After all the hard work that goes into making a beautiful garden, nothing makes a gardener’s blood boil more than finding that hungry deer have decimated several prized plants. There are various methods to deter deer from destroying your garden, and one way is to choose and plant deer resistant plants.
There really is no such thing as a deer proof plant. When deer are hungry enough, they will eat anything, even a plant they would normally consider to be a second-rate meal. Deer resistant plants are generally avoided by deer, although there are always going to be some deer who didn’t read the rules.
Deer tend to be like some children; they don’t like to feel odd textures in their mouths. Plants that are prickly or fuzzy can be considered as deer resistant plants because in many cases the deer will avoid eating them. Aromatic plants are also avoided by deer, along with plants that have a milky sap and those that give deer an upset stomach.
If you have plants in your garden that seem to be particularly desirable to deer, consider protecting those plants by surrounding them with deer resistant plants.
When planning or adding to a garden in an area with a lot of deer traffic, keep in mind that deer like a diet of bland, juicy plants. If the plant is smelly, spiky, fuzzy, or sappy, chances are the deer won’t like it nearly as much as you do. It is possible to have a beautiful garden, despite the deer, so long as you work with deer resistant plants.
These plants are considered deer resistant, which means the deer will avoid them if they have access to plants that they like better.
|Botanical Name||Common Name|
|Amelanchier laevis||Allegheny Serviceberry|
|Artemisia sp.||Silver Mound|
|Asarum canadense||Wild Ginger|
|Buddleia sp.||Butterfly Bush|
|Buxus sempervirens||Common Boxwood|
|Helleborus sp.||Lenten or Christmas Rose|
|Calendula sp.||Pot Marigold|
|Caryopteris clandonensis||Blue Mist Shrub|
|Centaurea cineraria||Dusty Miller|
|Centaurea cyanus||Bachelor’s Buttons|
|Cleome sp.||Spider Flower|
|Colchicum sp.||Autumn Crocus|
|Convallaris majalis||Lily of the Valley|
|Coreopsis verticillata||Threadleaf Coreopsis|
|Dicentra spectabilis |
now classified as Lamprocapnos spectabilis
|Digitalis purpurea||Common Foxglove|
|Dryopteris marginalis||Wood Fern|
|Echinacea purpurea||Purple Coneflower|
|Echinops ritro||Small Globe Thistle|
|Eranthus hyemalis||Winer Aconite|
|Euphorbia sp. (except ‘Chameleon’)||Spurge|
|Festuca glauca||Blue Fescue|
|Fritilaria imperialis||Crown Imperial, Fritilia|
|Gypsophila sp.||Baby’s Breath|
|Ilex opaca||American Holly|
|Ilex verticillata||Winterberry Holly|
|Lobularia maritima||Sweet Alyssum|
|Melissa officinalis||Lemon Balm|
|Monarda didyma||Bee Balm|
|Perovskio atriplicifolia||Russian Sage|
|Picea glauca ‘Conica’||Dwarf Alberta Spruce|
|Rhus aromatica||Fragrant Sumac|
|Rudbeckia sp.||Black-Eyed Susan|
|Stachys byzantina||Lamb’s Ear|
|Syringa vulgaris||Common Lilac|
|Tanacetum vulgare||Common Tansy|
|Viburnum dentatum||Arrowwood Viburnum|
Mike McGroarty is the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of several books. You can visit his website at Freeplants.com and read his blog at Mikesbackyardnursery.com.
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