If you live in an area with foraging deer, you know all too well that your favorite plants can disappear overnight. By using the right plant choices (see below), you can begin to make your landscape less attractive to deer browsing. But, it is important to remember that deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough.
However, they do have their favorites and not-so-favorites.
Some of their favorite plants to nibble on are plants with lush foliage with a high water content such as Hostas plus other perennials such as Daylilies, Pansies, Violas, Sedum and Clematis. They are also quite fond of early spring bloomers such as tulips and crocus.
As far as trees and shrubs, they prefer Arborvitae, Knockout Roses, Blueberry Plants, Apple and Cherry trees, Yews, Hydragneas and fruit/berry producing plants, including your veggie garden!
Deer are less attracted to plants with fuzzy or heavily-scented foliage. Those include ferns, grasses and Western Red Cedars and the plants listed below.
The best website we have found that rates plants by deer resistance is from Rutgers University.
Irish Spring Soap TIP
Deer do not like the pungent smell of Irish Spring Soap. To use this soap as a deer repellent, cut your bar of soap into thirds then drill a hole wide enough for a piece of string then hang it in and around your valuable plants. It’s that easy! This method has worked wonders here at the nursery.
Deer Resistant Trees & Shrubs
Abelia grandiflora, Glossy Abelia
Acer palmatum, Japanese Maple
Buddleia, Butterfly Bush
Calluna vulgaris, Scotch Heather
Chaenomeles, Flowering Quince
Chamaecyparis, False Cypress
Ginkgo biloba, Maidenhair Tree
Pseudotsuga menziesii, Douglas Fir
Rhododendron (not Azaleas)
Ribes, Currant & Gooseberry
Thuja plicata, Western Red Cedar
Deer Resistant Perennials, Ground Covers & Vines
Ajuga, Carpet Bugle
Allium, Ornamental Onion
Astilbe, False Spirea
Buddleia, Butterfly Bush
Centaurea. Bachelor Button
Centranthus ruber, Red Valerian
Cerastium tomentosum, Snow-In-Summer
Dicentra, Bleeding Heart
Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower
Erodium reichardii, Cranesbill
Euphorbia, Cushion Spurge
Festuca ovina ‘Glauca’, Blue Fescue Grass
Gaillardia grandiflora, Blanket Flower
Hedera helix, English Ivy
Helleborus, Lenten Rose
Herbs (except Basil)
Kniphofia, Red Hot Poker
Lamium maculatum, Dead Nettle
Limonium, Sea Lavender
Liriope, Lily Turf
Miscanthus sinensis, Maiden Grass
Monarda, Bee Balm
Pachysandra terminalis, Japanese Spurge
Papaver orientale, Oriental Poppy
Penstemon, Beard Tongue
Phlox subulata, Creeping Phlox
Rudbeckia hirta, Black-Eyed Susan
Scabiosa (some), Pincushion Flower
Viola odorata, Sweet Violet