Do Deer Eat Vinca? (No, here’s why)

If you grow Vinca in the garden, then there’s good news for you.

deer eat vinca

You can now grow them without worrying about deer stealing all food.

Although Vinca is a tropical perennial, in most regions, the plant is grown as annual.

So, do Deer eat Vinca?

Deer will not eat vincas because they taste terrible.

Deer avoid vincas for the same reason human beings do: because they are foul-tasting and poisonous. 

The leaves of common periwinkle (vinca minor) contain alkaloids known as reserpine, a notoriously bitter toxin that induces vomiting if ingested in large doses. 

Common periwinkle is native to Europe but can now be found growing throughout eastern North America, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, central Asia, and Japan.

Deer vs Vinca Plant

The deer population has increased manifolds just because it does not fear much of any predators.

Human interference has diminished their natural habitat and they adapt well to human surroundings no matter how lightly populated the area is.

The major reason for this is that they feed on very few types of vegetation which include grasses, leaves, twigs, etc. They will eat anything close to what it requires as long as it tastes good.

However, there are certain plants like the Vinca that they will not touch at all.

Vinca plants are toxic to all animals that graze or browse plant material because of their reserpine content. Toxicity symptoms include digestive problems associated with reduced food intake, birth defects due to a lack of protein in the mother’s diet, and death.

In addition to their toxicity, vinca plants have an unpleasant odor that further deters deer from eating them. The smell is caused by coumarins, a group of fragrant chemicals found in many plants. 

Coumarins are also responsible for the sweet scent of new-mown hay and the distinct flavor of tonka beans. While some species of deer will nibble on vinca leaves if no other food is available, they generally avoid eating them.

It is because of this that the Vinca plant has become a popular choice for gardens as deer would not be able to access it easily. So, if you are wondering if deer eat vinca or not, then the answer is a big no. 

Not only will they not eat it, but they will also stay away from it. In fact, planting these around your vegetable garden will help keep the deer out and protect your vegetables.

So, go ahead and plant some Vinca in your garden today and rest assured knowing that the deer will not be able to touch them.

Vinca Plant Classification:

GenusVinca; L. 1753

Reasons Why Deer Don’t Eat Vinca Plant:

1. Deers typically avoid eating plants that are poisonous: Vinca plants contain poisonous alkaloids, so deer tend to avoid them. This helps keep the deer population healthy, as they are less likely to consume harmful plants.

2. Vinca plants have a bitter taste: The alkaloids that make vinca plants poisonous also give them a bitter taste. This further discourages deer from eating them.

3. Vinca flowers are unappetizing to deer: Deers typically don’t eat flowers, and the vinca flower is no exception. The colorful petals may be pretty to look at, but they don’t offer much in the way of nutrition.

4. Vinca plants are not very nutritious: Vinca plants aren’t especially rich in nutrients, so deer get little energy from eating them.

5. Deer eat plants to get their daily requirement of Vitamin A. Vinca flowers has none of it. Deer know what’s good for them and will pass right over vincas in favor of more nutrient-rich plants that have Vitamin A in them, like dandelions or clover.

6. Less attractive: The leaves on the vinca contain secondary compounds designed by nature to make the plant less attractive to animals when it is consumed as part of a mixed diet rather than when it grows alone with no other plants around it.

7. Deers have a good sense of smell, and they can tell when a plant is poisonous: The alkaloids that make vinca plants poisonous also give them a strong, unpleasant smell. This helps deer avoid them, even if they are tempted to eat.

8. Vinca grows in shady areas, which deer typically avoid: Deers prefer to eat plants that grow in sunny areas, so they tend to avoid vinca plants that grow in shady areas.

9. The stems on vinca are prickly, which makes them uncomfortable to eat: The prickly stems on vinca can be uncomfortable for deer to eat, so they often avoid them.

10. Vinca plants are easy to identify, and deer know that they are poisonous: Deers are familiar with the appearance of vinca and know that they are poisonous. This helps keep them from eating them by mistake.

There are several reasons why deer don’t typically eat Vinca. The plants contain poisonous alkaloids, have a bitter taste, aren’t very nutritious, and grow in shady areas that deer usually avoid. 

Additionally, the stems on vinca plants are prickly and the flowers are unappetizing, making them less appealing to deer than other types of plants.

Can Deer Damage Vinca Plant? 

vinca and deer

It is possible for deer to damage Vinca by rubbing their antlers on the stems of the evergreen everblooming plant.

The hardy vinca plant has small but sturdy leaves and is green year-round. 

