Deer, those graceful and often elusive creatures of the wild, have a rather unexpected penchant for indulging in succulent delicacies, raising questions about their dietary preferences and the potential impact on garden enthusiasts across various states and cities in the United States. As these herbivorous mammals roam through forests, suburbs, and urban parks alike, they leave gardeners and succulent enthusiasts wondering whether their cherished plants are at risk.

In this exploration, we'll delve into the states and cities where deer are known to have a taste for succulents, unravel the mysteries behind their dietary choices, discover methods to safeguard these beloved plants and uncover which common succulents might be considered toxic to these curious herbivores.

In which states and cities of the United States the deer would eat succulents?


Deer have a taste for succulents in various parts of the United States, particularly in rural and suburban areas where they roam freely. States with substantial deer populations, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and regions of the Northeast and West Coast, often experience these herbivores feasting on succulent gardens. Additionally, cities located near natural habitats or parks may also see deer nibbling on these beloved plants. While not all deer share this preference, residents in these areas should be mindful of the potential for deer to visit their succulent gardens.


Do Deer Eat Succulents?


Yes, deer do eat succulents sometimes, but it's essential to understand that succulents are not their favorite food. Deer are plant-eating animals and usually munch on things like grass, bushes, and trees. Succulents are far from the top of their menu, but they might take a nibble if they come across them.

Why do deer eat succulents?


Deer consume succulents for several reasons, including their nutritional value, water content, and seasonal availability. These resilient herbivores adapt their diet based on what's accessible in their habitat, and succulents can serve as a source of hydration and essential nutrients, especially in arid regions. Taste and palatability also play a role, with some succulents offering flavours and textures that appeal to deer. In areas with reduced natural predators and human-altered landscapes, deer may become more willing to explore new food sources, such as garden succulents. While deer's preference for succulents can vary, gardeners often take precautions like using protective fencing or repellents to safeguard their prized plants from these curious herbivores.

How do we protect succulents from deer?


If you have deer roaming around your area and want to protect your beloved succulents from becoming their snack, here are some practical ways to do it.

Hiding Succulents By Other Plants


One of the most natural and visually pleasing ways to safeguard your succulent plants from deer is to design your garden with a mix of succulents and other plants that deer tend to avoid. Deer are cautious creatures and are more likely to stay away from areas with unfamiliar or unappetizing plants.

Planting your succulents alongside deer-resistant species creates a natural deterrent that makes your garden less enticing to these herbivores. When selecting companion plants, choose those with characteristics that deer dislike, such as strong scents, fuzzy or spiky leaves, or bitter-tasting sap. Examples of such deer-resistant plants include lavender, rosemary, Agastache, yarrow, and various ornamental grasses.




Fencing is among the most efficient methods to protect your succulent garden from deer. To make sure your fencing works effectively, take these factors into account:

● Height is crucial for fencing to keep deer away from your succulent garden. Deer are excellent jumpers, so your fence should be a minimum of 6 to 8 feet tall to discourage them from trying to leap over it.

● The sturdiness of your fence is vital. Deer can apply substantial force when attempting to access an appealing area. Ensure your fence is robust and secure by reinforcing the posts and addressing any weak points to prevent deer from pushing through.

● Eliminating gaps or openings in your fence is important because deer are skilled at squeezing through small spaces. Make sure there are no openings that would allow them access to your garden.

● If you're dealing with exceptionally high deer pressure in your area, consider using electric fencing as an extra deterrent. Electric fences give deer a mild shock when they touch them, which gives them a strong incentive to steer clear of the area entirely.


Using Deer Repellents


Deer repellents are products that discourage deer from eating succulents and other plants. There are two main types of repellents:

● Taste-based repellents: These products make plants taste bitter or unpleasant to deer using ingredients like garlic, eggs, or capsaicin (found in chili peppers). The idea is that when deer eat treated plants, they'll find them unappetizing and avoid them in the future.

● Scent-based repellents: These use strong-smelling substances that deer dislike. The smell signals to deer that the area is unappealing or unsafe.

When using deer repellents, following the manufacturer's instructions is essential. You may need to reapply them, especially after rain or heavy watering, as these can wash away the product. However, exercise caution when applying repellents to edible succulents or in areas frequented by pets or children. Some repellents may not be safe for consumption or contact.

Motion Sensors


Installing motion sensors is another tactic to shield your succulents. There are various types of motion sensors available, each with its own approach. Some use water sprays or emit sounds to deter animals. However, it's important to note that deer can get used to repetitive noises and lights. Initially, a motion sensor might startle them, but it might become less effective once they realize there's no real threat.

To address this, you can opt for motion sensors that emit constantly changing radio sounds. Deer have a natural fear of human voices, and they're less likely to enter an area where these unfamiliar noises persist. This helps maintain the element of surprise and keeps the deer from becoming too comfortable in your garden.

Which common succulents are poisonous to value?


While deer often avoid succulents due to their bitter taste or tough textures, some can be toxic to deer if ingested. It's important to note that the degree of toxicity can vary, and not all deer may be affected in the same way. Some common succulents that are known to be potentially toxic to value include:

1. Agave: Many species of agave contain compounds that can be harmful to value if consumed in large quantities.

2. Aloe Vera: The gel inside aloe vera leaves is often used for its medicinal properties, but it can be toxic to more if ingested.

3. Euphorbia: Plants in the Euphorbia genus, including Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii), can be toxic to deer. They contain a milky latex sap that can cause irritation and digestive issues.

4. Kalanchoe: Some species of Kalanchoe can be toxic to more due to compounds called bufadienolides.

5. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata): While not highly toxic, jade plants can cause mild digestive upset if consumed by deer.

6. Sempervivum: Also known as hens and chicks, some species may contain compounds that are unpalatable to value.


It's worth noting that while these succulents may be considered potentially toxic to deer, deer typically avoid them due to their unappealing taste or texture. However, if they are hungry or have limited food options, they may nibble on these succulents. If you're concerned about deer damage to your succulents, it's a good idea to research deer-resistant plants or use protective measures such as fencing or repellents to keep deer at bay.



Although deer eat succulents, you can keep your beautiful plants safe with simple tricks. Learn when deer might nibble on your succulents and use things like fences and repellents to stop them. To be sure, use more than one method to make your garden both pretty and deer-proof. Happy gardening!

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