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You can keep deer from munching on your favorite

DEER-RESISTANT PLANTS flowers by growing some deer-resistant plants!


See our l i s t o f d e e r - r e s i s t a n t p l a n t s to keep the hungry herds away from your garden!

First, what is deer candy? Deer love narrow-leaf evergreens, especially arborvitae and fir, and
show a preference for hostas, daylilies, and English ivy, according to researchers in the
Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, who have studied
whitetailed deer damage to nurseries in the Northeast and report heaviest browsing from
October through February.

And several growers who participated in the study noted that deer seem to prefer plants that
have been fertilized.
Which plants do deer dislike?

Not surpisingly, deer stay away from p o i s o n o u s p l a n t s !

D a f f o d i l s ((hhttttpp::/
maan naacc..ccoom
m/ /ppllaan
ntt/ /ddaaffffooddiillss)), foxgloves, and poppies are
common flowers that have a toxicity that deer avoid.
Deer also turn their noses up at f r a g r a n t p l a n t s w i t h s t r o n g s c e n t s . Herbs such as
s a g e s ((hhttttpp::/ //
maan naacc..ccoom
m/ /ppllaan
ntt//ssaaggee)), ornamental salvias, lavenders,
p e o n i e s ((hhttttpp::/ ///llaauunncchh..aallm
maannaacc..ccoom m//ppllaanntt//ppeeoon niieess)), and b e a r d e d
i r i s e s ((hhttttpp::/
maan naacc..ccoom
m/ /ppllaan
ntt//iirriisseess)) are just stinky to deer.
Would you want to eat something p r i c k l y ? Neither do deer (unless theyre desperate).
Plants such as lambs ear are not on their preferred menu.
Our favorite deer-resistant perennials are bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis). They
are popular with us, but not deer!

Keeping in mind that the first rule in deer proofing is that there really are no deer-proof
plants, here is a chart with some plants that deer rarely or seldom severely damage:

Top Deer-Resistant Plants

Botanical name Common name

Achillea filipendulina Yarrow

Aconitum sp. Monkshood

Ageratum houstonianum Ageratum

Allium sp. Onion

Amelanchier laevis Allegheny Serviceberry

Antirrhinum majus Snapdragon

Armoracia rusticana Horseradish

Artemisia dracunculus Tarragon

Artemisia sp. Silver Mound

Arisaema triphylum Jack-in-the-pulpit

Asarum canadense Wild Ginger

Asparagus officinalis Asparagus

Aster sp. Aster

Astilbe sp. Astilbe

Berberis sp. Barberry

Borage officinalis Borage

Buddleia sp. Butterfly Bush

Buxus sempervirens Common Boxwood

Helleborus sp. Lenten or Christmas Rose

Cactaceae sp. Cactus

Calendula sp. Pot Marigold

Caryopteris clandonensis Blue Mist Shrub

Centaurea cineraria Dusty Miller

Centaurea cyanus Bacherlors Buttons

Cleome sp. Spider Flower

Colchicum sp. Autumn Crocus

Consolida ambigua Larkspur

Convallaris majalis Lily of the Valley

Coreopsis verticillata Threadleaf Coreopsis

Corydalis sp. Corydalis

Cytisus sp. Broom

Daphne sp. Daphne

Dicentra spectabilis Bleeding Heart

Digitalis purpurea Common Foxglove

Dryopteris marginalis Wood Fern

Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower

Echinops ritro Small Globe Thistle

Endymion sp. Bluebell

Eranthus hyemalis Winer Aconite

Euphorbia marginata Snow-on-the-Mountain

Euphorbia sp. (except Chameleon) Spurge

Festuca glauca Blue Fescue

Fritilaria imperialis Crown Imperial, Fritilia

Galanthus nivalis Snowdrops

Gypsophila sp. Babys Breath

Helichrysum Strawflower

Heliorope arborescens Heliotrope

Hyssopus officinalis Hyssop

Ilex opaca American Holly

Ilex verticillata Winterberry Holly

Iris sp. Iris

Juniperus Juniper

Lantana sp. Lantana

Lavandula sp. Lavender

Limonium latifolium Statice

Lobularia maritima Sweet Alyssum

Marrubium vulgare Horehound

Melissa officinalis Lemon Balm

Mentha sp. Mint

Monarda didyma Beebalm

Myosotis sp. Forget-Me-Not

Myrica pensylvanica Bayberry

Narcissus sp. Daffodil

Nepeta sp. Catmint

Ocimum basilicum Basil

Osmunda Fern

Pachysandra terminalis Pachysandra

Paeonia sp. Peony

Papaver Poppy

Perovskio atriplicifolia Russian Sage

Picea glauca Conica Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Pimpinalla anisum Anise

