Do Deer Eat Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus)? Ways to Deter Deer

Deer are perhaps the biggest garden pest people have to worry about if they live in deer-prone areas. Being aware of the effects these animals can cause, you would be quick to ask the question if deer eat Lily of the Nile also known as Agapanthus. 

Deer will eat Lily of the Nile (agapanthus) when their usual selection of plants is not available, usually due to a change of seasons.

This is most likely to occur in the fall when most plants are dying down or in spring when most plants haven’t begun to shoot back. 

We’ll give you deeper details as to why deer eat these plants and how you can stand your ground and protect your agapanthus. 

Will Deer Eat Lily of the Nile?

Unfortunately, it is true that deer will eat Lily of the Nile. But only in certain cases. Generally, these formidable eaters stay away from agapanthus due to its scent and the foul bitter taste it exhibits.  

But, hungry and desperate deer will do anything to survive and this means eating plants that have a rather repulsive taste! 

There are even widespread claims that after leaving agapanthus plants alone for years, they may start to eat them! Many people have this problem and would like to know how to stop the onslaught of hungry deer. 

That said, deer are not the common pest you expect to find when questioning what’s eating your agapanthus. Most of the time you will find smaller pests eating your plants.

But, by understanding why these animals eat agapanthus you can prepare and control the scale of damage. 

Here’s to help you better understand what would drive a deer to eat this plant if it is not fond of it at all.

Worried about what else may try to eat your plants? Here are 7 pests that can eat Agapanthus + how to get rid of them.  

Why Do Deer Eat Lily of the Nile?

As mentioned, agapanthus is not a deer’s favorite food. So, if your agapanthus is indeed being eaten by deer, it’s not by choice! So, scenarios must be very bad if deer are choosing your agapanthus plants. 

Deer eat agapanthus when situations are dire and preferable food sources are scarce or even absent! 

Instances, when this happens, are:

  1. Springtime when plants are just beginning to shoot and the deer are hungry from limited food during the winter.
  2. Before winter, fall months have scarce food and deer will eat anything in preparation for the winter months ahead when food is scarce. 
  3. New growth of agapanthus plants is more tender than plants with just older growth which is tougher. 

Why Are Agapanthus So Expensive?

Will Lily of the Nile Damaged by Deer Grow Back? 

Suppose you live in an area that has deer in the vicinity, or perhaps you have already had them visit your garden. You would obviously be eager to learn what happens to the agapanthus after deer have eaten them. 

Well, it’s important to take into consideration the damage before answering these questions. Apart from eating agapanthus, the deer may also trample through them. The damage sustained from this can be quite tremendous.  

Agapanthus that have been eaten or trampled by deer will regrow. Even if they don’t regrow immediately, they are annuals and shoot back the following year.  

But, this takes some effort from you to happen. As soon as your agapanthus plants become damaged you should cut back the areas that have severe damage. Then pay extra attention to their needs to ensure fast growth.  

Where to Buy Agapanthus? Factors to Consider Before Buying

How to Deer-Proof Your Lily of the Nile?

People who have regular visits from deer have had to improvise and find ways to stop them from damaging and eating Lily of the Nile plants in their garden. Thanks to some trials and errors, there are a few non-invasive ways to stop deer from eating your agapanthus plants. 

Pick the one that’s easiest for you and most effective at keeping out the famished deer. 

#1- Deter Deer with Scents

Deer happen to have an extremely reliable sense of smell. That said, they do not like the human scent and tend to steer away from such scents. Lacing your Lily of the Nile plant with a human scent will provide them with some protection. 

So what exactly is the best way to increase the human scent around your agapanthus? You can’t exactly throw your clothes all over your plants, can you? No, you can’t but the second-best option is human hair. 

If you don’t have a bit of human hair lying around, you can always use dog hair as it has the same effects on deer. 

Apart from human scents, deer also dislike a few other odors such as:

  • Mint
  • Peonies
  • Lavender
  • Sage ( including most other herbs)  
  • Marigolds
  • Chives
  • Irises
  • Daffodils 

Planting any of these aromatic plants will stop the deer from eating your agapanthus. Even if it does, the damage won’t be extensive as the deer won’t take the smell for long! 

#2- Homemade Deer Repellent Solutions

If you want a quick fix to keep the deer away, you can mix up a homemade deer repellent solution made with common ingredients. 

