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Deer Resistant Plants (Shrubs & Trees) and Flowers ( Annuals & Perennials)

Making your Landscape Deer Resistant

Have you ever felt that some landscapes are a buffet for deer? You've probably also noticed that deer like to eat some plants more than others. But why and which ones? In this article is a list of deer resistant plants, flowers, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, as well as give some tips on how to send the deer somewhere else (after all, they are still going to eat, just hopefully not your dream garden!)

Same Night, Same Deer

The chances are very very good that the same deer are visiting your landscape each and every night. These
same deer will continue to eat the plants they like the best, until they are gone, or grow back. Once the preferred choice is gone, they are going to start trying the other plants around your landscape.  (Kinda like our own pantries)

It all Starts with the Babies

The baby deer, fawns, are actually trained by their mothers to which plants are preferred plants. If you can  use deer deterrents at just the right time, you may be able to send the fawns to enjoy the garden down the street, and like it for years to come, breaking generations of deer returning to your landscape.

Deer Resistant Chemicals and when to apply: 


Deer Off, Liquid Fence, No Deer Zone, and Imustgarden Deer Repellent are all very good choices. You will want to rotate these in and out to keep the deer from getting too used to them.


Blood Meal, Mothballs, Milorganite, Bar Soap all work ok. Miloragnite and blood meal are nitrogen based fertilizers and you really shouldn't used them later than August around plants. Use them on the out side perimeters instead.

When to apply: 

Begin spraying the whole area in late March to discourage Momma deer from bring Bambi around. Then, in late April, spray only the most susceptible plants in order to teach Bambi that these plants taste absolutely terrible. He should remember this for next time and just go somewhere else.

Physical Deer Deterrent Options

These are pretty hit or miss as far as effectiveness goes. Nylon netting may be the best physical option. It can be used on shrubs from fall to spring but should  be removed by late spring as new growth begins, which gets away from the whole "training Bambi to go somewhere else" tactic.

Other options include sonic devices, motion sensors, and wind chimes (mid-tone or mid-range are more effective than high-range)

So what Plants do Deer not like to eat?

Just like us, deer tend to be a little picky, when they can be. For example, if a deer can eat whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and there is plenty of it, then the deer is going eat its favorites. But when food is a little scarce and survival depends on it, all of a sudden, the Brussels sprouts don't seem that bad.

There are two main factors involved that deer tend to not like; strong smells and fuzzy foliage. 

Deer also do not like ornamental grasses. Not only do they not like to eat them, but they don't even like to be around the ornamental grasses. You can plant these in problems areas you have to help keep deer away.

Below are a list of plants that deer tend to stay away from. But remember, nothing is iron clad if the deer are super starving!

Here is a list of Deer Resistant plants (or the least favorites). Listed by Plant type:

Annuals and Biennials that are Deer Resistant (Life cycle of one growing season)

Ageratum , Angelonia, Bacopa, Blue Daze, Blue Lobelia, Blue Salvia, 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus, Cleome, Euryops Daisy, Flowering Tobacco, Forget-me-not, Foxglove, Gerber Daisy, Lantana, Marguerite Daisy, Melampodium, Portulaca/Moss Rose, Purple Fountain Grass, Scaevola Spp, Snapdragon, Vinca, Zinnia, Zonal Geranium

Perennials that are Deer Resistant ( Life cycle that comes back every year)

Anise Hyssop, Aster spp, Astilbe spp, Blanket Flower, Bleeding Heart, Bluebeard, Blue Star Flower, Butterfly Weed, Candytuft, Cast-Iron Plant, Catnip/Catmint, Celandine Poppy, Chrysanthemum, Columbine, Coreopsis, Creeping Phlox, Cranesbill, Dame's Rocket, Dianthus, Dusty Miller, Dwarf Plumbago, Euphoribia spp, Fennel, Ferns, Foxglove, Gaura, Germander, Goldenrod, Hardy Sunfloer, Herbs, Ice Plant, Iris spp, Lambs Ears, Lamium spp, Lantana 'Ms. Huff', Lavender, Lavender Cotton, Lenten Rose, Liatris/Gayfeather, Licorice Plant, Lungwort, Mullein, Ornamental Grasses, Ornamental Onion, Pincushion Flower, Poppy, Purple Heart, Queen of the Prairie, Red Hot Poker, Rose Campion, Russian Sage, Sedum, Sedge Grass, Sage, Shasta Daisy, Snow in Summer, Society Garlic, Spiderwort, Stoke's Aster, Veronica spp, Wormwood, Yarrow, Yucca spp

Shrubs that are Deer Resistant

Abelia, American Holly, Anise bush, Bamboo, Barberry, Beautybush, Boxwood, Butterfly Bush, Carolina Cherrylaurel, Chinese Fringe Bush, Chinese Holly, Common Liliac, Daphne, Dropping Leucothoe, Deutzia, Elaeagnus, False Cypress, Gardenia, Golden Paperbush, Inkberry, Juniper, Kerria, Ligustrum/Privet, Mahonia, Mountain Laurel, Nandina, Oleander, Pieris, Plum Yew, Poet's Laurel, Rosemary, St.John's Wort, Spirea, Summersweet, Sweet Box, Tea Olive/False Holly, Viburnum, Wax Myrtle, Weiggela, Yaupon Holly.

