbits will occasionally eat salvias. However, they might concentrate on newly-grown or young plants because of their tenderness and low toxicity. Although, salvias are not a favorite option for rabbits. But they might feed on them due to the lack of edible plants.
Rabbits are herbivores that enjoy browsing several plants, including different species of wild ones. Salvia falls among deer-resistant and not rabbit-resistant plants.
To protect salvias in the garden from rabbit damage, you can install barriers, use repellants, or choose less appetizing salvias to plant in your garden.
In case of damage to your salvias, you should prune the damaged areas to avoid further destruction. Afterward, you need to fertilize and provide enough water to the salvia to encourage faster and better growth.
Providing care and maintenance guarantees better salvia growth in the garden.
What Plants do Deer Hate the Most?
Apart from dining on most plant varieties, deer might not prefer a few plant species – this could be because of their high toxicity levels of leaf texture. However, deer might sometimes dine on the plants they hate the most when food is scarce.
Here are five of the most common plants deer hate the most. You can even consider planting them in your garden to deter deer.
Lavender: These plants have an irritating pungent smell that deters deer from browsing.
Daffodils: These plants have toxic compounds that might affect deer when ingested.
Mint: Like lavender, mint has a strong smell that deer find unappealing.
Rosemary: The irritating smell of the Rosemary plant also deters deer. Rosemary is an ideal option for the garden.
Barberry: This shrub has needle-like leaves with thorny branches, making it difficult for deer to eat.
Deer have a ferocious appetite for plants. They can eat different varieties when if they lack their favorite alternative. Furthermore, deer might destroy your garden if you don’t take the necessary precautions to keep them away. As a natural deer-deterrent remedy, grow plants that deer do not like but are attractive in the garden.
Deer are expert browsers that consume several plant species in the wild. Contrary, these herbivores will devour the most unexpected plants either because of competition in the wild or lack of a better alternative.
Salvias are flowering plants that are not a favorite option for deer or rabbits. However, they might occasionally browse the stems or leaves.
This guide has looked at when and why deer consume salvias and the types of varieties available.