Deer Resistant Plants

Plants that Deer Will Avoid

Deer tend to like plants that are tender and sweet tasting. They will try to avoid when possible plants that have milky sap, prickles or spikes, plants that are hairy, spicy, aromatic, coarse, or toxic. Smell is the most highly developed of the senses in deer and according to some, taste is a close second.

Remember, when deer are very hungry they will eat almost anything. Once you are on the deer’s list of favourite places to visit, it is tough to break the habit.

In warmer areas, or during the warmer months here in B.C. consider purchasing one or more of those motion detecting sprinklers and placing them around the garden areas where deer frequent. The only sure way to protect a plant from deer is to build a proper deer fence around it!

Try to avoid planting deer favourites if you are in a heavily populated deer area. Roses and fruit trees and tender baby lettuce are favourites, give them some protection.

There are a number of safe repellants on the market, as well as some home made methods that will work so long as the deer are not desperate.

Bloodmeal scattered on the ground is fairly effective, Deodorant soaps like Coast or Irish Spring hung on susceptible plants are handy. Human hair or dog hair hung in mesh bags is effective, though perhaps a little frightening for the neighbors. Deer fences or electric fences are also effective.

Another effective way of deterring deer, is to plant plants that are fairly unpalatable to your local Bambi. Remember, at different times of year deer will like different plants. Be extra vigilant in the spring as the new shoots of many plants including many listed below, will be on the menu.

Most larger trees once they begin to mature will be just fine, even if the deer do decide to nibble.

Here is a list that I have found deer will try to avoid. I welcome input and will adjust the list accordingly!

  • Berberis
  • Rosemary
  • Buddleia
  • Spirea
  • Buxus
  • Syringa
  • Choisya
  • Pinus mugo
  • Cotoneaster
  • Forcythia
  • Elaeagnus
  • Daphne
  • Euonymus
  • Ipomea
  • Ilex
  • Lonicera
  • Juniper
  • Caryopteris
  • Mahonia
  • Potentilla
  • Nandina
  • Picea
  • Pyracantha
  • Perennials
  • Allium
  • Achillea
  • Artemesia
  • Aconitum
  • Monarda
  • Anaphalis
  • Narcissis
  • Anemone japonica
  • Dicentra
  • Arctostaphylos
  • Aquilegia
  • Cimicifuga
  • Helleborus
  • Convallaria
  • Stachys
  • Coreopsis
  • Most Ferns
  • Echinacea
  • Sage
  • Rudbeckia
  • Rosemary
  • Euphorbia
  • Feverfew
  • Fillipendula
  • Thyme
  • Gaillardia
  • Oregano
  • Gallium Odoratum
  • Heuchera
  • Iris
  • Lavandula
  • Liatris
  • Leucanthemum
  • Lupinus
  • Lychnis
  • Nepeta
  • Oenothera
  • Paeonia
  • Papaver
  • Perovskia
  • Physostegia
  • Scabiosa
  • Solidago
  • Tradescantia
  • Trollius
  • Yucca
  • Flax
  • Carex commans
  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Borage
  • Pulmonaria
  • Santolina
  • Iberis
  • Sedum acre
  • Cordateria
  • Miscanthus
  • Delphinium (the slugs get to them first).
  • Agastache
  • Echinops
  • Fritillaria
  • Geranium
  • Helictotrichon
  • Panicum

    Please email me at if you have any plants you have found that work for you, and those that did not.

    Cheers, Laurelle

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