Will Deer Eat Dracaena? Save your Dracaena!

will deer eat dracaena

Recently a friend of mine moved into a rural area with a lot of deer. Naturally, he wanted to take advantage of his expanded space and plant his Dracaena (also known as Dracena) trees outside the following summer. Naturally, a question he had and asked me was will deer eat Dracaena? 

Deer will eat all species of dracaena trees and shrubs if left outside during summer. No tree is 100% deer proof, and if the deer is hungry enough, it will eat the tree’s leaves. Use scares or deer repellents to prevent deer from eating Dracaena.   

So what are some of the best methods to prevent deer from eating Dracaena? And why are deer attracted to eating Dracaena? Keep reading to find out more!

Just a quick heads up, over the past three years of running Plantpaladin, hundreds of people have asked for product recommendations. As such, You can find my favorite indoor bonsai tree here (link takes you to Bonsaiboy), my favorite outdoor bonsai tree (link takes you to Bonsaiboy), or have a look at all the products I recommend here

Will deer eat dracaena?

One of the most popular trees/shrubs species has to be Dracaena, also called the Dragon tree. 

With dozens of sub-species, these tropical trees are becoming more popular and can be placed outdoors in the summer and indoors year-round in mild climates.

During these warm summers, it is common for these trees to be attacked by bugs, fungi, and even deer. 

A friend of mine recently moved into a rural area and was concerned that deer would eat up his two dracaena plants if he kept them outdoors during the increasingly hot summer we seem to be having in the UK. 

As such, I got in touch with my local nature center and a few tree experts and even surveyed five plant paladin readers to ask them if deer eat Dracaena. 

All to ensure you have the most in-depth, most will deer eat Dracaena on the web. 

To summarise: 

Will deer eat dracaena? quick facts

  • Deer will eat dracaena trees and shrubs, regardless of the subspecies they belong to, if kept outdoors. 
  • Deer are herbaceous and cautious animals and usually eat food wherever they can find it. 
  • Deers then will eat the leaves, stems, branches, and bark of dracaena trees. 
  • While in the spring and summer, they might opt to eat flowers, grass, and berries when they are widely available. as the summer draws to an end and fall and winter take over, deer will be much more likely to eat foods and tree species outside of what they usually eat. 
  •  This is when dracaena tends to get eaten the most. 
  • The best way to prevent deer from eating your dracaena is to move your dracaena inside. 
  • Dracaena are tropical trees and so like warm hot climates to thrive in – this makes keeping these shrubs and trees indoors ideal for keeping as house plants. 
  • Other methods to prevent deer from eating dracaena is to use scares, lay the floor with dog hair, or even use electric fencing/wiring. 

Will deer eat dracena? infographic

Why do deer eat Dracaena? 

The main reason deer eat dracaena is that deer eat almost any tree or shrub – it is widely available. Deer are grazing animals, so when food stores dry up, they are not picky about where they get their food. 

While dracaena may be slightly off-putting to deer (in the first instance) due to the thin, finger-like leaves that most sub-species of dracaena or dragon plants grow. 

 If the leaves from other trees and shrubs they eat, such as elmsoak trees, or ficus, disappear, it is only natural that deer will move to eat dracaena. 

On top of this, dragon plants usually have larger ever, expanding canopies. 

This makes it easy for deer to access, and being the opportunists they are, deer will eat whatever free meals they can get. 

When do deer eat dracaena?

Deer will most commonly eat dracaena during the fall and late summer when food from other sources becomes unstable. As such, move your dracaena indoors when temperatures begin to drop to prevent deer from eating.  

What species of dracaena will deer eat? 

Deer will eat all species of Dracaena. Dracaena marginata, or dragon tree, will be the most common dracaena eaten by deer. This is because the tree can grow relatively and has leaves placed at different heights, making it easy for deers of all ages and sizes to consume.

Deer will also consume other common Dracaena. These include: 

  •  Deremensis
  • Dracaena fragans
  • Dracaena draco
  •  Fragans
  • Surculosa (particularly in the summer)

Dracaena plants that are newly planted will be at particular risk of deer eating them. 

How to prevent deer from eating dracaena?

Thankfully, there are a few quick methods you can implement to prevent deer from feeding on your dracaena tree. These include: 

Moving your dracaena indoors

Most of you reading this post will be doing so in moderate or temperate climates. 

