Do Deer Eat Cucumbers?

Deer are beautiful creatures, but they can be a significant concern for gardeners, especially those who grow vegetables. Deer have a diverse diet, consuming a wide range of plants, including many common garden vegetables. One such vegetable is the cucumber, which can be particularly appealing to deer. Although deer have been known to occasionally feed on fruits and vegetables in gardens, most of their diet consists of woody plants, grasses, fungi, and other foliage. Some studies have shown that young deer prefer the taste of cucumbers over more traditional browse items such as oak and maple leaves. In addition to eating them fresh from the vine, it is also possible for deer to consume rotting or aged cucumbers that may be found in compost piles or in discarded garden waste. Cucumbers can provide a valuable source of nutrition for deer during winter months when other food sources may be scarce.

Deer and Cucumbers

Deer attraction to cucumbers

Deer are attracted to cucumbers for several reasons:

  • Taste: Cucumbers have a mild, refreshing taste that deer find appealing.
  • Moisture: Cucumbers are high in water content, making them an attractive source of hydration for deer, especially during dry periods.
  • Tender foliage: The leaves and stems of cucumber plants are tender and easy for deer to consume.

Nutritional benefits

While cucumbers may not provide significant nutritional benefits to deer as they’re 95% water, they do offer some essential nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin C: Cucumbers are a source of vitamin C, which supports immune function and overall health.
  • Vitamin K: This essential vitamin plays a role in blood clotting and bone health.
  • Potassium: Cucumbers contain potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and supports nerve and muscle function.

Protecting Cucumbers

To protect your cucumbers from deer, consider implementing one or more of the following strategies:

Fencing options

Fencing is one of the most effective ways to keep deer out of your garden. Consider the following fencing options:

  • Tall fencing: Deer are excellent jumpers, so installing a fence at least 8 feet high is necessary to deter them.
  • Electric fencing: An electric fence can be an effective deterrent, delivering a mild shock to deer that attempt to enter your garden.
  • Double fencing: Installing two fences spaced 3-5 feet apart can be a cost-effective alternative to a single tall fence. Deer are less likely to jump into a narrow, confined space.


Repellents can help deter deer from eating your cucumbers. Some popular repellents include:

  • Odor repellents: These products emit a scent that deer find unpleasant, such as predator urine or garlic. Apply odor repellents to the area surrounding your cucumbers, but not directly on the plants.
  • Taste repellents: These repellents make plants taste unpalatable to deer. Apply taste repellents directly to cucumber plants, but be sure to follow label instructions for safe application.
  • Homemade repellents: You can create homemade repellents using ingredients like egg, hot pepper, or garlic. However, their effectiveness may vary, and they often need to be reapplied after rain.

Plant placement

Strategic plant placement can help reduce deer damage to your cucumbers:

  • Close to your home: Plant cucumbers close to your house, as deer are more likely to avoid areas with frequent human activity.
  • In raised beds: Planting cucumbers in raised beds can make them more challenging for deer to access.
  • In containers: Container gardening allows you to move cucumber plants to a protected area, such as a porch or patio, during times of high deer activity.

Alternative Plants

If deer continue to be a problem in your garden, consider planting alternative, deer-resistant vegetables or using companion planting techniques.

Deer-resistant vegetables

While no plant is entirely deer-proof, some vegetables are less appealing to deer:

  • Onions: Deer tend to avoid onions due to their strong smell and taste.
  • Leeks: Similar to onions, leeks have a strong flavor and scent that deer find unappealing.
  • Garlic: Garlic’s pungent odor and taste can deter deer from consuming it.
  • Chives: The strong scent of chives can make them less attractive to deer.
  • Asparagus: Mature asparagus plants have a fern-like appearance and a bitter taste, making them less appealing to deer.

Companion planting

Companion planting involves strategically placing plants near one another to benefit each other in various ways, such as deterring pests or enhancing growth. Some plants can help deter deer from your cucumbers:

  • Marigolds: The strong scent of marigolds can repel deer and other pests. Plant marigolds around the perimeter of your cucumber garden to create a barrier.
  • Lavender: Deer dislike the smell of lavender. Planting it near your cucumbers may help deter deer.
  • Mint: The strong aroma of mint can help keep deer at bay. However, mint can be invasive, so plant it in containers to prevent it from spreading throughout your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s answer the most frequently asked questions about the diet of deer.

1. What are some deer resistant vegetables?

Deer resistant vegetables include onions, garlic, shallots, asparagus, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chives, spinach and Swiss chard. Herbs such as lavender and thyme also tend to be deer resistant. Deer have difficulty digesting the strong taste of these vegetables so they are less likely to eat them. Additionally, growing certain vegetables in a raised bed or a container with a fence around it can help deter deer from accessing the plants. Deer also dislike the texture of some vegetables like peas and beans so planting those can help discourage them from eating your garden.

2. How do I keep deer from eating my cucumbers?

The best way to keep deer from eating your cucumbers is to erect a fence around the area where you are growing them. Fences can be made of metal, wood, or plastic and should be at least seven feet tall. Additionally, you may want to consider using deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers, bright lights, or ultrasonic sound devices. These deterrents can startle deer away from your garden and discourage them from returning. Finally, it’s important to make sure that any food sources near your garden are removed or secured so that the deer cannot access them. By following these steps, you will help protect your cucumbers from deer browsing.

3. What kind of vegetables do deer eat?

Deer will typically eat a variety of vegetables, including leafy greens such as clover, dandelion, and alfalfa. They also like peas, beans, corn, carrots, beets, and turnips. In addition to common garden vegetables, deer may also consume legumes such as soybeans and clover. Some species of deer will even eat tree bark and buds off trees like willow and birch. Deer will usually sample a variety of plants in their habitat over the course of the year depending on availability.

4. Do deer eat cucumber peels?

Yes, deer will eat cucumber peels. In the wild, deer tend to be herbivores and will eat almost any plant material they come across. This includes fruits, vegetables, leaves, stems, and even peels. Cucumber peels are a great source of fiber for deer and provide them with essential nutrients such as antioxidants and minerals. Deer typically don’t have access to fresh cucumbers so they are happy to take advantage of whatever edible material is available to them in their natural environment.

5. Will my cucumbers grow back after deer eat them?”

No, unfortunately, your cucumbers will not grow back after deer eat them. Deer are known to consume large amounts of vegetation, and they are particularly fond of cucumbers. While the deer may leave some of the plant behind, it is unlikely that any viable seeds or roots will remain for new cucumber plants to regrow from. To prevent further damage from deer you can take measures such as erecting a fence or using repellant sprays.


While deer can be a significant concern for gardeners, especially those growing cucumbers, there are several effective strategies to protect your plants. Consider implementing fencing, repellents, strategic plant placement, or alternative deer-resistant plants to keep your cucumbers safe from deer. By understanding deer behavior and taking the appropriate precautions, you can enjoy a thriving garden and a bountiful harvest of cucumbers.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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