Deer Resistant Plants

Deer Resistant Plants

Deer Repellents Don’t Always Work

Gain Better Control with Plant Selection

There are plants that deer don’t normally find appetizing. We refer to these as deer resistant plants. For the most part these plants are usually are passed over.

Fawns will take a bite of many plants and spit it out if it doesn’t taste right. Its irritating to you, but this is how they learn what they should eat. Kids will be kids, no matter how many legs they have.

For a general rule of thumb, deer will not be attracted to certain groups of plants:

  • fuzzy leaves
  • pungent smells
  • lots of hard, sharp thorns

Many people report that the deer eat their rose bushes. The damage complaint is usually that there will be no blooms for the season. They won’t eat the whole shrub, just the most recent growth. The thorns on the new growth parts of the stem are young and tender, and it’s also where all rosebuds form. Spray new growth to enjoy your roses – they won’t bother the rest of the plant.


Planting deer resistant plants is helpful.

Deer in different areas seem to be attracted to different plants. This could be due to a sudden shortage of food caused by bad weather. It could also be caused by the different plants available in the wild the deer are accustomed to eating from place to place.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a deer proof garden or landscape without a really tall fence. Just like any starving creature, if the deer are hungry enough – they will eat anything that isn’t poisonous to them.

Good luck with your plantings. We hope the list below is an assistance to you.


Important To Note

This list of deer resistant plants is compiled from reports and recommendations by nurseries, garden centers, horticulture educators, master gardeners, and landscapers across the country. As stated above, deer eat different plants in different regions. They are known to eat anything but daffodil and narcissus when starving.

For a more precise list compiled on your deer in your region, contact your county extension service. You will find the phone number in your local telephone directory.


Plants Deer Don’t Like To Eat


Achillea (Yarrow)
Agastache (Anise Hyssop or Licorice Mint)
Ajuga Mahogany (Bugleweed)
Alcea (Hollyhocks)
Alstromeria (Peruvian Lily)
Aquilegia (Columbine)
Artemesia (Wormwood)
Asarum (Ginger)
Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed)
Astilbe (False Spirea)
Astrantia major (Masterwort)
Baptisia (False Indigo)
Bergenia (Pigsqueak)
Boltonia asteroides (False Chamomile)
Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
Calendula officinalis
Calluna (Heather)
Campanula carpatica (Bellflower – Harebell or Clips)
Centaurea (Bachelor’s Buttons)
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides (Plumbago)
Chrysanthemum coccineum (Painted Daisy)
Cimicifuga racemosa (Bugbane)
Convallaria (Lily of the Valley)
Coreopsis (Tickseed)
Delosperma (Iceplant)
Delphinium (Larkspur)
Dianthus (Cottage Pinks)
Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding Heart)
Digitalis (Foxglove)
Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower)
Echinops (Globe Thistle)
Erica (Heath)
Epimedium (Bishop’s Hat)
Eupatorium (Joe-Pye Weed)
Euphorbia (Spurge)
Eryngium (Sea Holly)
Filipendula(Queen of the Prairie)
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
Geranium (Cranesbill)
Gypsophila paniculata (Baby’s Breath)
Habenaria radiata (Egret Flower)
Helenium (Helensflower or Sneezeweed)
Hellebore (Lenten Rose)
Heuchera (Coral Bells)
Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft)
Iris ensata(Japanese Iris)
Iris louisiana(Louisiana Iris)
Iris sibirica (Siberian)
Iris (Bearded or German)
Kirengeshoma palmata (Waxbells)
Lamium (Deadnettle)
Lavandula (Lavender)
Lespedeza (Bush Clover)
Leucanthemum (Daisy)
Liatris spicata (Gayfeather)
Lilium orientale (Oriental Lily)
Lineria (Toad Flax)
Linum perenne (Flax)
Liriope (Monkey Grass, Lily Turf)
Lupinus (Lupine)
Lychnis (Rose Campion)
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Nepeta (Catmint)
Oenothera (Evening Primrose)
Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)
Paeonia (Peony Bush)
Paeonia (Peony Tree)
Phlox divartica (Woodland Phlox, Wild Sweet William)
Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox, Tall Phlox)
Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox)
Penstemon (Beards Tongue)
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower)
Potentilla (Cinquefoil)
Primula (Primrose)
Pulmonaria (Lungwort, Bethlahem Sage)
Rudbeckia (Blackeye Susan)
Salvia (Meadow Sage)
Sedum (Stonecrop)
Sempervirens (Hens and Chicks)
Solidago (Goldenrod)
Stachys byzantinus (Lamb’s Ears)
Stokesia laevisStokesia laevis (Stokes Aster)
Teucrium (Wall Germander)
Thymus (Thyme)
Tiarella (Foamflower)
Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
Trycyrtis (Toad Lily)
Veronica latifolia
Viola (Violet, Pansy)