Make DIY deer repellent by mixing 3 eggs, 3 spoons of yogurt, crushed garlic cloves, and the remainder being water (2-3 cups depending on the quantity required). 

Once the solution is completely mixed and liquidized, leave it in a room for at least a day to percolate the smell and make it more potent. The more potent the better as it will work more efficiently at deterring deer due to its stench! 

Use a spray bottle to disperse the solution all over your agapanthus plants. After drying, the plant will be odorless to humans but not the deer! 

#3- Motion Sensing Lights

Deer can be most destructive at night. Having something to scare them off while you sleep at night could just work.

Luckily motion-sensing lights can keep deer away while you sleep. This method requires you to install motion-sensing lights that shine only when they sense major movements, for example, deer in the garden. 

These lights will automatically turn on when triggered by deer movement. All you have to do is put them in the right places and the deer will be frightened off when they turn on. This system can be used in addition to a few others. 

#4- Motion Activated Sprinklers and Noisemakers

Apart from having a great sense of smell, deer are also capable of hearing sounds that are of high frequency. Especially sounds of frequencies that humans cannot hear. 

Because you won’t be able to hear the sounds, it acts as a great method of protecting agapanthus from deer throughout the day.

Motion-activated sprinklers will turn on the moment they sense motion. Deer won’t just be frightened away, they may also get wet! These two options are great if you aren’t at home much and need to keep deer away all day long.

Mind you, this could cost a bit as it is great for people who aren’t on a budget. 

Sprinklers may just be what your Agapanthus needs as this is just one of the reasons why Agapanthus flowers flop. 

#5- Wind Chimes

Ever seen a wind chime in someone’s garden and wondered why it’s there and what it does? Many people think that wind chimes draw in positive energy and ward off evil ones. Well, we have another use for them. 

The constant tingles and jingles of the wind chime will create the illusion that people are near. In turn, this will strike the fear of a confrontation in the minds of the deer. So, they won’t end up wandering in that direction. 

Putting up a few in the garden is a relatively inexpensive solution if it succeeds in protecting your Lily of the Nile from deer. 

#6- Protect Lily of the Nile with Netting 

If you would like to restrict access to some parts of plants in your garden like the agapanthus, you can choose to surround it with netting. This is more effective and less expensive than other methods. 

Visit a store to choose from a range of netting suitable for garden use. Then you can buy enough to put around the plants that are most affected by deer. 

But, be sure to make sure it is secure enough to prevent other smaller pests from getting in. 

#7- Fencing the Garden

Installing a fence around the circumference of your garden is another way to keep the deer away from Lily of the Nile plants and others in your garden. 

But mind you, this fence will have to be very high. Deer are very tall when they stand on their hind legs and they can clear amazing heights when they jump, almost 8 feet to give you an idea. 

So, this means you have to put up a high fence, or else you have to enclose it with fencing over the roof. However, this method can prove to be expensive and invasive seeing as a lot of fencing may be necessary. 

Although this method could be quite effective, consider this if all the other methods are proving ineffective. 


Deer don’t eat Lily of the Nile when they are spoiled for choice with other plants they love eating. However, desperate times call for desperate measures and in times of limited options, deer will eat Lily of the Nile

Deer eat agapanthus during the fall and spring months as there are not many options regarding food. This is the time you will have to go out of your way to protect your agapanthus plants. 

You can keep deer away from Lily of the Nile with the following methods:

  • Deter Deer with Scents 
  • Homemade Deer Repellent Solutions
  • Motion Sensing Lights
  • Motion Activated Sprinklers and Noisemakers
  • Wind Chimes
  • Protect Agapanthus with Netting 
  • Fencing the Garden 

Using these above methods should provide safety for not just your Lily of the Nile but also other plants the deer love to eat! 

Why do Agapanthus flowers turn white?


Is Agapanthus deer resistant? 

Agapanthus are relatively deer resistant during the summer as there are other food options for deer. But during the spring and fall seasons, your agapanthus could be vulnerable to deer. 

Why do deer not like to eat Agapanthus?

Agapanthus are not the most appetizing of plants as their foliage can be tough if the plant is old. Also, the plant has an unappealing scent that dissuades the sharp sense of the deer. Plus, the presence of the toxin Saponin may have something to do with it.