Is Creeping Phlox Deer Resistant?


Is Creeping Phlox Deer Resistant?

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a popular groundcover plant known for its vibrant blooms and low-maintenance nature. However, gardeners often wonder if this plant is resistant to deer, as these animals can be a significant threat to ornamental plants.

In this article, we will delve into the deer resistance of creeping phlox, exploring its natural defenses and the factors that can influence its susceptibility to deer browsing. We will also provide practical tips for protecting creeping phlox from deer damage, ensuring its beauty and health in your garden.

While creeping phlox is generally considered deer resistant, its attractiveness to deer can vary depending on several factors. Let’s explore these factors and the measures you can take to protect your plants.

Is Creeping Phlox Deer Resistant?

Deer resistance in creeping phlox is influenced by several factors. Here are 10 key points to consider:

  • Generally deer resistant
  • Unpalatable foliage
  • Low nutritional value
  • Dense growth habit
  • Deer pressure
  • Plant maturity
  • Location
  • Companion planting
  • Physical barriers
  • Repellents

Understanding these factors will help you assess the deer resistance of creeping phlox in your specific situation and take appropriate measures to protect your plants.

Generally deer resistant

Creeping phlox is generally considered deer resistant due to several reasons:

  • Unpalatable foliage: The leaves of creeping phlox contain compounds that make them unappealing to deer. These compounds give the leaves a slightly bitter taste and a rough texture, deterring deer from browsing on them.
  • Low nutritional value: Creeping phlox is not a highly nutritious plant, providing little energy or sustenance for deer. As a result, deer tend to prefer other, more nutritious plants when available.
  • Dense growth habit: Creeping phlox forms a dense mat of foliage, making it less accessible and less attractive to deer. The dense growth can also help to deter deer from entering planted areas where creeping phlox is present.
  • Deer pressure: The level of deer pressure in your area can influence the deer resistance of creeping phlox. In areas with high deer populations or during times of food scarcity, deer may be more likely to browse on creeping phlox, even though it is generally not their preferred food source.

While creeping phlox is generally deer resistant, it is important to note that no plant is completely deer-proof. Factors such as plant maturity, location, and the presence of other food sources can affect how deer interact with creeping phlox in your garden.

Unpalatable foliage

One of the primary reasons for the deer resistance of creeping phlox is its unpalatable foliage. The leaves of creeping phlox contain compounds that make them taste bitter and unpleasant to deer. These compounds include:

  • Iridoids: Iridoids are a group of bitter-tasting compounds found in many plants, including creeping phlox. These compounds deter deer from browsing on the leaves, as they can cause digestive upset and discomfort.
  • Phenolic compounds: Phenolic compounds are another group of compounds that contribute to the unpalatability of creeping phlox leaves. These compounds give the leaves a slightly astringent taste and can also be irritating to the mouth and throat of deer.

In addition to their bitter taste, the leaves of creeping phlox also have a rough texture that can further deter deer from browsing. The leaves are covered in small, hair-like projections that can irritate the mouth and throat of deer, making them less likely to eat the leaves.

The combination of bitter taste and rough texture makes the foliage of creeping phlox unappealing to deer, contributing to its overall deer resistance.

It is important to note that while creeping phlox is generally deer resistant due to its unpalatable foliage, there are some factors that can affect its palatability to deer. These factors include the age of the plant, the availability of other food sources, and the level of deer pressure in the area.

Low nutritional value

Another factor contributing to the deer resistance of creeping phlox is its low nutritional value. Creeping phlox is not a highly nutritious plant, providing little energy or sustenance for deer. This is due to several reasons:

  • Low protein content: Creeping phlox leaves have a low protein content compared to other plants. Protein is an essential nutrient for deer, and they will typically prefer to eat plants that are higher in protein.
  • High fiber content: Creeping phlox leaves also have a high fiber content. Fiber is difficult for deer to digest, and it can also make them feel full without providing much nutritional value.
  • Low moisture content: Creeping phlox leaves have a low moisture content compared to other plants. Deer need to consume a lot of water to stay hydrated, and they will typically prefer to eat plants that are higher in moisture.

