are lupines deer resistant

Are Lupines Deer Resistant? 3 Cheap Ways To Deter Deer

As the beautiful lupines begin to bloom in early June around the mountains and rural countryside of Maine, gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike take notice. But with the arrival of these stunning plants comes the question: are lupines deer resistant?

For those living in rural areas, this is a crucial concern, as deer can quickly damage or even destroy gardens. If you are like me, you’ve spent time investing in your indoor garden before bringing them outside.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about cultivating and protecting your garden and lupine gardens in rural areas. We’ll explore: are lupines deer resistant?

First, What Are Lupines?

Lupines are a genus of plants in the legume family Fabaceae. The genus includes over 199 species, with centers of diversity in North and South America. Smaller centers occur in North Africa and the Mediterranean.

I first saw these beautiful flowers on a trip to Prince Edward Island in Canada. I was thrilled to see them all around our rural area here in Maine when we moved here several years ago.

We had always come up in the winter so the first June here is when I realized we were surrounded by beautiful different colored lupines. 

Beautiful Lupines Blooming

Lupines are a popular garden plant in rural areas, prized for their gorgeous blooms and striking beauty. But when it comes to deer, these beloved plants can be a tempting snack.

Are Lupines Deer Resistant?

While no plant is truly deer-proof, lupines have a few factors in their favor when it comes to resisting deer. For one, they have a bitter taste that deer tend to avoid.

Lupines are a popular choice for gardeners in rural areas due to their height and vibrant colors. But they’re also known for their tough and fuzzy leaves, which many people believe make them deer-resistant.

While it’s true that deer generally steer clear of plants with rough or spiky leaves, it’s also important to consider the context in which the lupines are planted.

If you have a particularly hungry deer population in your area, they may still be willing to nibble on your lupines as a last resort. Are lupines deer resistant when deer are hungry?

Where To Plant Lupines For Deer Resistance

That being said, there are some ways to increase the likelihood of knowing if lupines are deer resistant. Planting them in areas that are difficult for deer to access, such as around sharp corners or behind fences or rocks, can help deter deer from chomping on your plants.

Additionally, planting lupines alongside other deer-resistant plants like salvias or thyme can add an extra layer of protection.

What Attracts Deer?

If you have a mix of both deer-resistant and non-resistant plants in your garden, it’s wise to avoid planting your lupines near anything that might attract deer. This could include lush green bushes, fruit trees, or vegetable gardens.

Additionally, the leaves of many lupine species are hairy or spiky, which can deter deer from munching on them. However, it’s important to note that younger plants are more vulnerable to deer damage than mature ones.

deer and plants

Ways To Deter The Deer From Your Garden

Other Deer Resistant Plants

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Lupines
  • Poppies

Any type of fuzzy plant with little hairs on the leaves will deter a deer from coming near your garden. However, do note that lupines can be toxic to your pets.  These plants contain alkaloids that are known to be harmful, especially to livestock.

Physical Barriers

To protect your lupine garden from deer, there are a few strategies you can try. One popular option is to use physical barriers, such as fences or netting, to keep deer out.

This can be particularly effective for smaller gardens or individual plants.

However, it’s important to make sure your barriers are high enough and properly secured to prevent deer from jumping over or pushing through them.


Another strategy is to use deer repellents, such as sprays or granules, which can be applied directly to the plants or around the garden perimeter.

These repellents usually contain scents or tastes that deer find unpleasant and can help deter them from your garden.

The below picture is an all-natural repellant. Click on the image to see the store where you can purchase them.

deer deter sauce

Best Planting Tips For Lupines

When it comes to planting your lupine garden, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success. (We’ve tried to transplant these deer resistant flowers but thus far with no success.)

Sunshine and Moisture

First, consider planting in a sunny location with good drainage, as lupines prefer well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

Next, make sure to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, as too much moisture can cause root rot and other plant diseases.

Finally, consider companion planting with other deer-resistant plants, such as lavender or rosemary, to further protect your lupines.

Repairing Lupine Plants

If you do experience deer damage to your lupine garden, it’s important to act quickly. Cut any damaged or broken stems and remove any debris or plant material from the garden, as this can attract pests and plant diseases. It may make you wonder if lupines are deer resistant.

Additionally, consider applying a fertilizer or other plant supplement to help your lupines recover from the damage.

Conclusion: Are Lupines Deer Resistant?

In conclusion, lupines can be a beautiful and rewarding addition to any rural garden. While they aren’t completely deer-proof, there are steps you can take to protect your plants from deer damage.

From physical barriers to companion planting, there are many strategies for keeping your garden safe and thriving.

With a little care and attention, you can create a stunning lupine garden that will be the envy of your rural community.

Do you have lupines in your area? Have you ever thought if lupines are deer resistant? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

FAQ: Are Lupines Deer Resistant? 3 Cheap Ways To Deter Deer

Are Lupines Deer Resistant?

Not entirely. Deer may nibble on young shoots, but they usually avoid mature lupines. Planting them in a mixed garden can reduce damage.

Do Deer Eat Lupines in Winter?

Rarely. Lupines die back in winter, and deer often search for other food sources. However, if food is scarce, they might eat the remaining stems.

Can I Plant Lupines in Deer-Prone Areas?

Yes, but use caution. Combine lupines with other deer-resistant plants for better protection. Consider adding a physical barrier like a fence.

What Are Some Cheap Ways to Deter Deer?

  1. Soap Bars: Hang strong-smelling soap bars around your garden. Deer dislike the scent.
  2. Human Hair: Scatter human hair around plants. The smell can keep deer away.
  3. Motion-Activated Sprinklers: Install these to startle deer with sudden bursts of water.

How Effective Are Homemade Deer Repellents?

They can work but aren’t foolproof. Homemade options like garlic or egg sprays can deter deer, but you might need to reapply often, especially after rain.

Will Deer Repellents Harm My Plants?

Most homemade repellents are safe for plants. However, always test a small area first to ensure there’s no damage or discoloration.

Do Deer Avoid Gardens with Strong Scents?

Generally, yes. Deer typically avoid gardens with strong, unfamiliar scents. Using plants like lavender or rosemary can help deter them.

Are There Plants That Naturally Repel Deer?

Yes. Plants like marigolds, foxglove, and yarrow are known to repel deer. Integrating these into your garden can offer natural protection.

Can I Use Fencing to Keep Deer Away?

Absolutely. A fence at least 8 feet tall can effectively keep deer out. For a cheaper option, use fishing line spaced a few feet apart around your garden.

Is There a Specific Time When Deer Are Less Active?

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. If you can, check your garden during these times to apply repellents or check for damage.

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