Which plants are reliably deer-resistant for you?

merrygardens(z5 MI)November 15, 2006

This summer deer made their way right up to my flower bed by the house and munched off the hosta--fortunately late in the season. But the foxgloves were untouched, as were astilbe, snapdragons, nicotiana alata and sylvestris. I appreciate the suggestion of carpet deodorizer in a recent post, and may use it for certain shrubs, but also would like to use plants that deer aren't interested in.

What are other suggestions for a list of reliably deer-resistant plants?

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Keeping in mind that starving deer will eat anything, even if it is deadly, the following plants are highly resistant:

Hellebores, Acontiums, Daffodils, Chionodoxa, Scillas, Dodacatheons, Erythroniums, Arums, Arisemas, Lamiums and Lamiastrums, Pulmonarias, Cimicifugas (now Actaeas), Geranium maccrorhizum and the hybrids like Biokovo, Karmina, etc, (but NOT most Geraniums), Perovskia, Agastaches, Penstemons, Phlomis, Stachys byzantina, Irises, all ornamental grasses, peonies, Pardancandas, Artemisias, Malvas, Santolinas,Lavendars, Acanthus, Linum, most asters, usually Baptisias, Salvias.

There are others, but at this moment I can't think of them.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 7:00AM
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Among conifer trees, the only one here that deer leave alone are spruce. They eat up white cedar, balsam fir, red, white, and jack pine with gusto. Deer have totally wiped out the next generation of all those species in my woods. Spruce however continue to thrive.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 11:18AM
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Now that I think about it, the deer have not been bothering the various species of Hollies we have. They also seem to be leaving alone the sassafras trees, tulip trees, and spice bush. They chew up rhodos, azaleas, mountain laurels and many deciduous trees. I have some pine saplings they have left alone so far but winter time often leads to all sorts of munching.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:02PM
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All the invasive weedy shrubs that are taking over the woods around your house are deer resistent also,that's what makes them so successful, but I wouldn't advise planting them.Deer resistance is not always a good criteria for choosing what plants to plant.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 3:15PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Highly resistant shrubs include Buddleia, Caryopteris, Callicarpa sp., Pieris, Kerria.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 6:13AM
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merrygardens(z5 MI)

Thanks very much for these suggestions! Very helpful.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 6:23PM
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Bob64, I am planning to plant several Satyr Hill hollies in my backyard for privacy (and I love hollies regardless) and have been told by several landscape companies that the deer will not bother these hollies. They may nibble in the early spring when the new growth starts, but that is it. They will not, I am told, decimate the bushes. I hope so. Has anyone had a problem with Satyr Hill hollies and deer?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 12:18PM
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The only thing they leave totally alone is bamboo. They've even eaten my daffodils as they come up, which ruins the flowers. They leave most herbs alone, iris, wisteria, hawthorne and thuja (when they are bigger). I use sticks to protect my little plants from those vermin. They love to eat roses too.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 4:23PM
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I am reporting on my experiences in my gardening blog that I've just started.

Here is a link that might be useful: deer-resistant

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 3:13PM
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I finally have to jump in here. What might be resistant in Maryland or West Virginia is not neccessarily resistant in Michigan.

What might be resistant in your yard may not work three blocks away. The density of the deer population, time of year and weather all play a part in what deer will eat.

Basically the more "smelly" and textured a plant is the more resistant it will be. This is why herbs tend to work as well as some hollies. You can also look at ornamental grasses since (ironically) deer don't feed on grass but on forbs.

The link below will give you some ideas on deer "proofing" your garden but don't count on the plant list to be of much help.

Best luck-

Here is a link that might be useful: Hill Country Gardens-Oh, Deer!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:45AM
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Caladiums are deer resistant

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 2:11AM
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Absolutely nothing except Castor Beans were excempt from the local deers wrath, including daffodils, Yuccas, Nicotiona, every ornamental grass, and everything else, inculding all things that are poisinous and spiny.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 11:53PM
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Here is a good article from TAMU website.


Here is a link that might be useful: Deer in the Urban Landscape

    Bookmark   April 4, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Dacoolest, I've had deer eat my castor plants. We need land mines here to keep the deer away.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 7:32PM
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Hi All,
Well I am up in Canada in deer moose and rabbit country. We use a product called plantskydd and it does work. 'Plantskydd Repellent is a 100% natural product developed in Sweden in 1991 in response to commercial forest plantations being decimated by deer, moose and rabbits. The forest industry needed an animal repellent that could last through severe weather and meet Sweden's strict environmental laws' I am not sure where you get this elsewhere but here is a link for where we buy it and maybe that will help you.

Also, I plant garlic and marigolds helter skelter through my flower and vegetable gardens and use the plantskydd on all perimeter entry areas of the beds and garden plots. Of course I have no scientific back up for this part of my effort :) just my grandmother!