The combination of low protein content, high fiber content, and low moisture content makes creeping phlox a less desirable food source for deer. As a result, deer are less likely to browse on creeping phlox, even when other food sources are scarce.

Dense growth habit

Creeping phlox has a dense growth habit, forming a thick mat of foliage that can deter deer from browsing. The dense growth habit of creeping phlox makes it less accessible and less attractive to deer for several reasons:

  • Physical barrier: The dense growth of creeping phlox creates a physical barrier that can make it difficult for deer to reach the嫩叶of the plant. This barrier can help to protect the plant from browsing, especially when deer are hungry or when other food sources are scarce.
  • Reduced visibility: The dense foliage of creeping phlox can also reduce visibility for deer, making it more difficult for them to spot the plant. This reduced visibility can help to deter deer from browsing on creeping phlox, as they are less likely to eat plants that they cannot easily see.
  • Unfavorable microclimate: The dense growth of creeping phlox can create an unfavorable microclimate for deer. The dense foliage can trap moisture and create a humid environment that is not ideal for deer. This unfavorable microclimate can further deter deer from browsing on creeping phlox.

The dense growth habit of creeping phlox is an important factor contributing to its deer resistance. By creating a physical barrier, reducing visibility, and creating an unfavorable microclimate, the dense growth habit helps to protect creeping phlox from deer browsing.

Deer pressure

The level of deer pressure in your area can influence the deer resistance of creeping phlox. Deer pressure refers to the abundance and activity of deer in a given area. In areas with high deer populations or during times of food scarcity, deer may be more likely to browse on creeping phlox, even though it is generally not their preferred food source.

When deer pressure is high, deer may be forced to eat a wider variety of plants in order to meet their nutritional needs. This can include plants that are not typically on their menu, such as creeping phlox. In these situations, the dense growth habit and unpalatable foliage of creeping phlox may not be enough to deter deer from browsing.

However, it is important to note that deer pressure can vary greatly from one area to another. In areas with low deer populations or during times of food abundance, deer may be less likely to browse on creeping phlox, even if it is readily available.

Therefore, when assessing the deer resistance of creeping phlox in your garden, it is important to consider the level of deer pressure in your area. If deer pressure is high, you may need to take additional steps to protect your plants, such as using physical barriers or repellents.

Plant maturity

The maturity of creeping phlox plants can also influence their deer resistance. Young creeping phlox plants are more vulnerable to deer browsing than mature plants. This is because young plants are more tender and have not yet developed the dense growth habit and unpalatable foliage that deter deer.

As creeping phlox plants mature, they become less palatable to deer. The leaves become tougher and more fibrous, and the plant develops a denser growth habit. These changes make it more difficult for deer to browse on the plant, and they are less likely to do so.

Therefore, if you are planting creeping phlox in an area with high deer pressure, it is important to protect young plants until they have matured. You can do this by using physical barriers, such as fencing or netting, or by applying deer repellent. Once the plants have matured, they will be more resistant to deer browsing.

In addition to the factors discussed above, there are several other things you can do to protect your creeping phlox plants from deer. These include:

Location

The location of your creeping phlox plants can also influence their deer resistance. Deer are more likely to browse on plants that are located in areas that are easily accessible to them. These areas include:

  • Edge of woods: Deer often travel along the edge of woods, looking for food. Creeping phlox plants that are planted near the edge of woods are more likely to be browsed by deer.
  • Open fields: Deer also like to feed in open fields. Creeping phlox plants that are planted in open fields are more likely to be browsed by deer, especially if there is no other food available.
  • Near deer trails: Deer often create trails as they travel through their territory. Creeping phlox plants that are planted near deer trails are more likely to be browsed by deer.
  • Isolated plants: Deer are more likely to browse on isolated plants than on plants that are grouped together. Creeping phlox plants that are planted by themselves are more likely to be browsed by deer.

If you are planting creeping phlox in an area that is frequented by deer, it is important to choose a location that is less accessible to them. You can also plant creeping phlox in groups, rather than planting them individually. This will make them less appealing to deer.

