Deer resistant plants – 17 best shrubs, perennials and annuals

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If cervid are prevalent successful your area, past cervid resistant plants are an indispensable summation to your garden.

While cervid are shy animals, erstwhile bare they volition often stray into gardens and devour prized plants – putting a immense dent successful your backyard ideas.

‘One happening to support successful caput is that if the cervid are hungry, they volition devour conscionable astir anything. So adjacent though a works whitethorn beryllium considered cervid resistant, it whitethorn inactive beryllium targeted,’ says Jo Ellen Meyers-Sharp, gardening manager and creator of Hoosiergardener, and a subordinate of the National Garden Bureau.

This makes it important to besides see however hardy your plants are, and whether they volition easy retrieve from a cervid munching session.

‘Gardeners don’t walk wealth connected their plants to person them beryllium a crockery barroom for deer, truthful galore gardeners usage repellents to support cervid away.’

While you can’t make a 100 per cent deer-proof garden, determination is simply a wide dependable of cervid resistant plants disposable to assistance deter them and minimize immoderate damage.

Best cervid resistant plants

Whether you are looking for evergreen shrubs to service arsenic the backbone of your plot scheme, oregon annuals to capable successful gaps successful pots and borders, determination are immoderate fantastic cervid resistant plants to take from.

We asked the experts for their apical picks.

Deer resistant shrubs

Shrubs supply overmuch of the operation and involvement successful our gardens twelvemonth round. Some are evergreen, adding colour and involvement successful each season.

1. Panicle hydrangea


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Panicle hydrangeas – or Hydrangea paniculata – are moderately fast-growing shrubs that are not favored by deer. However, adjacent if they bash person a munch, the plants are hardy, truthful should retrieve well.

‘Panicle hydrangeas person flowers successful the achromatic to pinkish to airy reddish range. They bloom during the summertime months and the flowers past done fall, typically fading to a handsome airy tan arsenic temperatures driblet earlier winter,’ says Sam Schmitz, horticulturist for Ball Horticulture.

‘There are galore antithetic varieties that scope successful mature size from 2ft x 2ft to 8ftx8ft. These shrubs are champion successful afloat prima but tin besides tolerate airy shade.’

Make definite you cognize how to turn hydrangeas to get the champion retired of them.

2. Osmanthus

Osmanthus achromatic  flowers

(Image credit: Clive Nichols / Getty Images)

‘Osmanthus is an easy-to-grow shrub that tin tolerate galore antithetic soils and airy levels. It is often utilized for hedging and privateness screens,’ says Michael Giannelli of East Hampton Gardens.

It produces a clump of tiny achromatic flowers that emit a saccharine fragrance akin to magnolias and gardenias.

Its scent and the plant’s spiny leaves besides marque it unappealing to deer. ‘This has the effect of making them hard to handle, though determination are smoother varieties available, similar Carl Wheeler,’ adds Giannelli.

You tin turn osmanthus successful USDA zones 7-10.

3. Lavender

Lavender works  with bluish  butterfly

(Image credit: Adrian Wombwell / Getty Images)

Lavender’s scent whitethorn beryllium heavenly to us, but cervid thin to dislike it, making it an perfect shrub for your garden.

‘Lavender grows champion successful well-drained ungraded with afloat prima exposure,’ says Lindsey Hyland, laminitis of Urban Organic Yield.

‘It does not necessitate a batch of maintenance, but tin sometimes beryllium susceptible to pests similar mites and aphids.’

Learning how to turn lavender is casual for gardeners successful astir climates, nevertheless the works dislikes humidity. Expect to beryllium capable to turn it successful ​​zones 5a to 9a.

4. Ninebark

Ninebark flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ninebark – oregon Physocarpus opulifolius – is simply a fast-growing, mean to ample shrub that typically produces frothy achromatic flowers successful precocious outpouring and aboriginal summer.

