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Oh Deer, What Do I Do?

Deer resistant plants

If you've had past experiences of deer eating your plants, don't lose hope. There are many deer-resistant plants. Ferns and ornamental grasses are almost never eaten by deer. Deer also do not like aromatic plants. In addition, here are some of my favorite native options:

Trees: Redbud, river birch, sweetbay magnolia, serviceberry, American holly, Eastern red cedar, flowering dogwood, witch hazel,

Shrubs: Red twig dogwood, spicebush, winterberry, beautyberry, elderberry, arrowwood viburnum, buttonbush, fothergilla, clethra, wax myrtle, yucca, chokeberry.

Perennials: Bee balm, goldenrod, aster, wild ginger, bleeding heart, butterfly weed, columbine, foam flower, golden groundsel, blazing star, Virginia bluebells, thread-leaf bluestar, hyssop, false indigo, joe pye weed, allium, hardy ageratum, mountain mint, wild iris, helenium, heliopsis, and penstemon.

Here are some things to keep in mind. Deer seem to develop different tastes for what they are willing to eat based on region and what’s available. I often tell people that deer do not google themselves and don't know what they are supposed to eat and what they are NOT supposed to eat. I am surprised when someone tells me they have many deer and yet their neighbors have hydrangeas that are full and undisturbed. I was really surprised when someone told me that deer nibbled on their golden groundsel, a plant that I have observed as being highly deer resistant. Sometimes deer and rabbits nibble on something because it’s new. Sometimes young animals will try foliage only to discover that they do not like it.

Thread-leaf Bluestar in fall


Christmas Fern

Mexican Feather Grass



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