Deer Resistant Plants

UPDATED March 2013 - the lists change as I add more plants.

The plants in the lists below were tested for deer resistance in my garden. Each year, I add more plants so this list will change as I experiment. If a plant is nibbled some, but still blooms or is full of foliage for most of the time, I consider the plant deer resistant. In other words, a few nibbles will not destroy my enjoyment of the plant.

Please browse my blog articles about my deer resistant gardening experience.

PLEASE NOTE: Your results may vary, depending upon availability of food for the deer, herd size and browsing habits. Deer will eat most anything if desperate during long periods of drought.

I haven't yet moved these plants to my favorites list:
  1. Eupatorium dubium 'Little Joe' (joe pye weed) DEER EAT IT!
  2. Eupatorium rugosum 'Chocolate' no damage to leaves or blooms, but I'm not sure I trust that the deer won't ever eat this one.
  3. Vernonia fasciculata (smooth ironweed, a native) no deer damage, but this hasn't performed well in my hot, sunny garden.
  4. persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firetail'   nibbled heavily, so I have to transplant this one inside the cottage garden fence.
  5. liatris ligustylis (blazing star, a native)  2011, no damage, wonderful blooms! That said, the rabbits go after this plant when it is ground level.
  6. Eryngium yuccifolium (rattlesnake master, native) new 2011, no damage so far. Future favorite if continues to perform..
  7. Echinacea 'Pow Wow Wild Berry' new 2011; no deer damage, but rabbits will eat coneflowers when low to the ground.
  8. Yucca 'Color Guard' - deer nibble tips in February when food is scarce.


If you'd like to read more about my garden in print—here's a note from The Grumpy Gardener at Southern Living Magazine:
There's a great story about your garden in the July 2010 issue of Southern Living! I don't know who wrote it, but obviously the guy's a genius! Everybody should pick up a copy.

(You'll find the story, Not Tonight Deer! on page 52 of the July 2010 issue.)

MY FAVORITE DEER RESISTANT PLANTS (annuals, perennials, shrubs, et.)
Agastache 'Cotton Candy' from Terra Nova Nurseries

Favorite Perennials

'Salmon & Pink'
'Blue Fortune'
'Cotton Candy' Terra Nova
'Purple Haze'
'Purple Pygmy'
'Heather Queen'
'Summer Love' Terra Nova
'Summer Sky'
'Summer Glow'
'Golden Jubilee'
'Navajo Sunset'

'Creme Brulee'
'Red Shift'
'Autumn Blush' Terra Nova
'Mango Punch'  Terra Nova
'Rum Punch'  Terra Nova
verticillata 'Zagreb'

'Fire Bird' (2010) Terra Nova
'Prairie Splendor'
'Ruby Star'
'Tangerine Dream' (2010) Terra Nova
'White Swan'

'Raspberry Wine'
'Jacob Cline'
'Blue Stocking'

'Walkers Low'
'Six Hills Giant'

chamaedryoides (2010)
guaranitica 'Black & Blue'
guaranitica 'Omaha Gold' (2010)
nemorosa 'Caradonna'
nemorosa 'Marcus'
'May Night' (2010)
pachyphylla (2010)
ulignosa (bog sage)
'Cherry Queen'
'Dark Dancer'
'Navajo Bright Red'
'Texas Wedding'
Other perennials

ageratum 'Wayside'
amsonia hubrichtii
colocasia (elephant ears)
crocosmia 'Lucifer'
delosperma cooperii
ginger 'White Butterfly'
heliotropium amplexicaule 'Azure Skies'
iris ensata (some nibbles)
leucanthemum x superbum 'Broadway Lights', 'Paladin', 'Alaska'
linum (flax)
rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' (some nibbles possible)
russian sage
stachys hummelo
verbena 'Homestead Purple'
verbena bonariensis

Favorite Shrubs and Trees

Buddleia ('Pink Delight', 'Royal Red', 'Adonis Blue', 'Honeycomb')
Crape Myrtle ('Tuscarora', 'Muskogee', 'White Chocolate')
Gardenia 'August Beauty'
Lantana (multiple varieties; some bloom nibbles may occur in late fall)
magnolia - Sweet Bay Magnolia and Southern (must protect trunk from antler rubbing,
Winter Daphne
osmanthus fragrans
Pieris japonica 'Dorothy Wyckoff'
Spirea 'Neon Flash'
Vitex 'Shoal Creek'

Favorite Vines

Carolina Jasmine
Confederate (Star) Jasmine

Favorite Perennial Bulbs

allium 'Purple Sensation'
Dutch iris
Spanish bluebells

Favorite Annuals

poppies (Eschscholzia californica and papaver)
zinnias (Benary's Giant; minor damage; increased nibbling in late August, especially during drought conditions when there is little to eat in the wild. Rabbits will eat!)

Favorite Foliage Plants

stachys 'Helen von Stein'
lysmachia nummularia Aurea
lavender (blooms)
miscanthus 'Cosmopolitan', 'Little Zebra'
carex (multiple varieties)
pink muhly
pampas grass
purple fountain grass (annual here)
chamaecyparis pisifera
wax myrtle
carex holly
oakleaf holly
osmanthus 'Goshiki'
osmanthus fragrans
clumping bamboo (fargesii?)
weeping willow, curly willow
river birch
deodar cedar (antler rubbing)

Words and photos by Freda Cameron, Defining Your Home, Garden and Travel. Recommendations are based upon my own experience and your results with deer resistance may be different.

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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Click Pic for Travel Stories

Click Pic for Travel Stories
Paris, France; September 2013

The Musician. My late husband

The Musician. My late husband
Paris 2011