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List of Deer Resistant Plants

list of deer resistant plants - lupine

By Filip Tkaczyk

The following list of deer resistant plants below includes plants that either deter deer or can handle being browsed by deer. When working with nature in gardening or landscaping it is often helpful to know which plants to consider when deer are a potential concern. Deer can eat a wide variety of plants and will tend towards preferred edible species while avoiding poisonous and less digestible species.

To best cope with deer in your garden or landscape, consider the availability of wild foods – when wild foods aren't available deer will seek out new food sources. Also, there are less wild foods available in winter, which can bring deer onto your property at that time of year. A garden planted with deer resistant plants around the perimeter can help discourage them from entering. Try choosing species from this list of deer resistant plants:

Helpful List of Deer Resistant Plants

Deciduous Trees
Willows (Salix sp.)
Birches (Betula sp.)
Sumacs (Rhus sp.)
Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia)

Evergreen Trees
Junipers (Juniperus sp.)
Spruces (Picea sp.)
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Western red-cedar (Thuja plicata)
Hemlocks (Tsuga sp.)
Bay (Umbellularia californica)
Pines (Pinus sp.)
Fir (Abies sp.)
False cypress (Chamaecyparis sp.)
Tan Oak (Lithocarpus densiflorus)

Evergreen Shrubs
Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
Juniper (Juniperus sp.)
Mountain-laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
Evergreen bayberry (Berberis sp.)
Oregon-boxwood (Pachystima myrsinites)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron sp.)
Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.)
Wax-Myrtle (Myrica californica)

Deciduous Shrubs
Hazelnut (Corylus sp.)
Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
Wild Gooseberry (Ribes sp.)
Wild Rose (Rosa sp.)
Spirea (Spiraea sp.)
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos sp.)
Lilac (Syringa sp.)
Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa)

Perennial Flowers
Daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum)
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra sp.)
Yarrow (Achillea sp.)
Daylily (Hemerocallis sp.)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.)
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium sp.)
Globe Thistle (Echinops exaltus)
Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
Rockcress (Arabis sp.)
Wallflower (Erysimum sp.)
Lupine (Lupinus sp.)
Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria sp.)
Poppy (Papaver sp.)

Ground Covers
Kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Heather (Erica sp.)
Wild Strawberry (Fragaria sp.)
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Annual Flowers
Lithodora (Lithodora diffusa)
Trailing raspberry (Rubus pedatus)
Trailing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Annual Flowers
California Poppy (Eschscholtzia californica)
Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
Clarkia (Clarkia sp.)
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Geranium (Pelargonium sp.)
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritime)
Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)
Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum)

Garden Herbs
Catmint (Nepeta sp.)
Bee balm (Monarda didyma)
Garden chive (Allium schoenoprasum)
Garlic chive (Allium tuberosum)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Lavender (Lavendula sp.)
Garden Mint (Mentha sp.)
Hyssop (Hyssopsis officinalis)
Thyme (Thymus sp.)
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

You can utilize species from this list of deer resistant plants as part of finding ways to coexist with your local deer and other herbivorous wildlife. Fencing around specific garden areas can also provide a very effective means to keeping deer from browsing important food crops. There are also many more potential plant species than just those found on this list of deer resistant plants. For more information regarding deer resistant plants in your region, talk to your local fish and wildlife department or local native plant nursery.

By the way, a big part of why we love homesteading & permaculture skills so much is because they are a natural extension of learning about wilderness survival (both fields are all about self-sufficiency and working with nature to satisfy needs). An understanding of survival not only helps you become a better permaculturist, it empowers you with life-saving outdoor skills to keep you safe when out in nature. Right now you can get a free copy of our mini survival guide here, where you'll discover six key strategies for outdoor emergencies, plus often-overlooked survival tips.

Further Resources:

Plants that Deer Do Not Like to Eat

Related Courses:

Permaculture Courses at Alderleaf

Filip Tkaczyk

About the Author: Filip Tkaczyk is a periodic guest teacher at Alderleaf. He also wrote the field guide Tracks & Sign of Reptiles & Amphibians. Learn more about Filip Tkaczyk.

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