Here is a link that might be useful: stop deer,rabbits,moose

    Bookmark   April 13, 2007 at 11:15AM
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Everyone has mentioned good deer resistance plants and I concur. What I wanted for my very steep north facing front yard was a landscape design that took your breath away. I have found that focusing on contrasting LEAF COLOR with what is resistant has made my garden a spot that the neighborhood stops and points to. Plant in BIG - yes really big- sweeps, considering heights and adjaciencies. Consider a limited color pallete. Chartruse is imperative to brighen a dark spot: Bacopa golden pearls, Helichrysim, cream Phornium. Silver: lambs ear,silver Society Garlic, Coast Rosemary. I could go on with my plant list but you get the idea: Contrast color of the leaf in big mounds. As for soil I built curving dry stone walls (with really cheap poor stone) to create level spots, and I poured over 400 cubic feet of soil - not so cheap. I tucked in succulents into the dry stone walls. If you have deer, at least give the plants soil! Seriously, soil, forest mulch, regular watering, and organic fertalizing is key to a fantastic deer garden, so go overboard if you want it to look amazing. Now, I invite the deer families (some would consider roving hords) to come by and have a drink at a fountian that I created from a large cast cement bowl that has a pump connected to a timer. I do not use deer repellents. My neighors have either given up on their front yards here in the hills of Mill Valley Ca, perfering to erect tall fences at the road, or do very little. YOU CAN BEAT THE DEER, but I had to learn through truely heartbreaking trial and error. I ripped out my first attempts over three years as I was still focused on flowering plants for color. Once I got it, "OK" I would say , "I get it, this is not working and this is not well designed", you can move on to the next step, creating a landscape design that is both friendly to these amazing creatures, with out hating them, and create something that is visually satifying, resistant, and deals with shade.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2007 at 10:09PM
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Rosemary, Lantana, Salvias, Copper Canyon Daisy, Zexmenia

They love: Roses, Pansies, Impatiens, Purple Coneflowers

I use a product called Deer Off on my roses. The poster above is correct, you never know what they will eat. They have never eaten the first five plants I have listed (in my Austin garden on the Barton Creek greenbelt).

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 12:20PM
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would like to know if the following are deer-resistant plants: blue Lyme Grass, threadleaf coeopsis(zagreb), and
royal purple smoke tree---?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Annette Holbrook

They don't seem to like my stand of helleborous (lenten rose).


    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 9:51AM
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Repeating a post I made on another thread. I have had great luck with Deerout and a motion detecting sprinkler. I bought a motion detecting floodlight and wired in a 24 volt transformer that went to a standard irrigation valve and then to one or more impact sprinkler heads. You can buy a motion detecting sprinkler on line but they are more expensive and less durable than making one. They also dont have lights. Now the deer dont come in my yard even if its off. Im training them I guess

Here is a link that might be useful: Deerout

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 9:43PM
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Interesting thread!

1. The blog by wonbyherwits is lovely - go visit.
2. I miss Muskoka. God's country. Can't beat that Canadian Shield landscape.

3. Last night, our deer ate the May Night Salvia right down. They also took out most of the larkspur, heuchera, pincushion flowers, and some sort of generic daisy.

The only things they've never touched are marigolds, snow crystal allysum, millet grass, ribbon grass, and dusty miller. Everything else is fair game.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 2:08AM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

Ive had very good success with deer out.Its mostly natural ingredients

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 8:41PM
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Hi, We've planted Viburnum (Cardinal Candy), the new Limelite hydrangea, both of which are supposed to be deer resistant but the deer are eating them both. We are now spraying those plants.
We also have Thuja Green Giant trees, Andromeda, Juniper shrubs and Charles Joly Lilacs, all of which the deer are avoiding (so far). They graze amongst the Green Giants and never touch them, even during our cold winter weather.
The Andromeda is in shade, only get sun for about 1 hour a day, doing very well. They are poisonous however, and must be planted in an area which is removed from children and pets.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 8:19AM
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Agertz -- thanks for the compliment. I recently updated my blog report on deer. I've listed the plants in my outer garden that are protected only by a 32" high flimsy wire edging that deer can easily jump. Since I updated the blog a few days ago, I'm finding more bunny damage than deer damage. However, it's just a few rudbeckia and gaillardia.

Here is a link that might be useful: updated deer report

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 7:42PM
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In the coldest part of last winter, I watched two deer enter my yard. They were hungry and one had an injured ankle. There was little visible to snack on and I was curious as to what they would choose. They toured the yard munching even on the bare branches of deer resistant shrubs. I watched as one approached the Microbiota decussata which I had planted around the edge of the patio. He took a bite, shook his head violently, jumped backwards a foot and went on to something else. They finally settled on arborvitae as the most desirable of what was available. This is just an observation and not scientific. Also, my deer are not as voracious as some, mostly because I don't believe our population has reached that point. You might want to add this low growing shrub to the resistant list.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2007 at 10:12AM
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Does anyone know if Shasta daisy is sufficiently stinky to keep deer away from other plants? Anyone with experience using this plant?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 2:28PM
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Deer here hate Shastas. But they reseed like crazy....

