Choosing Deer Resistant Plants

Choosing Deer Resistant Plants
How to discourage deer from eating your wildflowers, bulbs and perennials.

By Ray Allen, Founder,

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Deer in Perennial GardenDeer in Perennial Garden

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.

Deer-resistant Wildflowers

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 MixtureDeer Resistant Wildflower Seed Mixture
Containing 17 wildflowers that deter deer and other critters, the Deer Resistant Wildflower Mix brings loads of colorful blooms to the landscape.

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:

For spring planted bulbs,the ones to use are:

Deer don't like them.

Deer-resistant Perennials

When it comes to the perennial garden, many plants are deer-resistant.

Here's a helpful post on a great blog named "Repurposeful" 
Deer Problem in your Yard?

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