Pinus Pine

Potentilla Cinquefoil

Ranunculus sp. Buttercup

Rhus aromatica Fragrant Sumac

Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary

Rudbeckia sp. Black-Eyed Susan

Ruta sp. Rue

Salix Willows

Salvia officinalis Garden Sage

Stachys byzantina Lambs Ear

Syringa vulgaris Common Lilac

Tanacetum vulgare Common Tansy

Teucrium chamaedrys Germander

Thumus sp. Thyme

Yucca Yucca

Viburnum dentatum Arrowwood Viburnum

Zinnia Zinnia

List courtesy of Outwitting Deer by Bill Adler Jr.

C l i c k t o r e a d m o r e t i p s o n h o w t o d e t e r d e e r i n t h e g a r d e n ((hhttttpp::/
/ccoon ntteen /ddeeeerr))!

This page was first published in 2008 and is regularly updated.

What do you want to read next?
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Dahlias Plants for

Fall Color

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Irises Apples

Butterfly Zinnias

Peonies Fern
(and More)


Plants The Deer Eat


Submitted by Terri on January 27, 2017 - 4:31pm

Every year, my tulips will pop out of the ground, and the deer will eat them before they can
even form a bud. But I have a new trick! I have planted 6 dozen new tulip bulbs, and I get my
husband to pee around them! So far, no deer!
pants deer love in Florida
Submitted by katia glorget on January 21, 2017 - 9:44am

I read deers do not like prickly plants..... ha ha ha I have an old rose with mighty thorns and
deers have eaten a couple of stalks all the way to the ground. Another thing deers love is a
young pear tree. Bought a sand pear tree for hubby, about 7 foot tall, they ate the whole tree all
the way to the ground. Nothing left. Dogwoods, roses, but not my hydrangeas YET, they love the
leaves of my purple potatoes vines and Indian Awthorn. Had to replace all my landscape in front
of house. They love also the camelias, small azaleas, All bulb plants. especially agapanthers I am
really sick of deers. So far they have left alone plumbago???? but I a sure they might be next.
They stop at my house, I guess I have the right kind of buffet for them. The houses down the
street stay intact.


Submitted by Lynne MacLean on January 7, 2017 - 11:11am

I guess the truth is they will eat anything if they are hungry. I am in Eastern Ontario (not far
from Ottawa) and they love hostas, hydrangea, lilacs, fir, cedar and pine trees for sure. They will
even eat my rose buds just before they bloom. Never seem to touch junipers (both skyrocket
and ground cover types), purple coneflower, nine bark, blue spruce, daffodils, silver mound. We
are in cottage country and unfortunately some people feed the deer which only encourages
them to hang around populated areas when they would do fine staying in the bush.

Submitted by Rima on June 24, 2016 - 10:48am

I've tried a variety of the plants on deer-resistant lists sometimes with success and then
suddenly not. I mentioned the problem to the chief horticulturalist at Mt. Vernon Mansion and
told him that this year the deer chomped down on my rhododendrons. I planted some rudbekias
making sure they were the cultivar on the deer-resistant lists only to have them eaten. He
laughed and said, "Deer don't read those lists." He explained that some years they seem to eat
one plant and other years don't touch them.


Submitted by MARK LANDIS on May 24, 2016 - 9:43am

The deer in my neighborhood eat my Yucca plants every winter.

I live in Burns, Oregon which is zon 5
Submitted by Melissa Villarreal on February 23, 2016 - 1:02pm

I would like to know if there is list of flowers and shrubs that will grow in winters at 5 degrees
and very hot summers and are also deer tolerant.

Hi Melissa,

Submitted by Almanac Staff on February 24, 2016 - 2:45pm

Hi Melissa,

Go to the website below to see deer resistant plants for your region.

h t t p : //e m s w c d . o r g / w p - c o n t e n t / u p l o a d s/ 2 0 1 3/ 1 0/ ((hhttttpp::/

Hellebores are evergreen,

Submitted by nford on July 28, 2016 - 7:47am

Hellebores are evergreen, bloom in winter and blooms last until May, drought-tolerant,
survive 100+ degree summers, poisonous to deer. But they need some shade.