I haven't used them to screen other plants.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:22AM
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bluebars(7 MD)

Maryland - Shasta Daisys (blooming) were ignored right next to perennial black-eyed-susans which were literally mowed down (just before blooming) in one garden. On the other side of the house, both were mowed down to the ground; both were JUST before buds opened; I think they prefer the young greenery. Once the flowers are open, they might be safer from deer.
Really pointy hollies they leave alone (so far) but any hollies without the stickers, they eat them, especially new growth.
Invasives? They ate a fence full of Virginia Creeper, but only on one side of the fence--of course, the side we get to look at.
Daffodils? They don't eat them, just bite off the buds and spit them out. Hyacinths have been untouched.
Marigolds? They just pull them out of the ground, then spit them out to dry up and die.
Forget about the hydrangeas and daylillies.
I've seen them eat the neighbor's barberry bushes, thorns and all. My barberries, they just step on and break.
Iris goes untouched. Coral bells survive some nibbling. Periwinkle groundcover survives unless they pull it out.
Most of my neighbors have arborvitae--there's a contest for the best "deer topiary."
I'm trying some ferns now, some wild from our woods, some purchased. The nursery had a sale for "a buck a piece" but I hope that doesn't mean they are FOR the bucks. I know, lame joke.
Motion activated lights? The deer look happier, oh thank you, now they can see what they are eating!
Motion activated water? Oh, thank you, what a nice bath.
Motion activated sound? Oh, thank you, piped in music. Barking dogs? Oh, don't worry, they can't get out.
Coyote urine? Oh, just eat around it, there are starving children in the next county.
My hairdresser gave me a bag of hair cuttings to try. One of her customers swears by it. Didn't help my poor hydrangea, though. Maybe I'll try tying little mesh bags full. The hydrangea has become the "deer test" for many supposed deterrents. None have worked so far.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 12:56PM
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krazy_karma(z8a WA)

I'm getting ready to start a Victoria Ceanothus hedge in my yard not far from the road. I supposed they probably love that stuff, huh?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:44AM
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Thanks, bluebars. Both for the information and the laughs!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:58PM
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lavender, nepeta, lantana, buddleia, rosemary, thyme, sage, agastache, monarda, coreopsis. I keep my blog (follow My Page link) updated with my experience with the local deer herd.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 12:27PM
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flowers_in_va(z5 VA)

and Zinnias. They don't eat my Red Hot Poker, Salvia, Coreopsis, Feverfew (invasive), foxgloves, cleome, or my ornamental grasses, either. They will munch on Monarda, but typically leave it alone.

What they don't eat the rabbits do! Ugh.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 1:44PM
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I'm new here (usually on home forums) but found this thread interesting because of the regional differences. I'm in Oregon, and our deer leave rhodies, camellias, pieris, lavender, rosemary, lobelia, impatiens, iris, teucrium, nandina and most geraniums alone. But they've eaten coreopsis, daylilies, asters, ceanothus, hardy fuschia, euonymus, and even salvia. Roses, tulips and hosta I wouldn't even try! Last week my neighbor said they ate some marigolds!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 7:49PM
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Ali -- I'm trying to think of a way to capture all of this data from the forum so that it's easy to read. I'm willing to use space in my gardening blog (My Page links) to generate a list if we can figure out a good way to list plants by region. I usually have the worst damage on evergreen shrubs in February when the food source has dwindled. I'm actually finding lots of perennials to use in the summer garden. The deer walked through last night and all they nipped were the roses that come through the fenced area. They didn't eat anything in the outer garden last night.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 9:04AM
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I live in So Cal, in the hot valley. The one sure fire plant that my deer refuse to feast upon is lavender. So, I've got lavender where my rose bed used to be, in the front, back, the side yard. It's actually a great shrub and comes in many different varieties--low mounding, compact, with long or short spires. A definite thumbs up for deer prone California.

I've also had great luck with the margarita plant (Portulaca grandiflora). I planted a yellow one last fall and was waiting for it to disappear, but it never did. So I planted more, in numerous colors like maroon, pink, white. It really has been crazy deer-proof. It's a mounding bush that grows up to 3x3. Makes a great foundation setting for an annual garden.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:47AM
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Deer will NOT eat the following...

Bay laurel
Skimmia japonica
Hardy Opuntia cacti
Bleeding heart
Crape myrtle
Any ornamental grass
Any fern
Inkberry holly (usually leave any holly alone)
Butterfly bush
Most herbs
Day Lilly
Japanese forest grass
Russian sage
Dusty miller
Ice plant
Pieris japonica

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Which evergreens are deer resistant and can stand black walnuts? We really want to screen the road. I also don't want to put diner right next to the road and get someone killed. Size is no problem.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 8:22AM
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