Deer Resistant Plants: a Comprehensive Guide

Deer resistant plants are an important consideration for gardeners and homeowners looking to protect their landscaping from deer damage. These plants are less attractive to deer, which means they are less likely to be eaten or trampled upon by these popular pests.

In this article, we will provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of deer resistant plants, including tips for selecting and planting them, popular varieties, and strategies for deterring deer from gardens and landscaping.

Deer Resistant Plants

Understanding Deer Behavior and Preferences

To effectively use deer resistant plants in your landscaping, it is important to understand the feeding habits and preferences of deer.

What do deer like to eat?

Deer are herbivores, which means they primarily feed on plants. In general, deer tend to prefer tender, young foliage and plants with high moisture content.

They also enjoy a variety of flowers, shrubs, and trees, and are not picky eaters. However, some plants are more attractive to deer than others.

Factors that influence deer feeding habits

There are several factors that can influence deer feeding habits, including the availability of food, the time of year, and the deer population in a particular area.

For example, during times of food scarcity, such as in the winter when natural sources of food are scarce, deer may be more likely to forage in gardens and landscaping for food. Similarly, areas with high deer populations may experience more frequent deer damage.

How to use this information to select deer resistant plants

Knowing what deer like to eat and the factors that influence their feeding habits can help you select plants that are less likely to be damaged by deer. When choosing plants for your landscaping, consider the following:

  • Plant species that are less attractive to deer, such as those with strong aromas or bitter flavors.
  • Choose plants that are less palatable to deer, such as those with tough or hairy foliage.
  • Select a mixture of plant types, including annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees, to create a varied and less attractive landscape for deer.
  • Consider using plants that are native to your area, as these may be less attractive to deer.
  • Plant in areas that are less likely to be accessed by deer, such as near buildings or in areas with natural deer deterrents.
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Deer Resistant Plant

Types of Deer Resistant Plants

Annuals

Annual plants are those that complete their life cycle within one growing season. Many annuals are deer resistant, making them a good choice for landscaping in areas with high deer populations.

Some examples of annual deer resistant plants include:

  • Marigolds
  • Zinnias
  • Petunias
  • Snapdragons
  • Nasturtiums

Perennials

Perennial plants are those that grow and bloom year after year. Some perennial plants are more resistant to deer than others, and can be a good choice for landscaping in areas with deer.

Some examples of perennial deer resistant plants include:

  • Coneflowers
  • Foxgloves
  • Daylilies
  • Lavender
  • Yarrow

Shrubs

Shrubs are woody plants that can provide structure and form to a landscape. Some shrubs are more resistant to deer than others, making them a good choice for landscaping in areas with deer.

Some examples of deer resistant shrubs include:

  • Boxwood
  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Rosemary
  • Spirea

Trees

Trees can provide shade, beauty, and structure to a landscape. Some trees are more resistant to deer than others, making them a good choice for landscaping in areas with deer.

Some examples of deer resistant trees include:

  • Dogwood
  • Redbud
  • Maple
  • Pine
  • Oak

Tips for Deterring Deer from Gardens and Landscaping

In addition to using deer resistant plants, there are several other strategies you can use to deter deer from gardens and landscaping. These include:

Fencing and barriers:

Fencing can be an effective way to keep deer out of gardens and landscaping. Choose a fence that is at least 8 feet tall, as deer can easily jump over shorter fences.

Repellents:

There are several deer repellents on the market that can be sprayed on plants to deter deer. These repellents often contain strong odors or tastes that deer find unappealing.

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Planting techniques:

Planting deer resistant plants in areas that are less accessible to deer, such as near buildings or in areas with natural deer deterrents, can help reduce the risk of deer damage.

Landscaping for natural deer deterrents:

Using natural deer deterrents, such as plants with strong aromas or those that are toxic to deer, can help keep deer away from gardens and landscaping.

Popular Deer Resistant Plants

Here is a list of some popular deer resistant plants and their characteristics:

  • Marigolds (Tagetes spp.): Annual flowers with strong aromas that are generally disliked by deer.
marigold deer resistant plant
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.): Perennial flowers with tough, hairy foliage that is generally disliked by deer.
Coneflower deer resistant plant
  • Boxwood (Buxus spp.): Evergreen shrubs with dense foliage and a strong aroma that is generally disliked by deer.
boxwood deer resistant plant
  • Dogwood (Cornus spp.): Deciduous trees with tough, bitter bark that is generally disliked by deer.
dogwood deer resistant plant

Conclusion

Deer resistant plants can be an effective way to protect gardens and landscaping from deer damage.

By understanding deer behavior and preferences and using a combination of deer resistant plants, fencing, repellents, and natural deer deterrents, you can create a landscape that is less attractive to deer.

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