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Do Deer Eat Oregano? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 11:39 am

It’s pretty frustrating to have months of hard work destroyed in mere minutes. It’s even more frustrating knowing that it’ll take you just as much time to rebuild.

So, as a gardener, you may be pretty wary of pests. And even animals like deer that seem to be cute can wreak havoc on your garden.

Thus if you have oregano in your garden and live in an area with many deer, you may wonder whether they pose a risk to your herbs.

So, do deer eat oregano? Oregano is deer resistant, and so deer do not eat them. Oregano has a sweet, strong smell, and deer, just like humans, eat with their noses picking up aroma first. Therefore, they tend to turn away and avoid plants with heavily fragranced foliage. An extremely aromatic plant often confuses deer’s olfactory system, thereby deterring its feeding process.

Do Oregano Attract Deer?

Oregano is one of the highly-rated deer-resistant herbs. Oregano repels deer to a very large extent, and deer itself keeps a far distance from these delicious herbs because of the plant’s strong-smelling oil or the intense aroma of its foliage.

Deer are usually not attracted to plants with a strong aroma. Therefore, what deters them is not the plant itself but rather the fragrance that comes from the plant, which negatively interferes with their olfactory system, disrupting their feeding actions.

Deer have a discrete sense of smell which makes it very easy for deer to find food effectively.  This singular trait of deer can be used as an advantage to repel them from your garden by using smells that they dislike, such as oregano. So, oregano does not attract deer.

Also, planting oregano close to herbs that deer enjoy feeding a lot on, the smell of the oregano confuses the deer and makes it unable to detect the scent of the plant it enjoys eating.

What Plant Do Deer Hate The Most?

There is no particular plant that can be said deer hates the most. There are different types of deer, and they all feed on other herbs. So knowing the plant deer hates depends on the kind of deer and the location where the deer is found.

However, all deer repellents, irrespective of the type and location of the deer, have a unique characteristic — they are all strongly aromatic.

The strong smell of certain herbs is distasteful enough to keep deer away from your garden and prevent them from feeding on your plant. Few examples of such herbs include:

1. Rosemary

Rosemary is a tender, lovely garden plant with a sweet, unique smell. But, unfortunately, its smell makes it unpalatable to deer and other forest animals.

2. Russian Sage

Russian sage is a stunning herb plant usually grown for its beauty and scent. Unfortunately, its foliage and flowers are heavily scented; just the way deer hate it.

3. Lavender

The beauty and heady fragrance of this herd plant are greatly loved by many, and it’s considered the plant that invites deer traffic the most.

Other features of plants that deer do not eat include:

  • Plants with hairy, fibrous, leathery, spiny, or prickly foliage or stems such as lady’s mantle, lambs ear, barberry, etc., are no-go areas for deer.
  • Plants that contain compounds that are toxic to deer. Young deer tend to learn and differentiate poisonous plants from non-toxic ones from older herd members and will not eat anything that will upset their digestive system. Therefore, such plants as monkshood, spurges are considered toxic to deer.
  • Also, deer do not eat certain grasses because of their sharp edges and because the grass takes lots of time for the deer to digest them.

Why Do Deer Not Eat Oregano?

Deer do not eat oregano because of their intolerance for strong fragrance herbs, and oregano is strongly aromatic. One distinct trait of deer is their high sense of smell. This trait helps deer in finding food and identifying predators.

In addition, some herb plants such as oregano have a very strong smell which can interfere with the deer’s sense of smell, thereby preventing it from finding its food.

So, deer usually stay away from such plants because it prevents them from finding their food and exposes them to potential danger as they won’t be able to detect predators in that area.


Deer do not eat oregano and other strong aromatic herb plants because such plants disrupt its ability to effectively find its food and prevent it from detecting close enemies.

This is because such plants tend to confuse their olfactory system. As a result of this, deer stay away from aromatic plants. Such aromatic and strong-smelling herb plants include Rosemary, Russian sage, lavender, and oregano.

Others include grasses that make digestion difficult for deer because of their sharp edges; plants with hairy, fibrous, spiny foliage or stems such as barberry are usually avoided by deer.

So, deer do not only eat oregano but every other plant with a strong aromatic smell.

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