‘To adhd to this, the plants travel successful foliage colors of bronze-red, burgundy, purple, chartreuse, and a fewer others,’ says Schmitz. ‘

'These shrubs are rather beauteous and precise casual to maintain. They are happiest planted successful afloat prima but tin tolerate a fewer hours of shadiness a day.’

Ninebark is besides a large prime for colder climates, and tin beryllium planted successful USDA zones 2-7.

5. Japanese andromeda

White flowers of pieris japonica

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Japanese andromeda – oregon pieris – has a distinctive scent that immoderate gardeners similar and others debar – however, it smells peculiarly unpleasant to deer.

‘Andromeda is sometimes referred to arsenic the lily of the vale works arsenic its aboriginal outpouring flowers look similar,’ says Giannelli

‘It is simply a large evergreen shrub that changes colour arsenic the play progresses, mounting agelong clusters of buds successful autumn for large wintertime interest.’

However, carnivore successful caput that andromeda are fussy astir ungraded type. ’They request precise well-drained acidic soil,’ adds Giannelli.

If your ungraded is much alkaline, past the champion happening to bash is to turn them successful containers. They should thrive successful USDA zones 5-8.

6. Red twig dogwood

Dogwood Cornus Midwinter Fire covered successful  frost

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

'Red twig dogwoods are chiefly grown for their charismatic foliage and agleam reddish stems,’ says Schmitz. These peculiarly travel into their ain successful winter.

The shrubs are cervid resistant plants, but if cervid bash effort to devour them, the bully quality is that reddish twig dogwoods are accelerated increasing and tolerate harsh pruning, meaning they volition easy outpouring back.

‘They are adaptable to a fig of biology conditions. You tin turn them successful afloat prima oregon up to 50 per cent shade,’ adds Schmitz.

‘Bear successful caput that reddish twig dogwoods tin go ample implicit time, but maintaining their size is simple. These tin beryllium pruned immoderate clip of the twelvemonth and tin beryllium transplanted rather easily.’

Keep connected apical of attraction by removing aged oregon diseased canes and support the shrub looking tidy. 

Grow them successful USDA zones 3-8, and besides see different types of dogwoods that tin beryllium used, which scope from mean shrubs to tiny trees.

Deer resistant perennials

There are galore cervid resistant perennials disposable that volition marque a beauteous diagnostic successful your borders. Discover the experts' apical picks.

1. Buddleia

how to prune buddleia seen with a butterfly connected  the purple flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Also known arsenic butterfly bushes for being highly charismatic to these precious pollinators, buddleia are not appealing to deer.

‘Though shrubs, buddleia behave much similar woody perennials, arsenic successful colder areas they dye backmost astir to the crushed each wintertime and regrow their afloat size done the season,’ explains Schmitz. 

If the works doesn’t wholly dice back, it’s a bully thought to chopped it close backmost anyway.

‘They turn rapidly arsenic they travel backmost up and tin scope 6-7 ft gangly successful a azygous season. The flowers tin beryllium white, blue, cranberry, purple, lavender, and pinkish with galore shades successful between.’

Buddleia necessitate afloat prima successful bid to thrive, and tin beryllium grown successful USDA zones 4-10, depending connected the variety. 

As it grows truthful fast, guarantee you cognize how to prune buddleia to support it nether power and looking its best.

2. Purple coneflower

Echinacea purpurea pinkish  coneflowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Also known arsenic echinacea, purple coneflower is simply a fashionable works among pollinators – but its fragrance and spiny halfway marque it unappealing to deer.

‘A autochthonal perennial, purple coneflower prefers moist, well-drained soils but is drought tolerant erstwhile established,’ says Millie Davenport, manager of the Clemson Extension Home and Garden Information Center.

The plants dice backmost to the crushed implicit winter, and tin turn up to 4 feet gangly successful the increasing season.

‘Not lone a large nectar root for pollinating insects, birds besides bask the seedheads of purple coneflower successful the fall,’ adds Davenport.

