En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 20, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Deer Resistant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Lily plants being chewed from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?


There are 274 members of the Liliaceae (lily) family native to Texas and 34 plants native to Texas with the word "lily" in their common name, so identifying the plant is not likely to help us answer your question. However, if they are beng "eaten to the ground," in Austin, we are betting on deer.

From the University of Nebraska Plants That Deer Will Not Eat lists "Tiger Lily."

eHow Deer Resistant Tiger Lily

Yahoo answers:  "Deer like lillies...I don't think there is a kind they won't eat. You will need to fence them in."

So, that's two to one, deer won't eat tiger lilies. Lilium lancifolium (tiger lily) is native to northern and eastern Asia, so they won't be in our Native Plant Database anyway.

Garden Web, Asiatic Lilies and Deer  "Oh yeah. The deer love asiatic lily. Actually they love any plant in the lily family." Obviously, Asiatic Lilies will not be in our Native Plant Database, either.

Deer Resistant Plants Deer Repellants Don't Always Work Lists Lilium orientale (Oriental Lily) as one deer don't like. Another non-native.

So, here's the thing: If you have cows grazing in your garden, they will eat anything, and basically, so will deer. Deer tend to show up and eat after dark, so you may not realize they are in the neighborhood. It is very dry and hot this year, and deer will brazenly walk into your yard and eat your shoelaces if you are not moving fast enough.

We suggest you educate yourself on the plants deer will eat. We have a list of 344 native plants deer tend to avoid. Please read this paragraph that leads that list:

"Deer Resistant Species

Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."






More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Shade tolerant Wildflowers for Oklahoma City
April 16, 2012 - I live in Oklahoma City. I'm not in town very often, and am seeking low maintenance plants. I have MANY trees in my backyard, which makes it quite shady. I have raised beds amongst my rock garden ...
view the full question and answer

When to Collect Rudbeckia triloba Seed?
September 13, 2014 - How soon after flowering may I cut Rudbeckia triloba flower heads to save seeds? Do cones need to be attached to the plant in or out of the ground to continue to mature?
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn in Carson City, NV
October 15, 2013 - I planted habiturf just south of Reno NV May 5. First two months no or little germination because nite temps too cold. Now doing ok except battling purslane and redstem filaree.. SO, I notice bare/spa...
view the full question and answer

Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
December 24, 2012 - I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ...
view the full question and answer

Soil Loosener/Pollinator Plants for Houston
August 11, 2014 - I am trying to establish a mostly-native pollinator way-station in a recently purchased lot in a 100 year old neighborhood in Houston. Much of the property has a thick layer of oyster shell four to si...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center