Companion planting

Companion planting is a gardening technique that involves planting different species of plants together to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Companion planting can be used to deter deer from browsing on creeping phlox. Deer are less likely to browse on plants that are surrounded by other plants that they do not like. Some good companion plants for creeping phlox include:

  • Alliums: Alliums, such as onions, garlic, and chives, are known to repel deer. Planting alliums around your creeping phlox plants can help to deter deer from browsing.
  • Lavender: Lavender is another deer-resistant plant. Planting lavender around your creeping phlox plants can help to create a barrier that deters deer.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary is a fragrant herb that deer do not like. Planting rosemary around your creeping phlox plants can help to deter deer from browsing.
  • Thyme: Thyme is another fragrant herb that deer do not like. Planting thyme around your creeping phlox plants can help to deter deer from browsing.

When companion planting, it is important to choose plants that have different growth habits and blooming times. This will help to create a diverse and attractive garden that is less appealing to deer.

In addition to companion planting, there are several other things you can do to protect your creeping phlox plants from deer. These include:

Physical barriers

Physical barriers are an effective way to protect creeping phlox plants from deer. Physical barriers can be made from a variety of materials, such as fencing, netting, or chicken wire. When choosing a physical barrier, it is important to choose one that is tall enough and strong enough to deter deer. The barrier should also be buried underground to prevent deer from digging under it.

Fencing is a good option for protecting large areas of creeping phlox. Fencing can be made from wood, metal, or plastic. When installing fencing, it is important to make sure that the posts are set deep into the ground and that the fence is taut. This will help to prevent deer from jumping over or breaking through the fence.

Netting is another good option for protecting creeping phlox plants. Netting can be made from a variety of materials, such as nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene. When installing netting, it is important to make sure that it is securely attached to the ground. This will help to prevent deer from getting under the netting.

Chicken wire is a less expensive option for protecting creeping phlox plants. Chicken wire can be used to create a fence or to cover individual plants. When using chicken wire, it is important to make sure that the mesh is small enough to prevent deer from getting through it.

In addition to physical barriers, there are several other things you can do to protect your creeping phlox plants from deer. These include:

Repellents

Deer repellents can be an effective way to protect creeping phlox plants from deer. Deer repellents work by creating an unpleasant taste or smell that deters deer from browsing on plants. There are a variety of deer repellents available on the market, both commercial and homemade. When choosing a deer repellent, it is important to choose one that is effective against deer and that is safe for use around plants.

Commercial deer repellents typically contain one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Putrescent eggs: Putrescent eggs are a natural deer repellent. The smell of rotten eggs is unpleasant to deer, and it will deter them from browsing on plants.
  • Garlic: Garlic is another natural deer repellent. The smell of garlic is also unpleasant to deer, and it will deter them from browsing on plants.
  • Capsaicin: Capsaicin is the compound that gives chili peppers their heat. Capsaicin is a powerful deer repellent, and it will deter deer from browsing on plants.
  • Ammonia: Ammonia is a strong-smelling chemical that is also a deer repellent. Ammonia can be used to deter deer from browsing on plants, but it is important to use it carefully. Ammonia can be harmful to plants if it is applied too often or in too high of a concentration.

Homemade deer repellents can also be effective at deterring deer. Some common homemade deer repellents include:

  • Soap: Soap is a mild deer repellent. The smell of soap is unpleasant to deer, and it will deter them from browsing on plants.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is another mild deer repellent. The smell of vinegar is also unpleasant to deer, and it will deter them from browsing on plants.
  • Blood meal: Blood meal is a natural deer repellent. The smell of blood is unpleasant to deer, and it will deter them from browsing on plants.

When using deer repellents, it is important to follow the directions on the label carefully. Deer repellents can be harmful to plants if they are applied too often or in too high of a concentration. It is also important to reapply deer repellents after it rains or after the plants have been watered.