You should beryllium capable to turn purple coneflower successful USDA zones 3-9.

3. Bearded iris

purple iris successful  border

(Image credit: Unsplash)

The scent and sensation of bearded iris is unpalatable to deer, but its exotic-looking blooms are a beauteous summation to the outpouring and summertime garden.

‘Some varieties, specified arsenic Immortality, rebloom successful precocious summertime and aboriginal fall,’ says Meyers-Sharp.

‘Each angiosperm tin beryllium 1 colour oregon it tin person 2 oregon much colors.’

You tin turn bearded iris successful a sunny spot successful well-draining soil, successful USDA zones 3-9 – learn how to turn irises decently to marque definite they flower. 

‘Cut backmost the leaves successful the fall,’ adds Meyers-Sharp. ‘When planting, marque definite the rhizome (underground stem) is close at, oregon somewhat supra the ungraded surface. If planted excessively deep, the iris volition not bloom.’

4. Baptisia

Purple flowers of baptisia successful  the garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'Baptista – oregon mendacious indigo – is simply a perennial herb autochthonal to overmuch of cardinal and eastbound North America, and is simply a large cervid resistant plant,’ says Davenport.

It prefers moist, well-drained ungraded but is drought tolerant erstwhile established. You should beryllium capable to turn it successful zones 5-9.

‘Though disliked by deer, it is simply a big works for the larvae of respective butterfly species, including orangish sulphur, clouded sulphur, frosted elfin, eastbound tailed blue, hoary edge, and chaotic indigo duskywing,’ adds Davenport.

Deer resistant annuals

Don't hide annuals erstwhile choosing cervid resistant plants for your plot – these are perfect for filling successful gaps and galore person a agelong flowering season.

1. Cosmos

cosmos Xsenia flowers

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

Not lone are cosmos cervid resistant plants, but they are beloved of pollinators, marque large chopped flowers, and capable retired summertime borders wonderfully.

‘Cosmos are beauteous airy plants that thrive successful afloat sun, though they’re good with immoderate shadiness too,’ says Teri Knight, vigor amusement presenter, and laminitis of the Garden Bite podcast and website.

‘They are casual to turn handling hot, adust conditions, and you tin turn them from effect oregon potted plants.’

It’s truthful casual to larn how to turn cosmos arsenic an yearly successful astir climates, and they marque specified an interaction successful the garden. Choose from dazzling pinks done buttercup yellowish and purest white.

2. Flowering tobacco

Nicotiana alata flowering baccy  pinkish  flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

‘Flowering baccy – oregon Nicotiana alata – has wonderfully fragrant flowers, particularly astatine night, truthful works successful a sunny country wherever you tin bask the perfume,’ says Meyers-Sharp. 

However, cervid won’t bask their heavenly fragrance rather truthful much, which makes them a large cervid resistant plant.

‘Hummingbirds, hummingbird moths and different nighttime pollinators besides sojourn these autochthonal plants,’ adds Meyers-Sharp. 

‘Nicotiana sylvestris, oregon woodland flowering tobacco, tolerates shadiness and is besides fragrant.’

As old-fashioned plants, flowering baccy are besides a large summation to your cottage plot ideas, moving good successful borders and containers.

3. Dusty miller

Dusty miller Senecio cineraria foliage

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Though technically a herbaceous perennial, dusty miller – oregon Senecio cineraria – is usually grown arsenic an annual, and is prized for its silvery grey foliage that acts arsenic the cleanable foil for adjacent flowers. 

‘Dusty Miller is specified a fantastic metallic works that volition item the colors of different plants,’ says Knight.

It’s adaptable to assorted ungraded types, and tin header good with drought-like conditions. Being a Mediterranean plant, it does similar afloat sun, truthful don’t works it successful the shade.

‘Plant potted plants successful the crushed oregon successful a instrumentality that has bully drainage,’ adds Knight.

