April 10, 2024

Deer Resistant Plants  


Deer have become a growing pest problem for landscape plants. This is partially due to increased herd numbers, decreased habitat, and decreased food supply. Deer have become less afraid and will walk right up to a home and start munching on precious landscape plants. So, what can be done to help prevent this? Sprays and home remedies can help deter deer, but they need to be reapplied multiple times a year to keep your plants from being destroyed. If you live in a heavy deer populated area, it is advised to plant deer resistant plants. But what makes a plant deer resistant? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a fully deer proof plant. If a deer is hungry enough, they will eat just about anything. Also, deer will take a bite just to see if they like it. If they do not, they will move on, but unfortunately, they will not tell their friend behind them not to try it. However, multiple plant characteristics will aid in making a plant deer resistant.

Just like humans, deer can be picky eaters based on texture. Texture is one of the best characteristics that plants have to make them deer resistant. If a plant has any type of ‘poke’ to it deer will generally leave it alone. This can come in the form of thorns like on a Barberry or Roses, sharp leaves like on a Holly or Hellebores, or needles like on a Norway Spruce and Juniper. These pokey plants tend to irritate the deer’s mouth making them undesirable to eat.

Another characteristic of plants that deer do not like are plant hairs. This is also known as plant pubescence, soft down or fine short hairs on the leaves and stems of plants. These hairs can even feel like Velcro making it unpleasant for deer to chew. Plants that are pubescent include Brunnera, echinacea, some viburnum, some rhododendron, and many more.

The way a plant smells can also deter deer from eating them. This can also help keep other plants safe in the landscape. By mixing in some fragrant plants, deer may think that all the plants in the area are the same and may leave the less deer resistant plant alone because they smell like their neighbor plants. Fragrant deer resistant plants include Lavender, Nepeta, Allium, Clethra, Spicebush, and more.

Below is a list of plant material that we carry at Everett’s Gardens that are classified as deer resistant. Stop in today and our sales team will be happy to assist you in finding the best deer resistant plant for your needs.

Plants Rarely Damaged

Plants Seldom Severely Damaged

Plants Occasionally Damaged

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