Deer resistance in plants is an important consideration for gardeners and landscapers, especially in areas where deer populations are high.
Choosing plants that are less attractive to deer can save time, money, and frustration spent on protecting and replacing plants that are frequently damaged by deer browsing.
What is Lamium?
Lamium is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the mint family. It is native to Europe and Asia and is commonly found in wooded areas and along riverbanks.
Lamium is known for its attractive, variegated leaves and small, pink or white flowers that bloom in the spring and summer. It is often used as a groundcover or filler plant in gardens and landscaping.
Is Lamium Deer Resistant?
The question of whether Lamium is deer resistant is a bit of a contentious issue among gardeners and landscapers. Some sources claim that Lamium is highly deer resistant, while others report that it is not particularly resistant to deer browsing.
There is evidence to support both sides of the argument.
On the one hand, Lamium contains compounds called iridoid glycosides that are believed to deter deer from eating the plant. These compounds give Lamium a bitter taste and may make it less appealing to deer.
On the other hand, Lamium is known to be a preferred food source for deer in some areas, particularly during times of stress or food scarcity. In these cases, deer may be more likely to browse on Lamium despite its bitter taste.
Factors that May Affect Lamium’s Deer Resistance
There are several factors that may influence Lamium’s deer resistance, including the following:
The specific variety of Lamium:
Some varieties of Lamium may be more deer resistant than others. For example, the variety ‘Beacon Silver’ is reported to be more deer resistant than ‘Chequers’.
The growing conditions:
Lamium may be more or less attractive to deer depending on the growing conditions. For example, Lamium plants that are grown in poor soil or that are drought stressed may be more attractive to deer than healthy, well-watered plants.
The local deer population:
The deer population in a particular area may have a big impact on Lamium’s deer resistance. In areas with high deer densities, any plant may be at risk of being browsed, even those that are normally considered deer resistant.
The availability of other food sources:
If there are plenty of other food sources available, deer may be less likely to browse on Lamium. On the other hand, if other food sources are scarce, deer may be more inclined to eat whatever is available, including Lamium.
How to Protect Lamium from Deer
If you are planning to include Lamium in your landscape and are concerned about deer damage, there are several methods you can use to deter deer from eating the plant:
One of the most effective ways to protect Lamium from deer is to enclose the area with a fence. A sturdy fence that is at least 8 feet tall can effectively keep deer out of your garden.
There are several deer repellents on the market that can help deter deer from eating Lamium.
These products work by either masking the scent of the plant or making it taste unpleasant to the deer. Some common types of deer repellents include spray-on repellents, scent repellents, and taste repellents.
Another option is to use netting to protect Lamium from deer. Netting can be placed over the plants to create a physical barrier that deer cannot penetrate.
Just be sure to remove the netting once the danger of deer browsing has passed, as the plants will need proper air circulation and sunlight to thrive.
Techniques for Protecting Lamium from Deer Damage
In addition to the methods listed above, there are several techniques you can use to protect Lamium from deer damage:
Plant Lamium in a protected area:
Planting Lamium in a location that is protected from deer, such as in a fenced garden or behind a tall hedge, can help reduce the risk of deer damage.
Plant Lamium in large groups:
Planting Lamium in large groups rather than as individual plants can make it less appealing to deer. This is because deer prefer to browse on isolated plants rather than plants that are part of a larger group.
Interplant with deer-resistant plants:
Interplanting Lamium with other deer-resistant plants can help deter deer from browsing on the Lamium. Some examples of deer-resistant plants that can be interplanted with Lamium include herbs, lavender, and yarrow.
Alternatives to Lamium for Deer-Resistant Landscaping
If you are looking for alternatives to Lamium that are more deer resistant, there are plenty of other options to consider. Some examples of deer-resistant plants include:
Many herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano, are highly deer resistant and can be used in a variety of landscaping situations.
Lavender is a fragrant and attractive flowering plant that is highly deer resistant. It is drought-tolerant and can thrive in a variety of soil types.
Yarrow is a perennial flowering plant that is known for its attractive, fern-like foliage and clusters of small flowers. It is highly deer resistant and is often used as a groundcover or filler plant in landscaping.
Tips for Choosing Deer-Resistant Plants
When choosing deer-resistant plants for your landscape, it is important to keep in mind that no plant is completely deer proof.
Deer populations and their behavior can vary widely, so what works in one area may not work in another. That being said, there are a few things you can do to increase the chances of success:
- Research the plants you are considering: Look up the deer resistance of the plants you are considering and choose those that are more likely to be resistant to deer.
- Consider the local deer population: Consider the deer population in your area and choose plants that are known to be resistant to deer in areas with similar deer populations.
- Plant in large groups: As mentioned earlier, planting in large groups can help
- deter deer from browsing on individual plants.
- Interplant with deer-resistant plants: Interplanting with deer-resistant plants can create a barrier that deer are less likely to cross.
- Use fencing or repellents: If you are concerned about deer damage, fencing or repellents can be effective ways to deter deer from eating your plants.
In conclusion, Lamium is a popular and attractive plant that is often used in landscaping and gardening.
While there is some evidence to suggest that Lamium is deer resistant, its effectiveness may vary depending on a variety of factors, including the specific variety, growing conditions, local deer population, and availability of other food sources.
To protect Lamium from deer damage, consider using fencing, repellents, netting, or other techniques such as planting in a protected area or in large groups. If you are looking for more reliable deer resistance, there are many other options to consider, including herbs, lavender, and yarrow.
Can Lamium be grown in all climates?
Lamium is generally hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-9, which means it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. However, it is best suited for cooler climates and may struggle in hot, humid regions.
How do I care for Lamium plants?
Lamium is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for. It prefers partial shade to full sun and well-draining soil. Water the plant regularly, but avoid letting the soil become waterlogged, as Lamium is susceptible to root rot.
Fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilize.
Can I propagate Lamium from cuttings?
Yes, Lamium can be propagated from cuttings. To do this, take stem cuttings from the plant in the spring or summer and root them in moist soil or water.
Alternatively, you can propagate Lamium by dividing the plant in the spring or fall.
How do I control weeds in a Lamium bed?
To control weeds in a Lamium bed, consider using mulch around the base of the plants. This will help to suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil.
You can also hand-pull weeds as they appear or use a herbicide specifically designed for use in ornamental gardens.
Will Lamium spread aggressively in my garden?
Lamium can spread quickly in the right conditions, but it is not considered an aggressive or invasive plant. It is generally well-behaved and can be easily controlled by pruning or dividing the plant as needed.