Deer Resistant Perennials
White tailed deer are beautiful animals, graceful and elegant when still or in motion. But, to a farmer, they can be a significant financial problem; to a motorist they can pose serious danger; and to a flower gardener they can be destructive pests.
This is a problem humans have created. Deer thrive in “edge habitats,” places where different types of vegetation meet. “Edges” offer food, cover, travel paths and easy escape routes. Suburban landscapes are perfect “edge habitats” and also provide the bonus of well-watered, well-fertilized banquet tables of flowers and plants. How is a gardener to cope with these adversaries? A blend of deer-resistant plantings can all help to maintain some semblance of a garden. Deer-resistant planting is as inexact science at best. There are few hard-and-fast rules because deer behavior and taste preferences vary from place to place, and even season to season. The following plant tips should be considered when dealing with deer in the garden.
Deer do not like flowers and plants with a spicy taste.
Aromatic foliages are usually ignored.
Plants with fuzzy foliage such as Lamb’s Ear are usually passed by.
Various plants, such as Monkshood and Digitalis, are poisonous to deer.
Avoid using spring bulbs; with the exception of daffodils and alliums, they are considered a ‘delicacy’ by most deer.
Plants with needles or spines, such as spruce, holly, and barberry are usually passed by
. The following is a list of perennials most likely avoided by deer. Remember, deer will eat these plants if no other food is available in the area.
Achillea – Yarrow
Aconitum – Monkshood
Anaphalis – Pearly Everlasting
Anchusa – Bugloss
Anemone japonica – Japanese Anemone
Artemesia – Wormwood
Aruncus – Goatsbeard
Asclepias – Butterfly Weed
Astilbe – False Spirea
Campanula spp. – Bellflower
Centaurea Montana – Bachelor Buttons
Cimicifuga – Bugbane
Convallaria – Lily of the Valley
Delphinium – Larkspur
Dicentra spp. – Bleeding Heart
Digitalis – Foxglove
Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower
Erigeron – Fleabane Daisy
Euphorbia spp. – Spurge
Gypdophilia spp. – Baby’s Breath
Geranium spp. – Cranesbill
Helianthus spp. – Perennial Sunflower
Iris spp. – Iris varieties
Kniphofia – Red Hot Poker
Lavendula – Lavender
Liatris – Gayfeather
Lychnis – Maltese Cross
Macleaya – Plume Poppy
Monarda – Bee Balm
Paeonia – Peony
Penstemon – Bearded Tongue
Perovskia – Russian Sage
Phlox Subulata – Creeping Phlox
Polemonium spp. – Jacob’s Ladder
Salvia spp. – Hardy Sage
Stachys lanata – Lamb’s Ear
Stokesia – Stoke’s Aster
Tanacetum – Painted Daisy
Thalictrum – Meadow Rue
Tradescantia – Spiderwort
Trollius – Globeflower
Verbena spp. – Verbena varieties