As such, keeping dracaena plants outdoors during the spring and summer is our only real option and only when the weather is warm. 

Dracneas love warm hot weather and are commonly used indoors as a house plant, so the best way to prevent deer from eating them is to move them indoors. 

These trees prefer warmer conditions, so ensure you move them into living rooms or bedrooms instead of in colder rooms such as garages. 

Consider investing in a grow light to mimic the proper sunlight if you live in low-light-level environments. 

Diesel soaked cloth

Fill up an old cloth with diesel, not to the point where it is dripping wet but until it is moist ( ensure you use gloves when applying the diesel).

Then add a few garden spikes in a perimeter around your dracaena trees. 

Use a wire to connect these posts and place the rags on top. 

The pungent smell should scare away deer. 

Use human or dog hair 

Keeping hair in tights or a hanging basket near the dracaena has some anecdotal evidence of the success of scaring away deer. 

Deer have a susceptible sense of smell, so if they sense people or potential predators like dogs nearby, they will run. 

Just ensure that the hair is dry and that you replace it every month as the more rainfall you get t. The less effective this will become. 

Deer spray

Custom build deer sprays are often used to prevent deer from coming near your trees. 

Bobbex and liquid fence are two of the best products widely available, and both only contain natural ingredients to ensure you are not causing any damage to the environment. 

Spray around your dracaena’s perimeter, which should ward off deer. 

Deer repellers

If you have a more extensive collection of tres and dracaena that you want your deer to stay away from and have the money to afford it, consider investing in an ultrasonic deer scarer. 

These scares use ultrasonic sounds to irritate deer until they move out of range of the noise they make. 

Just be aware they can be on the pricey side. 

You can have a look at my recommendation here (the link takes you to Amazon) 

This post was written by Fehed Nicass who has been passionate about bonsai for over 3 years. He currently resides in the UK and works in sales.

Electric fence

So this method is the most extrema and should only be used if you have a severe problem with deer. 

Create a perimeter around the dracaena trees of the electric fence/wire. 

Ensure this is high enough so that deer cannot jump over. 

This will scare the deer away if they try to touch your dracaena, but it isn’t painful enough to cause any damage to the deer in question. 

Other methods, such as using scares, lights during the night, or animal blood, can also prevent deer from attacking your tree. 

Like all animals, however, deer will adapt as time goes on. 

Ensure you switch up your methods if you want to keep your deer outside. 

Without a doubt, however, the best method to prevent deer from eating dracaena is to move the tree indoors. 

Survey – will deer eat dracaena?

Finally, I surveyed five plant paladin readers, asking them if deer eat dracaena – to summarize: 

Will deer eat dracaena?

My top picks for the gear you will need!

So like I mentioned earlier, over the past three years of running PlantPaladin, hundreds of people have asked me for my recommendations on the best bonsai gear on the market. 

Having spent thousands of dollars on bonsai items these past few years and tested at least 100 bonsai-specific products, I’ve listed my favorite products below – All of which I highly recommend and think you can get great value. 

They can purchase directly by clicking the link to take them to Amazon. 

Bonsai Tool Set: One of the significant challenges I’ve had is finding a toolset that was not only durable but didn’t break the bank. SOLIGT has recently developed a fantastic bonsai tool set that covers all the tools you need to trim, prune, and repot your trees. – You can grab it here

Complete Bonsai Set: Many of you will want to grow your bonsai trees entirely from scratch, but finding the varicose seeds, pots, and other items in one place can be challenging. Leaves and Sole then have created a complete bonsai set that I’ve personally used that ticks all the boxes. You can grab it here

Bonsai wire: The number of times I’ve run out of wire for my bonsai or purchased cheap bonsai wire that doesn’t do the job is embarrassing for me to admit. After a lot of trial and error, I found that using Hotop’s aluminum bonsai wire is one of the best options on the market. This can easily be used for both indoor and outdoor bonsai. You can grab it here.

This post was written by Fehed Nicass, who has been passionate about bonsai for over three years. He currently resides in the UK and works in sales.

Fehed Nicass

Fehed Nicass has been passionate about all things bonsai and botany focused for the past 3 years. What started out as a hobby has developed as a passion and he is now on a mission to teach and learn.

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