There’s no contesting that hydrangeas are a unique flower. They are beautiful and bountiful and, best of all, have a fairly long bloom time, from mid-Spring all the way through to the first frost of Winter.
However, it’s an unfortunate truth that, at times, they find their beauty compromised. The reason being they are the prey of many an animal.
So just, who are these animals, and more importantly, how can we stop them?! We’ve explored both of these questions below.
So, what animals eat hydrangeas? Hydrangeas have long been the feast of several animals. Perhaps the four most predominant and likely culprits are rabbits, squirrels, deer, and woodchucks. However, groundhogs have been known to eat them too.
With these animals present in your garden, your hydrangeas are under threat.
So read on to find out more!
- 1 What Animals Are Eating My Hydrangeas?
- 2 How Do I Stop Animals From Eating My Hydrangeas?
- 3 How To Better Protect Your Hydrangeas
- 4 How Do I Get My Hydrangeas To Grow Again?
What Animals Are Eating My Hydrangeas?
Unlike many other mammals, deer do not hibernate.
Hence, they have sufficient time to work up quite the appetite over the Winter months, and by the time Spring comes around, and your hydrangeas are scheduled to bloom, it’s safe to say that they’re hungry!
No part of your hydrangeas is safe.
Deer are happy to eat not just the leaves and flowerheads but also the stems and bulbs.
Thus, the repercussions for your hydrangeas are potentially fatal.
Admittedly, hydrangeas aren’t a deer’s first choice of food, but if they’re hungry enough and simultaneously lacking alternative food sources, there’s no stopping them!
Rabbits, even the grazers, also pose a risk to our beloved hydrangeas.
Again, by no means are hydrangeas their main source of prey, but if they spot the plant, they’ll certainly take a bite or two, with a predominant focus on the plant’s flower buds and leaves.
Hydrangeas can grow up to around 6 feet tall, so thankfully, the higher parts of your plant will be safe because the rabbits simply can’t reach them.
It’s the areas closer to the ground that are at risk, and the younger plants too.
If you notice that your hydrangea’s flower heads are missing or that the top of the plant seems to be a bit deformed, you may well have a voracious squirrel on your hands!
Untouched leaves are another indicator of this. With squirrels, it’s the flowers themselves that are at risk.
Fortunately, hydrangeas tend to be capable of self-resolving flower damage.
Rather, the main issue is not when the squirrels eat them but when they dig them up in search of alternative food or accidentally as they endeavor to bury their nuts. Either way, watch out for squirrels!
Hydrangeas have a strong sweet aroma about them.
For humans, it makes them all the more desirable. However, quite problematically, their scent is an attractant to woodchucks!
These large rodents have garnered a rightful reputation for destroying gardens, and hydrangeas are, unfortunately, no exception.
Initially drawn in by their smell, they’ll munch away at every part of your beloved hydrangeas and, no doubt, cause some serious damage.
How Do I Stop Animals From Eating My Hydrangeas?
Fortunately, there are several different strategies that can be adopted to prevent animals from eating your hydrangeas.
Read on to familiarize yourself with a few of them.
You can effectively repel animals away from your hydrangeas by surrounding them with plants that animals find repulsive.
From lavender to columbine plants, there are several exciting options for you to choose from.
Not only will this approach deter animals away from the vicinity of your hydrangeas, but it also adds to the beauty of your garden. It’s a win-win!
Similarly, scent deterrents can be sprayed on the hydrangea or incorporated into the soil beneath it.
Scents like cayenne pepper and peppermint are particularly effective.
Deers and rabbits simply can’t stand them and will be sure to stay away.
Plus, these solutions are non-toxic; thus, unlike many store-bought repellents, they won’t pose a risk to beneficial animals, pets, or even human health.
Another worthy solution? Physical barriers!
With a properly sized fence, or even chicken wire in place, the animals won’t be able to get to the hydrangeas, and their interest in attempting to do so will waver soon enough!
How To Better Protect Your Hydrangeas
Whilst the above methods will protect your hydrangeas from animals, it’s important to note that pests pose a risk too.
These include aphids, Japanese beetles, mites, and even caterpillars. Hence, you’ll need to put measures in place to protect your hydrangeas from these bugs too.
Whilst aphids can be knocked off the plant via a powerful stream of water; you may want to pick up some neem oil, if not something stronger like store-bought insecticides, to manage the other bugs.
Soon enough, your hydrangeas will be back in tip-top condition!
Overall, it is clear that the optimal way to protect your hydrangeas is to focus on preventative measures.
That is, to adopt the above-mentioned recommendations when you first plant them rather than only once you notice that they’re being eaten.
How Do I Get My Hydrangeas To Grow Again?
Luckily, hydrangeas are resilient. If their foliage or flowers have been eaten, it’s likely that they’ll make a full recovery.
Of course, this likelihood diminishes as the frequency of animal attacks increases.
For instance, if deer feast on your hydrangeas once or twice, they may make a recovery.
However, if the deer’s efforts are constant, the hydrangeas will surely reach a point of no return.
So, provided you put interventions in place in a timely manner, you probably won’t need to worry about replacing your hydrangeas.
You may also benefit from enlisting fertilizer to help you out a couple of times a year.
The fertilizer will provide the plant with extra nutrients and enable it to grow healthily, particularly if it has already undergone some damage.
Optimize Growing Conditions
Finally, you’ll need to ensure that your hydrangea is in the best possible conditions for its growth.
That is, its soil should be moist but well-drained, and the area in which they’re planted should not be too sunny, nor should it have too much shade.
Related guides you may want to check out:
- What Is Eating My Viola Flowers?
- What Is Eating My Chrysanthemum Flowers?
- What Is Eating My Magnolia Flowers?
Hey there – I’m Jesse, a professional florist, and gardening enthusiast. I created MyGardenFlowers to share all that I can about the flowers that I have planted and managed to grow in my garden.