Help!!! Need ideas on shade plants that deer hate FAST

nandw(5)April 23, 2009

I would really appreciate info on plants that will grow in the shade and be there when I wake up the next day.....Love deer but hate it when they feast on my plants. I have planted things in the past that claimed they would be and my deer loved to eat them to the ground.

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chezmoose(z4/5 MI)

I've heard that deer don't care for fuzzy leaved plants as much. Have you tried pulmonaria or brunnera? I've had deer eat my hostas but haven't bothered the other plants much.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:53AM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

Poisonous plants (dicentra, lily of the valley, foxgloves, etc) and ferns. Try to get hold of a book called Deer-Resistant Landscaping by Neil Soderstrom. It has a list of plants in the back.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:58PM
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kbcherokee(Z6b Pa.)

Try herbs,ornamental grasses, junipers, hyssop,spice bush (lindera benzoin).If the deer are hungry enough they will eat anything.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 8:37PM
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Here's my short list:
Broadleaf evergreens: Pieris, Leucothoe, Nandina, Mahonia. All grow about 5-7 feet tall and are evergreen.

Deciduous shrubs: Spirea, lilac, hydrangea (somewhat nibbled) forsythia (likewise), potentilla.

Perennials: Bleeding heart, ferns, foxglove, brunnera, geranium (the species, not Pelargonium), Jacob's ladder. Anything in the Lamiaceae family. DO NOT plant mint in the dirt, keep it in a pot or you will be sorry!

Annuals: Herbs, alyssum, zinnia, four-o-clock, French marigolds (not the hybrids).

Alas, the deer don't read the same books I read. These plants work in my yard.

good luck!


Here is a link that might be useful: Lamiaceae Family

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 3:03PM
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greenbug(zone 6_CT)

Hi Florrie,
I have the same deer problem and have grown alyssums, zinnias and marigolds in the past year which were left untouched by deer.
But I would like to confirm with you if these annuals will do well in shade? I have just created some flowerbeds in heavy shaded areas where grass will not grow, but I thought these planst need sun.
If not, I have some seedlings in the trays and I could plant them in the shade.
I would really appreciate knowing what your experience is as far as these plants and shade.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 10:08PM
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To add to ajpa's list of poisonous plants that deer avoid: sweet woodruff (a great groundcover!), aconitum, daffodils.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 9:55AM
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shpnquen(z5, IN)

greenbug, I believe all those annuals require at least 4 hours of sun. They "may" grow & grow decent, but you may not get the flowering you are looking for. I have tried to grow alyssum under an oak tree with NO luck, but it thrives & spreads out in my sunny bed & reseeds itself heavily every year there. I'm pretty sure zinnia are the same, I'm guessing marigolds too, but I'm not a fan of them, so I don't have them to report on. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 7:23PM
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Alyssum will tolerate some shade but marigolds and zinnias are sun plants and won't do well in the shade

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 2:12AM
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von1(z4 NY)

Epimedium love dry shade, grow well in my zone 4,spread gradually, some faster than others. There are different heights also. The flowers are beautiful, but tiny.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 6:09AM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

Having an average of 5-12 deer in my yard every day means I have concentrated on this for several years now. I live right on the edge of a large wildlife preserve where the deer have essentially wiped out ALL of the native wildflowers and groundcover plants. Most of my land is light to medium shade.

Epimediums and Hellebores are a great choice (I grow over 50 species and varieties of Epis and hundreds of Hellebores). Lamium, Brunnera and Pulmonaria are also good. If you plant Lamiastrum use "Herman's Pride" its a bushy one that doesnt spread but has nice foliage and flowers. Dracunculus is fabulous as an accent in my garden. Arum italicum if it isn't an invasive in your area. Stylophorum is a must-have for the yellow in early Spring. I've had fair luck with Trilliums, T. luteum is especially good.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 10:41AM
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