It blooms in early spring with delicate blue, pink or white flowers. Deer often rub on trees to rub off their old antlers, leaving noticeable scars on the trunks of the trees. They may also do this while patrolling their territory during mating season. 

When this occurs, it can be difficult to determine whether or not they are intentionally damaging your plants – until it’s too late!

Once damaged, some varieties of Vinca cannot be restored if the health of large branches has been compromised.

Therefore, your best line of defense is to keep your Vinca plants out of deer territory altogether.

Deer damage, while unsightly, is generally not fatal to the plants. If you are lucky enough to have a small garden with limited deer access, your vincas should be safe.

How To Prevent Deer From Eating Other Plants In The Garden Using Vinca as a Companion Plant

You might be in a situation where your beloved flowers and plants are eaten down by deer. The solution to this problem is simple.

You can use the Vinca as a way of protecting the other plants from being heavily damaged by these herbivorous mammals. 

These vinca plants have been used for generations now, with their effectiveness proven time and again.

They are also found in different parts of the world including North America, South Africa, Australia, and Asia when it comes to their wide range of utilization across continents. 

1. Applying vinca near the plants

Deer tend to eat plants if they find them appetizing so better protect these plants by applying vinca near them. One way of doing it is by planting the vinca around the plants that you want to save. 

You can also make a little fence out of plants by intertwining the vinca plants together to form a barrier.

This fence should be at least 6 feet high and 8 feet wide. It is also important to remember to trim the vines regularly so they won’t grow too tall and become ineffective as a fence.

2. Create a line of Vinca in front of your plants

Another way of using vinca is by creating a line of Vinca in front of your flower bed or garden. The deer will not be able to cross this ‘barrier’. 

Vinca can also be used as an effective repellent against other types of animals that might be eating your plants such as rabbits, groundhogs, and even raccoons.

How to Grow Vinca Plant

While growing Vinca, keep in mind that it doesn’t like wet feet, so make sure the soil is well-drained.

You can grow Vinca in either full sun or partial shade. In warmer climates, give it some afternoon shade to prevent it from getting too hot.

Fertilize Vinca plants with a balanced fertilizer every month or two during the growing season. If you’re growing them in containers, be sure to water them regularly, especially when the weather is hot.

In colder climates, Vinca plants may die back to the ground in winter. In this case, simply cut them back to about 6 inches tall and they will re-grow in spring.

If you are growing Vinca in a container, then regular deadheading is important. If you don’t deadhead the flowers before they go to seed, your plant will stop blooming altogether.

Like most flowering plants, re-potting may be necessary every few years as Vinca grows bigger and outgrows its current pot. Re-pot during spring or autumn when the plant isn’t actively growing.

Well-drained soil would ensure the healthy growth of violet. You can add aged manure or compost while planting it. Mulching from early summer onwards with organic material would reduce the watering requirements of this ground cover plant. 

During winter, it should be protected from ponding water, which leads to rotting of the root zone. Apply mulch on the root zone during winter.

Applying balanced NPK fertilizer while planting vinca is also advisable, as it enhances the blooming. It prefers normal room temperature to grow. It can be grown in partial shade or full sun exposure.

Vinca likes moist soil, so it should be watered at least once per week, preferably twice or more if conditions are really hot and dry.

It may face problems of mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites(the tiny yellow bugs). They can be controlled by using neem oil pesticides at the recommended concentration.

Well-draining soil would ensure the healthy growth of violet. You can add aged manure or compost while planting it. 

Mulching from early summer onwards with organic material would reduce the watering requirements of this ground cover plant.

During winter, it should be protected from ponding water, which leads to rotting of the root zone. Apply mulch on the root zone during winter.

Vinca can be propagated by stem cuttings in spring or autumn. It is also possible by dividing the roots into new plants, but this might take time before you get results.

You can divide them into 6-inches pots filled with regular potting mix and then keep it moist until you see new growth at its base.

The best time to plant vinca is in the early spring before the deer start to browse on plants. You can also replant them in the fall season when the deer are no longer active. 

These plants will continue to grow and spread over time, forming a beautiful barrier of green that will keep your plants safe from being eaten by deer.

If you’re looking for an easy and affordable way to protect your plants from being destroyed by deer, then using vinca is the way to go.


While deer will not typically eat Vinca, there is always the potential that they could start feeding on them if they are starving or if the plants are growing in an area where there is little other food available. 

If you are worried about deer eating your vinca plants, it is best to take some precautions to protect them.

You can install fencing around your garden to keep the deer out, or you can use deer repellent to keep them away from your plants.