5 Best Herbs for Deer-Resistance

These herbs deter deer while they spice up recipes

red bee balm

​The Spruce / K. Dave

The following herbs are useful for eating, enjoying their beauty, and best of all, do not taste good to deer. You might notice mint did not make the list. Mint is also a deterrent, but it is highly invasive and will soon take over. While all of these herbs can be helpful, they're not a cure-all. If you have a serious problem, do not count on herbs alone to do the job of ridding deer from your garden. Here are the top five deer resistant herbs.


To increase the likelihood that your herbs will really deter deer, plant them along the edges of vulnerable flower beds or vegetable patches.

  • 01 of 05


    rosemary plant

    The Spruce / K. Dave

    What makes rosemary so wonderful—its unique smell—also makes it unpalatable to deer and other wildlife. Due to its tender nature, in northern climates, keep rosemary planted in large pots. You can then bury the pots wherever you want them to grow during your hottest months. Look for both upright and trailing varieties to add visual interest in your herb garden.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Blue, white and pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Sandy
  • 02 of 05

    Russian Sage

    Russian sage

    ​The Spruce / K. Dave

    If you are looking for a stunning herb specimen for a focal point, privacy, beauty, and scent, then Russian sage is your herb. This gorgeous herb will grow up to 5 feet tall, smells fantastic, and requires very little care. Both the foliage and flowers are heavily scented, making it a wonderful addition to your herbal landscape that the deer dislike.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Lavender blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Any well-draining soil
  • 03 of 05

    Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

    red bee balm

    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Bee balm is one of the most striking and useful herbs to have in your herb gardens. Its color is eye-catching to you as well as attractive to both butterflies and bees. Bee balm can also be used to repel deer. Find your favorite variety of bee balm and plant it in container gardens as well as a background color in your beds that edge the yard.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Red, pink, and blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full to partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist enriched soil
  • 04 of 05

    Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)


    ​The Spruce / K. Dave

    Yarrow is a wonderful herb to add to your herb garden. You can choose from a variety of colors and growing habits, but each will have the same deterrent effect on deer. If you are using yarrow for medicinal purposes, you could also let it seed itself along the edges of your landscaping design, to ward off deer and allow you to enjoy the lovely flowers, as well as feathery foliage.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, pink or red.
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained soil (clayey soil is fine)
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Lavender (Lavandula)


    ​The Spruce / K. Dave 

    Lavender is a wonderful herb to grow in any size herb garden. Its heady fragrance is loved by almost everyone, and the beauty of the plant itself is unrivaled. Plant lavender borders along the sides of your garden that seem to invite deer traffic the most. If you can not plant an in-ground border, lavender also grows very well in containers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Purple, violet-blue, rose, pale pink, white, and yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining soil

Using deer resistant herbs is a great way to reduce deer damage in your landscape. However, remember that hungry deer will eat even the most unpalatable plants, so this method is not foolproof in times of stress for the wildlife.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Growing Mint. National Gardening Association

  2. Salvia Rosmarinus. Missouri Botanical Garden

  3. Perovskia Atriplicifolia. Missouri Botanical Garden

  4. Monarda Didyma. Missouri Botanical Garden

  5. Achillea Millefolium. Missouri Botanical Garden

  6. Lavandula Angustifolia. Missouri Botanical Garden