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!
When planting your bulbs this fall, rely on Daffodils, Colchicum, and Snowdrops to ward off the deer.
Many ornamental grasses are unpalatable to animals. Pennisetum, Miscanthus, and Fescue will all be among the last things to be nibbled by midnight marauders!
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.
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.
Some tropicals and tender plants do a good job warding off deer. Angel’s Trumpet and Canna are both unappealing.
Many herbs repel deer with their strong fragrance. One of the very best is, surprisingly, Catmint. Lavender and Thyme are also good deterrents.
Dotting your garden with these deer-resistant plants may just convince the local wildlife to dine elsewhere!