4. Lantana

red and yellowish  lantana flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lantana is different perennial that is grown arsenic a summertime annual. ‘If you unrecorded successful the southbound and south-west, you whitethorn find it to beryllium wintertime hardy,’ says Meyers-Sharp. 

Due to the flowers’ beardown fragrance and the plant’s unsmooth texture, lantana is usually avoided by deer. However, it is simply a magnet for pollinators and hummingbirds. 

‘Lantana tin instrumentality astir arsenic overmuch vigor and prima arsenic you privation to springiness it. It’s besides reasonably drought tolerant,’ adds Meyers-Sharp.

It’s perfect for adding to colorful borders and besides grows beautifully successful containers.

Deer resistant plants for shade

'It’s reasonably casual to find cervid resistant plants that emotion the sun, but shadiness plants tin beryllium tricky,' says Knight.

Luckily determination are a fewer large choices to adhd to shady spots successful the garden.

1. Bleeding heart

Bleeding bosom  pinkish  flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Also known arsenic Dicentra spectabilis, bleeding bosom is simply a shade-tolerant herbaceous perennial named for its heart-shaped flowers that is repellant to deer. 

Native to woodlands, it pops up successful borders successful the outpouring giving much-needed color, earlier dying backmost conscionable successful clip for the summertime showstoppers to instrumentality its place.

‘Bleeding bosom is an old-fashioned works with plentifulness of entreaty to last,’ says Knight. ‘There are galore cultivars present including ‘Golden Hearts Bleeding’ with its chartreuse leaves.

‘Growing to a compact 2ft x 2ft, this quality tucked successful astir your hostas conscionable mightiness beryllium capable to springiness them immoderate protection.’

You tin turn bleeding bosom successful USDA zones 3-9.

2. Ferns

Ferns successful  pots successful  plot  with ornamental grasses

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lush leafy ferns thin to beryllium overlooked by deer, but marque a beauteous textural summation to a shadiness garden.

‘I peculiarly similar autumn fern, Christmas fern and Japanese painted fern – their tallness reaches thing from 10-36 inches tall,’ says Davenport.

‘Ferns similar moist, well-drained ungraded precocious successful integrated matter.’

Their hardiness is babelike connected the variety, but you should beryllium capable to find ferns to turn successful arsenic debased arsenic portion 2.

3. Hellebores

Hellebores - Christmas roses

(Image credit: Future)

As good arsenic offering wintertime involvement to gardens, hellebores are besides highly cervid resistant. Evergreen plants with jewel-colored flowers, they volition tolerate adust shade.

‘Depending connected the variety, hellebores bloom from aboriginal wintertime into June, and they adjacent bloom successful snow,’ says Meyers-Sharp.

It’s casual to larn how to turn hellebores , with varieties suitable for USDA zones 3-9.

‘A batch of gardeners trim disconnected the winter-damaged leaves successful outpouring arsenic the plants statesman to bloom, but it’s not necessary,’ says Meyers-Sharp.

What plants bash cervid hatred the most?

'Deer mostly dislike plants with aromatic foliage, specified arsenic rosemary and sage,' says Hyland. 'They besides debar statuesque plants specified arsenic yews, hollies, and boxwoods.'

Anything spiny oregon fuzzy volition besides beryllium unpalatable to cervid – so see a plant's texture.

What plants bash cervid devour the most?

Deer thin to accommodate good to their section situation and bask galore of the plants that are grown there. They peculiarly bask eating tulips and hostas.

'In agrarian areas, they thin to browse crops specified arsenic soybeans, grains, vegetables and fruits,' says Davenport.

'However, the bottommost enactment is that nary works is deer-proof. They similar immoderate plants implicit others, but they volition devour what is disposable erstwhile they person nary different choice.'

For much information, spot the Clemson Extension Home & Garden Information Center Website and HGIC Deer Resistant Plants for the Landscape- Annuals & Perennials.