Garden Tip: Make Your Own Deer Repellent

Posted on August 2, 2013


Lila is the first to admit that she knows little about gardening, but we live in one of the very few quasi-rural areas of Northern Virginia, and that means that we share our little patch of woods with all the wildlife that has been crowded out of everywhere else.  We have it all:  raccoons, foxes, groundhogs, opossums, lizards, snakes, turtles, deer… oh, yes.  The deer.

The first year we moved here, I brought along some daylily roots from our old place.  They came up, but it seemed that every night somebody was coming along and chewing them right down to the ground.  This is not real conducive to getting actual flowers.

Lila’s a little slow on the uptake (our old place was in a more urban area, and besides, we had a fence), but eventually, a dim little light bulb went off and I realized it was the deer.  What to do, what to do?  Off to the internet to find out!

Wow, these commercial deer repellents are expensive!  But after much reading, it seemed that “putrescent whole egg solids” were a big ingredient in the commercial repellents that customers reported to be the most effective.  Eggs, really?  I have those in the fridge!  How hard could it be to rot an egg?

???????????????????????????????Not hard at all.  It turns out that quite a few people do this: fill a gallon jug with water, add one beaten egg, and put it somewhere outside or in your garden shed or wherever.  Give it a few days, then, while trying not to breathe, pour the results of your science experiment into a garden sprayer.  Try not to let too much of the solid goop get in there, to prevent clogging.  Spray your at-risk plants once a week or so, or after it rains (the stuff does wash off).

Caution:  this will stink, so I do it in the evening when we are done with the outdoors for the day.  By morning, it has dried and is not noticeable.

Does it work?  Oh, yes!  The first year I planted tulips, I was warned that they are “deer candy.”  As the plants came up, I kept them well sprayed.  One morning, there was one tulip which had the flower and one leaf bitten off; the flower and the leaf were lying on the ground about 10 feet away, barely chewed.  Here’s the image that popped into my head:


Every spring there are new fawns who, of course, have to learn that these flowers over here are gross; but once the lesson has been learned, we generally get through the summer with little deer damage, and all for the price of just a few eggs.


Lila’s daylilies… impossible without the rotten eggs.