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Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

Posted by ponderosa-alpenglow 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 25, 12 at 23:11

Hi there,

I am looking for suggestions for this space in my yard. Up my driveway I'd like to put Giant Snowdrops and then some kind of hanging perennial that would drape over the wood eventually.

We have animal problems, they eat everything (deer, bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks) so I'm looking for something resistant if possible. We don't want to have to deer proof this area with wire fencing.

I'm in Pine Mountain Club California. The local nursery says we are in zone 6 even though the zip code look up states zone 9. We have summers in the 80's and freezes in the winter.

Despite the picture it's full sun.

I have looked and looked and bookmarked different plants, I've seen the lists, etc. Just wondering what other people think. Thank you!

I'll be digging out the sage(?) and mending the soil. Here's a picture showing the area. As you can see it needs help!

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

The only trailing plant I know deer will never eat is rosemary. While I don't get much frost, it does seem very cold tolerant and once established, won't need summer water. I have given up fighting the deer and since I can't beat them, I have learned to live with them. I'm sure there are other plants that may work for you but rosemary looks good year round and honestly, I personally refuse to fight mother nature in this CA foothill area anymore. Good luck.


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

A trailing rosemary I also think would be easy as well as beautiful. Their is a selection called "Ken Taylor" that has a better color that I am very pleased with. Al


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

Thank you both very much! We don't want to fight the deer either.


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

Any non hanging / trailing ideas?


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

Ponderosa, you might want to check out High Country Gardens. They're a great online nursery that specializes in plants for higher elevations here in California. They also code all their items with several different codes, one being deer-resistant. They are also very helpful if you have a question. And, you probably want to scrape using the USDA hardiness zones. As you've found out, they're just about worthless for us here in California, with all our microclimates. You're better off using the Sunset Garden zones. You'll do much better with that, and your local nurseries (including High Country) will actually be more familiar with those zones. If you don't have it, you should pick up a Sunset Western Garden Book. It's our gardening "bible" here in California. Great, great suggestions in there as well, and you can get some very good ideas about gardening in your specific area of California.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: High Country Gardens


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

Thanks Patty. That is a great website. I emailed them when you replied to me. Hopefully I will get some feedback. I like their variety of Salvia.


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

We have really rabid deer and I've found that "deer-resistant" is pretty much meaningless. The only plants they truly avoid, in my experience, are ones with aromatic foliage. Around here, that means rosemary, many sages, rockrose, lavender, sagebrush, catmint etc. I think with the exception of the rockrose you can find varieties of all of those that will work in zone 6, even the lavender. Actually, I have never seen a deer touch coyote brush (baccharis pilularis) either, so that's another option for you.

There are other plants that deer will kill when they're young and tender and just out of nursery pots, but after a couple of seasons in the ground they become less enticing, so if you protect them for a bit they will probably be fine. Western redbud is a really beautiful shrub, tough as nails and now that it's a little taller the deer are ignoring it. The same goes for the birch I planted in front of my house.

A third strategy is to use fast-growing plants that quickly grow too big for the deer to take down. Ceanothus "Ray Hartman" comes to mind, and that will certainly take a freeze. Flowering plum trees are also very vigorous and if you plant a five-gallon specimen, they'll be safe from the deer in a season or two.


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RE: Hanging Deer Resistant Hardy Perennial Suggestions?

I checked my Sunset Western Gardening Book and you are probably in Sunset zone 1a, 2a or 3a, depending on your specific location. Check the site in the link below with your zipcode. It's a great site to start with even if you don't want natives. You can only amend your soil so much so I think would be easier to stick with natives.
Sunset book does have a section on deer resistant plants...but it depends on the deer how hungry or fussy they are.d
I wonder if there is a nursery in Ojai that could help you.
Green Thumb down here in Santa Clarita might be able to help you...ask for Dan. Call first unless you are passing thru here regularly.
I would stick with chaparral or local woodland variaties. If they haven't stripped all those to the ground then they might leave yours alone.
I have heard hanging in an onion bag or an old nylon Coast soap or other scented soaps. Deer hate the scent.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laspilitas zipcode


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