Deer and Camillias

naughtywildcat(7Maryland)June 17, 2009

I am considering planting a hardy variety of Camillia to help balance out the look of the front of my house. However, we have a LOT of deer in the area, and I don't intend to plant a buffet for them. Does anyone have any experience with deer and Camillias?

Does anyone have any suggestions for vareities of Camillias that would work well in pretty thick shade?

I also could use some advice on the best time to plant them and some general care tips. I will be using these in place of some Dwarf Alberta Spruce that are just not getting large enough.

Thank you!!

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, naughtywildcat. Dwarf Alberta Spruce grows very very slowly (maybe about 2" a year or so?) and in full sun. Camellias are also known to grow slowly as well. Is that going to be a problem?

To start, I suggest looking for camellia sasanquas that bloom early. Look for Zone 7 varieties that do not spread but rather have an erect growth habit. Visit, a wholesaler with a good website.

Note: dense shade does not promote good bloomage regardless of what plant we are talking about. How "dense" is this shade that you are talking about?

Deer like to eat camellia flower buds and new tender leaves. See the link below for ideas on how to prevent damage.


Here is a link that might be useful: Suggestions on how to deal with deer problems

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 1:53AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If I were you, I'd call my local extension office to ask about how deer behave around camellia in your area. It really depends upon how badly out of balance the deer population is and how starved they are.

I've lived in a location where camellias were considered deer FOOD, and not worth the investment unless the area were fenced in by some means. Your extension office, or a good locally owned garden center (not the big box stores) would know.

Luis is right that camellias grow slowly, too.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:08PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Wow, was that in AL, rhizo?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 5:26AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I suppose how slow they grow will only be a problem if I can't afford to buy them at a decent size in the first place. I have noticed that the Alberta's do grow a bit, one of them has actually gotten noticeably bigger in the two years we've been living here now.
I don't mind too much less blooms, the shade is thick, though it grows in later than a lot of tree leaves, so spring is decent for the plants.
The deer around here are interesting, they nibble at the few iris's and daylilies that I have, but they leave the hostas alone for the most part until late in summer, right before they die off anyway. I like the netting idea posted from the linked post. I suppose, all things considered, the deer aren't desperate around here. I actually live on state park property in an equestrian center, so there is ample grass and such around here. I think they nibble the plants only for convenience, and because they enjoy the flavor better.

Does anybody have any other suggestions of plants that could handle the shade, grow in roughly the appropriate taller shape, and not attract deer? I have a pretty tough situation! :( (and that's only the beginning, I won't even mention the weedtrees that create the shade in my yard...)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 1:54PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

No, Luis, it was in coastal SC. The deer pressure is very high in coastal locations, where development has eaten up most of the natural habitat. The deer are starved and will eat almost anything.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 2:46PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Have you checked holly bushes in your zone?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 5:45PM
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