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about whether creeping phlox is deer resistant:

Question 1: Is creeping phlox deer resistant?
Answer: Yes, creeping phlox is generally considered deer resistant due to its unpalatable foliage, low nutritional value, dense growth habit, and other factors.

Question 2: Why is creeping phlox deer resistant?
Answer: Creeping phlox has several characteristics that make it unappealing to deer, including its bitter-tasting leaves, rough texture, low protein content, high fiber content, and dense growth habit.

Question 3: Are there any deer-resistant varieties of creeping phlox?
Answer: All varieties of creeping phlox are considered deer resistant to some extent, but some varieties may be more resistant than others. Some popular deer-resistant varieties include ‘Candy Stripes’, ‘Emerald Cushion’, and ‘Purple Beauty’.

Question 4: What can I do to make my creeping phlox more deer resistant?
Answer: There are several things you can do to make your creeping phlox more deer resistant, including planting it in a location that is less accessible to deer, using physical barriers to protect your plants, and applying deer repellent.

Question 5: Can deer completely avoid creeping phlox?
Answer: While creeping phlox is generally deer resistant, it is not completely deer-proof. In areas with high deer pressure or during times of food scarcity, deer may browse on creeping phlox, even if it is not their preferred food source.

Question 6: What other plants can I plant with creeping phlox to deter deer?
Answer: There are several other plants that you can plant with creeping phlox to deter deer, including alliums, lavender, rosemary, and thyme.

Question 7: How do I choose the right deer repellent for my creeping phlox?
Answer: When choosing a deer repellent for your creeping phlox, it is important to choose one that is effective against deer and that is safe for use around plants. You may want to try several different repellents to see which one works best for you.

These are just a few of the frequently asked questions about whether creeping phlox is deer resistant. If you have any other questions, please consult with a local gardening expert.

In addition to the information provided in the FAQ, here are a few additional tips for protecting creeping phlox from deer:

Tips

Here are a few practical tips for protecting creeping phlox from deer:

Tip 1: Plant creeping phlox in a location that is less accessible to deer. Deer are more likely to browse on plants that are located in areas that are easily accessible to them. Avoid planting creeping phlox near the edge of woods, in open fields, or near deer trails.

Tip 2: Use physical barriers to protect your creeping phlox plants. Physical barriers, such as fencing, netting, or chicken wire, can be an effective way to deter deer from browsing on your plants. When choosing a physical barrier, it is important to choose one that is tall enough and strong enough to deter deer. The barrier should also be buried underground to prevent deer from digging under it.

Tip 3: Apply deer repellent to your creeping phlox plants. Deer repellents can be an effective way to deter deer from browsing on your plants. There are a variety of deer repellents available on the market, both commercial and homemade. When choosing a deer repellent, it is important to choose one that is effective against deer and that is safe for use around plants.

Tip 4: Plant other deer-resistant plants around your creeping phlox. Planting other deer-resistant plants around your creeping phlox can help to deter deer from browsing on your plants. Some good companion plants for creeping phlox include alliums, lavender, rosemary, and thyme.

By following these tips, you can help to protect your creeping phlox plants from deer damage and enjoy their beautiful blooms for many years to come.

Creeping phlox is a beautiful and versatile groundcover plant that is a popular choice for gardeners. By understanding the deer resistance of creeping phlox and taking steps to protect your plants, you can enjoy their beauty without worry.

Conclusion

Creeping phlox is a beautiful and versatile groundcover plant that is generally considered deer resistant. This is due to several factors, including its unpalatable foliage, low nutritional value, dense growth habit, and other factors. However, it is important to note that no plant is completely deer-proof, and deer may browse on creeping phlox, especially in areas with high deer pressure or during times of food scarcity.

By understanding the deer resistance of creeping phlox and taking steps to protect your plants, you can enjoy their beauty without worry. Some steps you can take to protect your creeping phlox plants from deer include planting them in a location that is less accessible to deer, using physical barriers to protect your plants, applying deer repellent, and planting other deer-resistant plants around your creeping phlox.

With proper care and protection, creeping phlox can be a beautiful and deer-resistant addition to your garden.


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