Submitted by marya sea-gant on October 6, 2015 - 3:01pm

how can I rid myself of nematodes naturally?

from Zone 6 near Buffalo, NY.

Submitted by Bill14150 on June 20, 2015 - 12:01am

from Zone 6 near Buffalo, NY. We have dozens of deer, but they have never eaten the Yucca in
my yard. Daylilies in the front, unfenced yard have not had the chance to bloom in many years.
Buds are eaten as soon as they form. Hosta, save for the toughest leaved varieties, are eaten to
the ground. Hibiscus on occasion get a bud or two eaten, but not much on them. Boxwood at
present time (2015) is never touched. Spruce were never eaten until the winter of 2013 - 14. Bad
winter, many trees on the street were eaten up as far as deer could reach.
Nowhere on that list did it
Submitted by B Denn on June 25, 2015 - 12:43am

Nowhere on that list did it mention Hostas as deer resistant. As a matter of fact, deer LOVE
them! It's a pretty well known fact!

I can say that in SW Ohio


Submitted by cjtset on June 4, 2015 - 10:26pm

I can say that in SW Ohio Rudbeckia, Ecchinacea, ANY variety of rose, Obedient plant, corkscrew
willow & crabapple saplings, ruellia, hardy hibiscus, dahlias, clematis & Asiatic lilies are NOT
deer resistant. Many of these are on your list. The deer have devoured my flowerbeds. Other
than the lilies they've never bothered these plants before this year. They havent touched
daylilies, hostas or asclepias, however. And daylilies & hostas are supposed to be their favorites.

I just had a straw flower

Submitted by Kidblue on October 4, 2014 - 7:21pm

I just had a straw flower devoured. My yard in the California foothills is slowly turning to
oleander. I've had good luck with star jasmine, rosemary, coreopsis, chives, lavender, euonymus,
lupine, and oregano.

Just wondering if the deer

Submitted by patsybell on September 22, 2014 - 5:07am

Just wondering if the deer need to make reservations for this delicacy served in Restaurants.

I went over the list above


Submitted by Dave Watson on August 8, 2014 - 9:58am

I went over the list above and while I have not tried all these plants, most of the one's I have
are eaten right up by the deer here in the Poconos. The one's I've had good luck with are
Snapdragons,and Lamb's Ear. The one's I can't grow without fencing in are: Butterfly Bush,
Common Boxwood, Bleeding Heart, American Holly, Iris, Lavender, DAFFAODIL (always eat flower
as about to open), Fern, Peony, and Yucca. The only pine they basically leave alone is Blue
If you have a t-post fence up
Submitted by GH on May 17, 2014 - 7:21pm

If you have a t-post fence up and it is not all enoght to keek the deer out use the t-post
extenders from w w w. t p o s t e x t e n d e r. c o m ((hhttttpp::/
www..ttppoosstteexxtteen m)) to make your fence
taller. The you can have any type of plants easy solve!!!

Hi Marcia, Deer eat almost

Submitted by Almanac Staff on March 5, 2014 - 3:19pm

Hi Marcia,
Deer eat almost anything but some plants they leave alone if there are other food sources
around. Yucca is included in most published lists for deer resistant plants because its leaves can
be a bit prickly. Some varieties of yucca is more resistant than others. Our list comes from a
book, Outwitting Deer, by Bill Adler Jr.

Hate to tell you but your

Submitted by Marcia L on March 4, 2014 - 10:11am

Hate to tell you but your list is wrong. We have Yucca plants in VA and the deer absolutely love
them. They are a delicacy served in Restaurants so why they are on the list floors me. Sorry but
you are wrong about this plant,

i have non-blooming Yuccas


Submitted by Billyg on July 3, 2015 - 7:35am

i have non-blooming Yuccas here in North Carolina and have not had any nibbbles from
deer. Hostas they love! They haven't bothered lantanas, camelias, gardenias, or hydrangas.
We live near a nature park and have counted up to ten deer hanging out at times.

I've watched the deer and elk


Submitted by Jen on November 5, 2016 - 12:02am

I've watched the deer and elk chow down on hydrangas to the point where there's just a
bunch of green stalks sticking out of the ground. We live in Oregon on the southern
coast. They won't touch lemongrass though, one nibble and they're off that spot.