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Do Deer Eat Abelia? (5 Things To Know)

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Photo of Abelia flowers in a garden with blurred leaves in the background. WIll deer eat Abelia flowers, leaves, and plants?

Deer will not eat abelia, not when they have other plants to eat. Abelias are beautiful and highly reliable shrubs, but deer avoid them because of their strong fragrance.

This article discusses why deer rarely eat abelia and whether you can use abelia to keep away the deer. We will also offer you tips on how to care for your abelia.

Read on to find out more.

Do deer like to eat abelia?

Abelias are one of the old-fashioned shrubs which grew popular because of their brightly colored flowers, reliability, and minimal care needs.

Many of the abelia shrubs have attractive foliage, one of the primary reasons they have been incorporated into landscaping projects.

In places like Texas, you will spot various types of abelia in almost every home or apartment building.

Despite the aesthetic appeal abelia provide, deer have disliked the shrubs. Numerous farmers had reported that deer invasions reduced immensely when they grew abelias around their gardens. Yarrow plants are also deer resistant and can be used along with abelia to hamper deer’s sense of smell.

Experts state deer will rarely eat and even avoid walking through abelia due to the shrub’s overpowering scent. In addition, young abelia plants usually have tiny hairs under the leaves and on the stems, which irritate deer.

Bucks heavily rely on their sense of smell to find food and detect predators.

Abelias’ strong smell acts as a mask, interfering with the stag’s sense of smell and disadvantaging them since they are prey animals.

Therefore, they will go for other plants with mild scents and no hairs on their stems and leaves.

In addition, deer will not hide or walk through abelia, as the plant’s scent will stick on their fur and irritate them.

Will abelia grow back after a deer invasion?

Yes, deer don’t like abelia, but that doesn’t mean they won’t feast on the plant when they face starvation.

Abelias are hardy, and some of them are semi-evergreen, meaning they will have leaves during winter. At a time, most of the plants will have either wholly defoliated, and the deer will be out of options and will undoubtedly munch on your abelia.

When they do, there is no need to worry. Many of the abelia varieties are perennial. Thus, they will always grow back year after year once you plant them.

What can I plant next to abelia?

Abelias will brighten up your home, office, or compound. In addition, when you grow another plant alongside the abelia, the aesthetic appeal goes a notch higher.

Now you can’t grow any plant alongside your abelia. Experts recommend picking a plant that shares similar sunshine, soil, and humidity requirements to abelia.

How you want to use the abelia will also determine the type of plant growing alongside it.

Here are some ways you can use abelia and suggestions of flowers and shrubs that will grow well with abelia

For hedging or space division

The Spirea shrub will be an ideal companion for growing the abelia as a fence. 

Spirea is hardy and doesn’t need much care, similar to abelia. It is also deciduous and a perennial plant.

You can be sure of many flowers and thick foliage when successfully integrating spirea into your abelia fence.

Spirea varieties you can use include

  • Spirea Vanhouti
  • Spiraea arguta

Container plant

Many people like growing abelias in pots and arranging them on the patios or verandas. The plant’s colorful foliage and semievergreen features will give the verandah an enticing and relaxing feel.

In such a case, you can plant a flowering perennial, bamboo, or a trailing fruit like passion fruit.

Alongside specimen trees

Abelias do well alongside specimen trees like bamboos or mixed grasses. All you have to do is ensure the trees don’t block the abelia from getting adequate light.

Cover along a pathway

A living border along a driveway or pathway improves the area’s overall appearance.

You can mix it with short-growing flowering plants like Pennisetum alopecuroides (fountain grass) when you plant dwarf-sized abelia along the path.

Like abelia, fountain grass produces lovely colored flowers in the late season, with a pleasant scent.

What is the most fragrant abelia?

Sweet Emotion (Abelia Monsanensis) is not only the most fragrant abelia but also the hardiest. It can grow in US hardiness zone 4 and produces white and pink blooms with a jasmine scent.

Due to its domineering fragrance, Sweet emotion is highly deer resistant.

Other common types of abelia and their features

Kaleidoscope Abelia

A versatile and easy plant to grow and maintain, the kaleidoscope is an evergreen that provides three seasons of distinct color.

  • Spring- greenish-yellow flowers
  • Summer – gold flowers
  • Fall- burnt red flowers

You use a kaleidoscope as a ground cover or low hedge, as it grows to a height between 2- 3 feet.

Edward Goucher Abelia

Goucher is an Abelia Grandiflora hybrid with compact semi-evergreen foliage and can grow up to 3 or 5 feet high.

Edward Goucher can thrive in the shade or total light exposure, and It blooms pink bell-shaped flowers in mid-summer that usually lasts up to the end of winter.

Abelia Grandiflora

Popularly called Glossy Abelia, it is a semi-evergreen shrub with tiny green leaves and a glossy sheen.

In late spring, the shrub grows white scented flowers which attract butterflies and bees.

Grandiflora can grow 3- 6 feet high and 4 feet wide, but you can trim it to maintain a constant shape.

Abelia Rose Creek

Rose creek also has leaves with a glossy sheen, which turn bronze or burgundy during winter. In summer, the shrub has risen like sepals, hence Abelia Rose.

This shrub is suitable for small gardens and thin walkways as it grows to 4 feet, and you can easily trim it.

Abelia Sunshine Daydream

A semi-evergreen shrub with green-colored foliage, creamy white edges, and red-purple stems, sunshine daydream, has a classy look.

Daydream flowers develop a pale pink tint during autumn and summer that later falls off in winter.

How to care for your abelia

Even though abelia doesn’t need much attention, there are measures that you need to take to ensure they thrive.


For young abelia, regularly water them twice a week for two years. After the two-year mark, you can water once a week, unless the weather gets too hot and dry.


Slow-release fertilizer works well on abelias especially hose made of woody plants.


Abelia doesn’t need much pruning or shaping; you can occasionally inspect the plant and cut off any errant branch that may appear.

To rejuvenate your abelia, thin it by pruning the older and taller branches after two to three years. Doing so allows for healthy growth patterns.

How to care for abelia in pots

  • Plant the dwarf variety, those that won’t grow past 3 feet high.
  • Use quality potting soil and mix it with organic matter
  • Place the plant in a partial shade or a sunny spot
  • Prune 1/3 of the older shrubs in spring 
  • Water at least once a week

Can you use abelia as a deer-resistant plant to protect other crops?

Abelia can work effectively as a deer deterrent, though you will have to;

  • Grow the taller varieties because deer can jump over anything shorter than 8 feet high.
  • Add a fence around the garden; hungry deer will force their way into your garden regardless of the abelia. A barrier will prevent such.

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