Deer Resistant Trees

Bald Cypress, Birch, Carolina Cherrylaurel, Chastedtree, Colorado Spruce, Crepemyrtle, Deodar Cedar, Dogwood, Eastern Redcedar, Flowering Aprigcot, Ginkgo, Goldenraintree, Japanese Cedar, Japanses Snowbell, Leyland Cypress, Live Oak, Magnolia, Palm, Pine, Red Buckeye, Smoke Tree, Spruce.

Deer Resistant Vines

Carolina Jessamine, China Blue Sausage Vine, Crossvine, Goldflame Honeysuckle, Japanese Wisteris, Passionflower vine, Star Jasmine.

Deer Resistant Groundcovers

Asiatic Jasmine, Candytuft, Carpet Bugleweed, Creeping Jenny, Creeping Juniper, Creeping Rosemary, Dwarf Plumbago, Epimendium, Goldflame Honeysuckle, Ice Plant, Paschysandra, Lamb's Ears, Lamium Mondo Grass, St.John's Wort, Thyme, Trumpet Vine, Vinca Vine, Periwinkle.

Deer Resistant Bulbs

Amaryliis, Autumn Crocus, Bluebell, Daffodil, Frittliaria, Gladiolus, Glory of the Snow, Grape Hyacinth, Iris, Hyacinth, Narcissus, Ornamental Onion, Snowdrop, Snowflake, Star Lily Spring Starflower, Star of Bethlethem, Winter Aconite.

Companion plants that repel by smell

Here is a list of  plants and bushes that you can plant close to, or inter plant with plants that deer like, and you like, to help keep the deer out of the area. See the plant name, why it works, and what plants it may go well with.

Anise Hyssop- Upright perennial with minty-licorice scent and blue flowers in later summer. Use with day lilies and roses. May deter Japanese beetles as well. Plan in sun to part shade.

Anise shrub - Rounded, evergreen shrub for shade with licorice scented leaves. May help protect azaleas and rhododendrons. Plant in part shade to shade.

Bear’s Claw Hellebore - Evergreen, palm-like leaves have skunky scent all year but especially when in flower. Plant shade or part shade.

Catnip-mint smell is said to repel mosquitoes as well as deer. Blue flowers during the summer months.

Corsican Hellebore- Shade-loving evergreen perennial with holly like foliage with a skunky odor. Bright chartreuse flowers in spring. Good around azaelas!

Curry Plant - Small, cool-season annual used for winter interest. Silver leaves have intense curry fragrance. Use with pansies and winter crops.

English Boxwood - This famous hedge plant that has a sort of burnt mushroom smell (though some say cat pee is more like it). Plant in sun or shade.

Frittilaria - Spring blooming bulbs colonize into nice masses. Grassy leaves have onion scent. Great for inter planting with tulips. Plant in sun to part shade.

Lavender Cotton- Textural silver sub-shrub has strong musky, hyssop odor and yellow button flowers in summer. Looks nice with perennials, annuals, or shrubs. Plant in sun.

Oregano- Spicy leaves are semi-evergreen and tidy. Plant in sun.

Rosemary- Creeping or shrubby culinary evergreen herb with with light blue flowers in spring. Creeping form offers excellent pansy protection.

Sage - All have semi-evergreen, pungent foliage and showy flowers. Mix with roses, phlox, anemones, tulips,

Spider Flower - Tall annual with lacy flowers and musky, thorny foliage and stems. Great for interplanting with

Star Lily- Small, spring-blooming bulbs colonize into nice masses. Grassy leaves have onion scent. Blue, star-shaped flower. Plant in sun or shade.

Wax Myrtle- Native evergreen shrub with a bay leaf scent. Use for barriers, hedges, or shaped accent. Good foil for roses! Plant sun or part shade.

Wormwood- Many varieties of lacy, silver-leaved perennials that emit a bitter-herb scent. Good with roses, Indian hawthorn, veggie crops, etc. Plant in sun to part shade.

Lantana 'Ms. Huff' -Shrubby perennial with lemon-mint foliage. Orange and yellow flowers. Use with day lilies, tall phlox, and roses.

Thyme-Most types make excellent low barriers to mask other plants.

Yarrow - Low, ferny-leaved perennial has musky-onion scent and flowers ranging from yellow to reddish-purple. Good with vegetable crops as flowers attract beneficial insects.

Return to Sender!

Hopefully we've given you some ideas for sending the deer out your yard, and basically into your neighbors (it is what it is right?).

If this is something you don't feel like messing with yourself, and you would rather turn this job over to one of the Lawn Care Professionals we work with, give us a call at 866.228.5324 or click this link- Lawn Care and select your region.There is also a direct region link at the top right of this page. 

As always, we'll pick up the phone and help you out!