Choosing Deer Resistant Plants
In recent years, the great increases of deer entering residential neighborhoods in the US has sounded an alarm with many gardeners. While most people love deer, and enjoy seeing them, they are not amused when "Bambi" walks in and strips a newly-planted vegetable garden, wildflower planting, or display of beautiful spring tulips.
The obvious solutions are sometimes difficult. A homeowner can fence a vegetable plot, but that's not usually possible when people are trying to landscape a larger area. Also, the whole idea of flower gardens, wild or not-so-wild, is to create a beautiful landscape. A secure fence is not usually part of the plan. So more and more of our customers are asking, "What flowers are deer proof?." Well, read on.
What to do? We deal with thousands of flower gardeners in every state. And the ones that have the most success in warding off unwanted deer use repellent. Deer repellants such as "Deer Off", which is widely available at garden center stores across the country, are much more effective than choosing certain flowers to plant.
Deer eat "everything." This is not really true, of course, but basically, we need to understand that deer are a "grazing" species, which means they generally feed on whatever vegetation is available. And as most homeowners know, they usually favor "new growth" - new spring twigs on trees and shrubs, and of course, tempting food crops that we plant in our vegetable gardens. Most flowers are just as appetizing to deer, but there are exceptions.
Some wildflower experts have made up lists of "deer-resistant" wildflower species to inform homeowners. However, it's important to know that these lists are just that: Deer-resistant, not Deer-Proof. A hungry deer will eat almost any vegetation. In any case, here are the wildflower species usually listed as "resistant" to grazing from deer:
- Deer-Resistant Wildflower Seed Mix
- Achillea millefolium (White Yarrow)
- Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains Coreopsis)
- Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove)
- Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)
- Gaillardia aristata (Blanket Flower)
- Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alyssum)
- Lupinus perennis (Perennial Lupine)
- Lupinus succulentus (Arroyo Lupine)
- Lupinus densiflorus (Golden Lupine)
- Papaver rhoeas (Red Poppy)
- Rudbeckia hirta (Gloriosa Daisy)
- Salvia coccinea (Scarlet Sage)
- Salvia farinacea (Blue Sage)
Deer-resistant Flower Bulbs
Deer-resistant Bulbs for Fall Planting
Bulbs are a somewhat different story. There are some that are actually deer-proof. Deer simply don't like them, and won't eat them. The most famous is the Daffodil, and that's great, since many wildgardeners like to plant daffodils in their natural areas. Dutch bulb experts tell us that all colors and types of daffodils qualify as "deer-proof." Alliums are the same. And there are others that are least deer-resistant:
- Species or "Wild" Tulips (The little, short crocus-like tulips, not the big ones)
- Specie Iris (The little, short multicolored bulbous iris, not regular garden iris)
- Anemones (Can be planted in both Spring or Fall)
- Grape Hyacinths
- Allium (These are in the onion family, so deer avoid them.)
For spring planted bulbs,the ones to use are:
Deer don't like them.
When it comes to the perennial garden, many plants are deer-resistant.
- Achillea (Yarrow)
- Aconitum (Monkshood)
- Artemisia (Dusty Miller)
- Asclepias (Milkweed and Butterfly Weed)
- Coreopsis (Tickseed)
- Dianthus (Pinks and Carnations)
- Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
- Digitalis (Foxglove)
- Echinacea (Coneflower)
- Gaillardia (Indian Blanket, Blanket Flower)
- Heuchera (Coral Bells)
- Geranium (Crane's Bill)
- Ornamental Grasses (most varieties)
- Iris (Japanese and Siberian Irises)
- Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
- Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)
- Lily of the Valley
- Monarda (Bee Balm)
- Nepeta (Catnip)
- Papaver orientale (Oriental poppy)
- Perovskia (Russian Sage)
- Paeonia (Peonies)
- Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
- Salvia (Sage)
- Sedum (Stonecrop)
- Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
- Veronica (Speedwell)
Here's a helpful post on a great blog named "Repurposeful"
Deer Problem in your Yard?