Deer Resistant Plants

Gain Better Control with Plant Selection

It’s wise to rely on deer repellent as little as possible. There are many plants that deer don’t usually find tasty. We refer to these are known as deer resistant plants, which for the most part are generally passed by. The more of these you have growing, the less spraying you should have to do.

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

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

Planting Deer Resistant Plants Does Help

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, which will vary from place to place.

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

Fawns Are Adventurous

This year’s youngsters will take a bite of many plants, and spit it out if it doesn’t taste good. It’s irritating to find chomped off stems and tops lying on the ground, but this is how they learn what tastes good. Kids will be kids, no matter how many legs they have.

Plants Deer Don't Like To Eat


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.

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) *just foliage
Veronica latifolia
Viola sp. (some perennial Violets)
Amelanchier (Serviceberry)
Arctostaphyllos (Bearberry)
Aronia abutifolia (Chokeberry)
Berberis (Barberry)
Buddelia (Butterfly Bush)
Buxus (Boxwood)
Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)
Cephalotaxus (Japanese Plum Yew)
Chaenomeles (Quince)
Chamaecyparis pisifera (Threadleaf Cypress)
Clethera (Summersweet)
Cotinus (Smokebush)
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
Cornus kousa (Korean Dogwood)

Cytisus (Broom)
Elaeagnus (Autumn Olive, Russian Olive)
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)
Lonicera (Honeysuckle)

Loropetalum (Chinese Fringe)
Magnolia (shrub type)

Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grapeholly)
Myrica (Bayberry)
Picea (Spruce shrub)
Pieris japonica (Japanese Andromeda)
Pinus muhgo (Pine Shrub)
Potentilla (Cinquefoil)
Rosmarinus officianalis (Creeping Rosemary)
Salix (Willow Shrub)
Sarcococca (Sweet Box)
Symphoricarpos spp. (Snowberry, Coralberry)
Syringa vulgaris (Lilac)
Viburnum (Snowball Bush)
Vitex (Chaste Tree)
Abies (Fir)
Betula (Birch)
Cedrus (Deodar Cedar)
Chamaecyparis pisifera (Threadleaf Cypress)
Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)
Cornus kousa (Korean Dogwood)
Crataegus (Hawthorne)
Elaeagnus (Autumn Olive, Russian Olive)
Fagus sylvatica (European Beech)
Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)
Ilex opaca (American Holly)
Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum)
Magnolia (tree type – Saucer Magnolia)
Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum)
Picea (Spruce Tree)
Pinus (Pine Tree)
Psuedotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)
Quercus (Oak)
Salix (Willow Tree)
Vitex (Chaste Tree)

Clematis (Glory Bower)
Gelsemium sempervirens (Jessamine)

Calamagrostis (Reed Grass)
Carex (Sedge Grass)
Deschampia (Tufted Hair Grass)
Erianthus ravennae (Pampas Grass)
Festuca (Fescue)
Hakonechloa (Hakone, Japanese Forest Grass)
Miscanthus (Maiden Grass, Eulalia, Silvergrass)
Muhlenbergia capaillarus (Muhly Grass)
Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)
Pennisetum (Fountain Grass)
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)
Allium (Ornamental Onion)
Calla (Calla Lily)
Canna (Canna Lily)
Fritillaria imperialis (Crown Imperial)
Galanthus (Snowdrop)
Hyacinthus (Hyacinth)
Narcissus (Daffodil, Jonquil, Paperwhite)
Scilla (Squill)

Good Luck with Your Plantings

We hope the list we’ve compiled is an assistance to you.

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