Sunday, July 3, 2011

Deer Country: Love Lies Bleeding

Deer-browsed love-lies-bleeding

Our love-lies-bleeding by the front sidewalk lies bleeding this morning. Deer chowed down on it during the night.

I bought the seeds for the love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) from Johnny’s Selected Seeds last winter after reading the catalog description: “Ropes of deep red, trailing chenille-like blooms. A reminder of things Victorian and a graceful accent in arrangements.” I planted seeds in yoghurt cups under lights, gave most away, and planted one love-lies-bleeding in Deer Country, our front yard, and one in our fence-protected backyard, as an experiment to see if the flower is deer resistant.

Fence-protected love-lies-bleeding (center)
“What happened to the flower by the front porch,” Ellen asked this morning. From the tone of her voice, I didn’t think I even needed to look at the sorry sight.

The love-lies-bleeding by our front sidewalk is now history, obviously. But other plants live on. The deer didn’t dine on two of their nearby favorites—deer candy—a heuchera and three variegated hostas. They are part of my experiment using Deer Out, a mint-based deer-resistant spray.

Heuchera sprayed with Deer Out
The heuchera is just three feet from the devastated love-lies-bleeding. The hostas are about 25 feet away. The heuchera (also called coral bells and alumroot) has never been larger and the hostas never taller than they are today. I’ve always had doubts about deer sprays and the like—I’ve used several through the years—but Deer Out so far has kept the deer away from the plants I’ve sprayed.

I haven’t sprayed the test plants for about a month. The does and their fawns are coming out of the woods more to graze and browse now, so I’ve got to spray the test plants again in a week or two—just to be on the safe side.

Hostas sprayed with Deer Out
If you want to read the first posting about my experiment with Deer Out, CLICK HERE.


  1. Oh awful. I have been worrying over mine (Love Lies Bleeding)because it didn't seem to be growing much since I planted it a month ago. But today it seemed to finally be growing and responding. Linda

  2. Linda: The one the deer ate was on the eastern side of our house. It got less sun so was about 2/3 the size of the one on the western side of the house, which gets full afternoon sun. So amount of sunlight makes a signficant difference.