What is: Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer-resistant plants are a popular choice for gardeners who want to protect their gardens from the damage caused by deer. These plants are specifically chosen because they have natural characteristics that make them less appealing to deer. While no plant can be completely deer-proof, deer-resistant plants are known to be less likely to be eaten by deer compared to other plants.

Why are Deer-Resistant Plants Important?

Gardens and landscapes can be easily damaged by deer, especially in areas where deer populations are high. Deer are known to feed on a wide variety of plants, including flowers, shrubs, and trees. This can result in significant damage to gardens, leading to frustration and financial loss for gardeners. By incorporating deer-resistant plants into their landscapes, gardeners can reduce the risk of damage and maintain the beauty of their gardens.

Characteristics of Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer-resistant plants possess certain characteristics that make them less attractive to deer. These characteristics can vary depending on the plant species, but some common traits include:

  • Strong fragrance: Many deer-resistant plants have strong scents that deer find unappealing. These scents can range from citrusy to spicy, and they help deter deer from feeding on the plants.
  • Thorny or prickly foliage: Plants with thorns or prickly leaves are less likely to be eaten by deer, as they can cause discomfort or injury to the deer.
  • Texture and taste: Some deer-resistant plants have textures or tastes that deer find unpleasant. This can include plants with hairy leaves, rough textures, or bitter flavors.
  • Toxicity: Certain plants contain toxins or chemicals that are harmful to deer if ingested. Deer have evolved to recognize and avoid these plants, making them less likely to be eaten.

Popular Deer-Resistant Plants

There are numerous deer-resistant plants available for gardeners to choose from. These plants come in a variety of sizes, colors, and types, allowing gardeners to create beautiful and deer-resistant landscapes. Some popular deer-resistant plants include:

  • Lavender: Known for its strong fragrance, lavender is a popular choice for deer-resistant gardens. Its purple flowers and aromatic leaves make it a visually appealing addition to any landscape.
  • Rosemary: This herb is not only a culinary favorite but also a deer-resistant plant. Its woody stems and strong scent make it unattractive to deer.
  • Yarrow: Yarrow is a hardy perennial that produces clusters of small flowers in various colors. Its feathery foliage and strong scent make it a great choice for deer-resistant gardens.
  • Boxwood: Boxwood is a versatile evergreen shrub that is both deer-resistant and visually appealing. Its dense foliage and compact growth habit make it a popular choice for hedges and borders.

Tips for Creating a Deer-Resistant Garden

Creating a deer-resistant garden requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Research deer-resistant plants: Before selecting plants for your garden, research which plants are known to be deer-resistant in your area. Local nurseries and gardening resources can provide valuable information.
  • Use a variety of plants: Incorporate a mix of deer-resistant plants with different textures, scents, and colors to create an aesthetically pleasing garden.
  • Consider fencing: If deer populations are high in your area, installing a deer fence can provide an additional layer of protection for your garden.
  • Rotate plants: Deer can become accustomed to certain plants over time. To prevent them from becoming too comfortable, rotate your plantings and introduce new deer-resistant varieties periodically.


Deer-resistant plants are a valuable addition to any garden or landscape. By incorporating these plants into your garden, you can reduce the risk of deer damage and maintain the beauty of your outdoor space. Remember to research local deer-resistant plants, use a variety of plants, consider fencing, and rotate your plantings to create a successful deer-resistant garden.