Most people love deer, but for gardeners, these cute creatures are just another pest attacking their plants. In fact, a more persistent garden pest than most, since hungry deer can easily jump over 8-foot tall deer fences and somehow get around most other deterrents as well!
Maintaining a garden is no easy task in deer and elk territory, but some species of plants act as natural deer repellents. The typical deer eats plants with broad, tender leaves, high in water content, carbohydrates, minerals, salts and protein, but deer resistant plants have characteristics the animals typically avoid.
While there’s no guarantee they will deer-proof your garden, these plant types help with repelling deer:
- Fuzzy Leaves – Deer don’t like plants with fuzzy, wooly or hairy foliage, such as Lamb’s Ear, yarrow, squashes and pumpkins. If you feel soft or bristly hairs while rubbing a plant’s leaves between your fingers, deer will be unlikely to eat it.
- Strong Aroma – Aromatic flowers and foliage confuse a deer’s sense of smell, which can discourage them from feeding. Herbs like mint, rosemary, Russian sage and lavender are a good bet, as are peonies, boxwood, onion and garlic.
- Bitter Taste – Deer tend to avoid yarrow and most ferns, as well as bulbous flowers such as poppies, daffodils and snowdrops. These contain bitter-tasting alkaloids that are toxic to deer, but also poisonous to other animals.
- Thick Foliage – If a plant has thick, fibrous or leathery leaves, deer will generally avoid it unless they are starving. Peonies, pachysandra, irises and lavender are some lovely flowering plants with thick foliage that acts as a deer repellent.
- Thorns/Spines – Deer avoid munching on plants with unusual textures, especially sharp thorns or spines on the stems or foliage. To deter deer, plant globe thistle, barberry and acanthus in your vegetable or flower garden.
- Sharp Edges – Deer usually steer clear of grasses and sedges, which have sharp edges that cause irritation, and are also difficult to digest. Use ornamental grasses in lawns and gardens, or as borders around vegetable and flower beds.
- Greyish Color – Plants with greyish or silvery foliage can also act as natural deer repellents, since the unusual color turns them off. Lungwort, dusty miller, Russian sage and Lamb’s Ears are good examples to consider.
Note: If you have pets or children, avoid plants such as oleander and monkshood. They’re toxic to more than deer and rabbits!
Top 8 Plants for Making Your Garden Deer-Resistant
Here are the top 8 plants that will help keep deer out of your garden:
- Bee Balm – This beautiful wildflower attracts bees and butterflies in gardens, while the scent helps to stop deer feeding.
- Chives – The strong fragrance and flavor keep your veggie garden safe from deer, but chives look pretty in landscaping too.
- Rosemary – The wonderful aroma makes this herb popular in kitchens, but it can keep even hungry deer away.
- Russian Sage – With heavily scented foliage and flowers, this lovely herb deters deer from eating nearby plants.
- Lamb’s Ear – The wooly texture and greyish-green color of the leaves make this hardy perennial a natural deer repellent.
- Oriental Poppy – The bright and cheerful blooms add color to your flower garden, but alkaloids in them keep deer at bay.
- Yarrow – Available in various colors, this perennial wildflower has feathery foliage and a bitter taste that repels deer.
- Lavender – The pretty purple or blue flowers and heady scent makes this herb popular in gardens, except with deer!
Remember, deer are persistent pests. In times of stress, they may eat even deer resistant plants, and what works one season may not work the next.
If you want to keep your flower or vegetable garden safe from deer damage, without constantly changing plants through the year, use Deer No No. Our natural deer deterrent is formulated with a citrus scent that deer dislike, but you will love.
Try Deer No No for all-season protection today!