Anise Hyssop attracts hummingbirds and repels deer with its mint-scented foliage.

Anise Hyssop attracts hummingbirds and repels deer with its mint-scented foliage.

In the fall and winter as many plants start to go dormant, the deer and other mammalian wildlife star getting pretty hungry. Many of us have watched our beautiful gardens turn in a veritable buffet for the local fauna. But, although we all know that a starving herd of deer will devour just about anything, if you choose plants they dislike, you are less likely to become their favorite restaurant.

No plant is guaranteed to be deer proof, but these bulbs, grasses, shrubs, trees, perennials, tropicals, and herbs are naturally unappetizing because of unpleasant tastes, smells, or textures. Some are even poisonous. Rely on them to landscape the perimeter of your property, so deer and other grazers won’t be tempted to venture further in!

Safe from nibbling voles, moles, and gophers, Autumn Crocus is a fine choice for the bulb garden!

Safe from nibbling voles, moles, and gophers, Autumn Crocus is a fine choice for the bulb garden!

Bulbs

When planting your bulbs this fall, rely on Daffodils, Colchicum, and Snowdrops to ward off the deer.

Grasses

Many ornamental grasses are unpalatable to animals. Pennisetum, Miscanthus, and Fescue will all be among the last things to be nibbled by midnight marauders!

Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris) adds rare blue color to the garden!

Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris) adds rare blue color to the garden!

Shrubs & Trees

Fall is a great time to plant shrubs and trees. Rely on Butterfly Bush, Caryopteris, and Daphne to keep the borders nibble-free, while Boxwood, Viburnum, and Thuja (Arborvitae) do the heavy lifting as barrier plantings, living screens, and handsome specimens.

Irresistible to pollinators and unappetizing to deer and rabbits, Sage is a foolproof sun perennial!

Irresistible to pollinators and unappetizing to deer and rabbits, Sage is a foolproof sun perennial!

Perennials

The perennial border is always a target for deer, so choose your varieties carefully. For sunny spots, rely on Echinacea, Coreopsis, Salvia, Yarrow, Rudbeckia, Oriental Poppy, Evening Primrose, Milkweed, and Hyssop to see you through. In areas that mix sun and shade, Foxglove, Iris, and Columbine will stand up. And in shade, you can’t beat Hellebore, Bugleweed, and Bleeding Heart.

Not only will deer leave it alone, but Iris will spread over time, so you can make new plants from old!

Not only will deer leave it alone, but Iris will spread over time, so you can make new plants from old!

Tropicals

Some tropicals and tender plants do a good job warding off deer. Angel’s Trumpet and Canna are both unappealing.

Herbs

Many herbs repel deer with their strong fragrance. One of the very best is, surprisingly, Catmint. Lavender and Thyme are also good deterrents.

Cats may be all over it, but deer and rabbits will have nothing to do with Catmint1

Cats may be all over it, but deer and rabbits will have nothing to do with Catmint1

Dotting your garden with these deer-resistant plants may just convince the local wildlife to dine elsewhere!

 

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