Alphabetical Plant Listing

30 Best Deer-Resistant Flowers and Plants for Your Garden

Prevent Deer from Eating your Plants and Flowers

What are Deer?

Deer are a group of mammals that belong to the family Cervidae. They are known for their distinctive antlers, which are grown and shed annually by males (bucks) for mating purposes. Females (does) do not typically have antlers, though some species may have small, rudimentary ones.

Deer are found throughout much of the world, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are herbivorous and typically feed on various plants, including leaves, twigs, and grasses. Many species of deer are also hunted for their meat, hides, and antlers.

There are many different species of deer, including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, and reindeer. Each species has its own unique characteristics and habitat preferences, but all are generally well-adapted for life in wooded or grassy areas.

What Attracts Deer to Your Garden?

Deer are attracted to gardens for various reasons, including the availability of food, shelter, and water. Here are some common things that may attract deer to your garden:

  1. Food: Deer are herbivores and love to eat a variety of plants, including flowers, vegetables, and fruits. They are particularly drawn to gardens that have tender young shoots and plants that are easy to access. You may want to consider planting deer-resistant plants to help deter them.

  2. Shelter: Deer are often attracted to areas where they can find cover or shelter from predators. Gardens that are surrounded by wooded areas or have thick shrubs and bushes are more likely to attract deer.

  3. Water: Like all animals, deer need access to water to survive. If you have a water source in your garden, such as a pond or fountain, it may attract deer.

  4. Seasonal changes: During the fall and winter, deer are often attracted to gardens that have fruit or nut-bearing trees, such as apple trees, acorns, or hazelnuts.

  5. Scent: Deer have a keen sense of smell and are often drawn to the scent of certain plants. For example, they are known to be attracted to the smell of roses and other fragrant flowers.

To deter deer from your garden, you may want to consider installing fencing, using repellents or netting or planting deer-resistant plants. It's important to note that no method is foolproof, and deer can be persistent and adaptive, so it may require a combination of methods to keep them away.

Planting Deer-Resistant Plants

If you want to plant a garden that is less attractive to deer, here are some tips for planting deer-resistant plants:

1 - Select Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer-resistant plants often possess one or more of the following characteristics that make them less attractive to deer:

  1. Strong scent: Many deer-resistant plants have strong, pungent, or aromatic scents that are unappealing to deer.

  2. Spiny texture: Plants with prickly, thorny, or spiky textures can be less appealing to deer because they are difficult to eat and may cause discomfort.

  3. Fuzzy or aromatic leaves: Plants with fuzzy or hairy leaves, or those with a strong or bitter taste, can be less palatable to deer.

  4. Toxic compounds: Some plants contain toxic or poisonous compounds that are harmful or lethal to deer. These plants can deter deer from grazing on them.

  5. Tough or leathery foliage: Plants with tough or leathery foliage are often less attractive to deer because they are difficult to digest.

  6. High moisture content: Plants with high water content, such as succulent plants, are less desirable to deer because they contain less nutrition.

2 - Plant Strategically

Place deer-resistant plants closer to areas where deer are known to enter your garden. This can help to deter them from exploring further.

3 - Consider Companion Planting

Some plants, such as marigolds or garlic, are known to be natural deer repellents. Consider planting these alongside more attractive plants to help deter deer.

4 - Rotate Plantings

Deer are creatures of habit and may become accustomed to certain plants over time. Rotating your plantings each year can help to prevent them from becoming too familiar with your garden.

By incorporating these strategies into your garden design, you can create a space that is less attractive to deer and more enjoyable for you. 

It's important to note that no plant is completely deer-resistant, and if deer are hungry enough, they may still eat plants that are considered to be less attractive to them.

Guide Information

Tolerance Deer

Gertjan Hooijer/Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Tolerance Deer

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