Are deer eating my canna lilies?

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Something is eating the leaves from my canna lilies. There are No signs of crawling worms, slugs, etc. Deer are often seen in the yards of our neighbors. Deer keep my shrubbery fairly trimmed. On one plant all leaves stripped leaving only one bloom.

q are deer eating my canna lilies
  14 answers
  • Betty Downing Betty Downing on Aug 26, 2018

    It probably is the deer. There are sprays you can get from your hardware or land and garden stores that will repel the deer.

  • Sally Alter Sally Alter on Aug 26, 2018

    Could well be deer. I have a lot of deer and wake up some mornings with miserable-looking plants like these, even on my deck. How about taking one or two leaves down to your local nursery and asking them what they think? My nursery is great like this and always willing to help. Also try Liquid Fence Rabbit and Deer Repellent. It does stink like rotten eggs, but does the trick when I can remember to spray it. Use it down wind, walk backwards then rush indoors!!!

  • Mona Blake Mona Blake on Aug 26, 2018

    Use the lid from a jar, place upside down near the plant. Fill with beer. If it is slugs, they will drown in the beer. I lost a bunch of plants to slugs.

  • Jac Jac on Aug 26, 2018

    Deer in my area don't eat that selectively. They don't clean off stems by delicately eating the leaves. They do trim back my knockout roses - stems, thorns and all - when I forget to scatter Original Irish Spring shavings around the flower bed. I'd look into other critter possibilities that eat big leaves a little at a time. Grasshoppers, maybe?


  • The Dragon Lady The Dragon Lady on Aug 27, 2018

    That looks more like grasshopper damage. Dust with Sevin after dark, to not kill bees.

  • Erin Erin on Aug 27, 2018

    Looks more like bugs than deer.

    • Natalie Jarnstedt Natalie Jarnstedt on Aug 27, 2018

      I agree! Deer would eat a lot more of the plant.

      We have rhododendrons (one older than 60 years), azaleas, and other plants that deer supposedly love to munch on - they never touch anything!

  • Natalie Jarnstedt Natalie Jarnstedt on Aug 27, 2018

    A trick that comes from Sweden is hanging white paint lid tops at the level of white tail deer tails...they lift their tails to show the white underside when alarmed or trying to warn others of danger. I've also heard of hanging dryer sheets in the garden - it may be the same pronciple and the smell would add to deterring deer.

  • Lizbeth Lizbeth on Aug 27, 2018

    Could be deer--they eat just about anything-- but I agree it looks more like bugs or slugs. Some of the chewed leaves look like they are pretty deep into the branches of the other plant and would be have been hard for a deer to get to. (And with unchewed outer leaves still available why would a deer try to go deep?) Plus as others have said deer usually don't nibble like that. They chop off "chunks/hunks" at least in my experience. Rabbits sometimes do nibble off the more tender parts of leaves though. I'd start with beer and see if you catch slugs.

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Aug 27, 2018

    Deer love lilies of any kind and it looks like they certainly like yours. Here is a home spray for you to use to deter them. Use a one gallon jug, put 1 Tablespoon of dish liquid in it, one egg and 1/2 cup milk and fill up the jug with water. Shake well and then put some in a spray bottle. Use this regularly and especially after a rain and they will not eat your plants. It may even deter the bugs as well. Hope this helps!

  • Pog31683184 Pog31683184 on Aug 27, 2018

    My canna lilies look like yours starting in mid-June but the eaten part is above a deer’s head so I’d say it’s definitely not deer. There is a caterpillar known as a canna leaf roller that does some pretty big damage. There are ways to control it. Do a search on “Canna leaf roller” for detailed info.

  • Sheila gorton Sheila gorton on Aug 27, 2018

    Deer don't like the smell of eggs. Use egg whites & mix with a bit of water (2 whites to a cup of water) & spray it where you don't want deer. You'll have to rinse your sprayer nozzle often, but it works.


  • Mary Mary on Aug 28, 2018

    It is definitely not deer! You have arborvitae along with your canna lillies! This is a favorite of deer. It is not touched! You have some type of insect eating your cannas! You might want to look on the underside of your leaves and do research. Usually it is a caterpillar problem with pictures like yours. Therefore it is not always necessary to use an insecaside. You simply need to pick off the culprits. Other pests are slugs and snails which leave a slime trail.I can't see any trail of slime from your pictures. That would be a telltale sign.Happy Gardening☺️


  • Mary Mary on Aug 28, 2018

    PS it is best to look for the caterpillar 🐛 during the evening . They tend to hide during the day!

  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Dec 21, 2018

    Little late to the game, but Big Back and Yellow Grasshoppers did this to mine.

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