Clematis (Glory Bower)
Gelsemium sempervirens (Jessamine)


Calamagrostis (Reed Grass)
Carex (Sedge Grass)
Deschampia (Tufted Hair Grass)
Erianthus ravennae (Pampas Grass)
Festuca (Fescue)
Hakonechloa (Hakone or Japanese Forest Grass)
Miscanthus (Maiden Grass, Eulalia Grass, Silvergrass)
Muhlenbergia capaillarus (Muhly Grass)
Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)
Phalaris arundinacea (Ribbon Grass)


Adiantum pedatum (Maidenhair Fern)
Athyrium niponicum (Japanese Fern)
Blechnum (Deer Fern)
Cyrtomium fortunei (Holly Fern)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula
Dryopteris erythosora (Autumn Fern)
Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (Sensitive Fern)
Osmunda (Royal Fern)
Thelypteris decursive (Beech Fern)


Calla (Calla Lily)
Canna (Canna Lily)
Fritillaria imperialis (Crown Imperial)
Galanthus (Snowdrop)
Hyacinthus (Hyacinth)
Narcissus (Daffodil, Jonquil)
Scilla (Squill)


Abies (Fir)
Amelanchier (Serviceberry)
Arctostaphyllos (Bearberry)
Aronia abutifolia (Chokeberry)
Berberis (Barberry)
Betula (Birch)
Buddelia (Butterfly Bush)
Buxus (Boxwood)
Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)
Cedrus (Deodar Cedar)
Cephalotaxus (Japanese Plum Yew)
Chaenomeles (Quince)
Chamaecyparis pisifera (Threadleaf Cypress)
Clethera (Summersweet)
Cotinus (Smokebush)
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
Cornus kousa (Korean Dogwood)
Crataegus (Hawthorne)
Cytisus (Broom)
Elaeagnus (Autumn Olive, Russian Olive)
Fagus sylvatica (European Beech)
Gaultheria (Wintergreen)
Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)
Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)
Hypericum (St. Johnswort)
Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly)
Ilex glabra (Inkberry)
Ilex opaca (American Holly)
Juniperus chinensis (Juniper)
Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
Kerria japonica (Japanese Kerria)
Leucothoe fontanesiana (Drooping Leucothoe)
Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum)
Lonicera (Honeysuckle)
Magnolia (tree type – Saucer Magnolia)
Magnolia (shrub type)
Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grapeholly)
Myrica (Bayberry)
Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum)
Picea (Spruce Tree)
Picea (Spruce shrub)
Pieris japonica (Japanese Andromeda)
Pinus (Pine Tree)
Pinus muhgo (Pine Shrub)
Potentilla (Cinquefoil)
Psuedotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)
Quercus (Oak)
Rosmarinus officianalis (Creeping Rosemary)
Salix (Willow Tree)
Salix (Willow Shrub)
Sarcococca (Sweet Box)
Symphoricarpos spp. (Snowberry, Coralberry)
Syringa vulgaris (Lilac)
Viburnum (Snowball Bush)
Vitex (Chaste Tree)