Deer Resistant Plants to Grow for Your Garden

Close-Up Portrait Of Deer Amidst Plants In Forest

Bernard Stam / Getty Images

Why bother with lists of deer-resistant plants? It is, after all, a well-known fact that Bambi isn't fussy about what he eats when he's really hungry. But unless you're prepared to install deer fencing, it behooves you to play with the odds on your side, at least. And that's what the list below is all about. Think of it as a list of Bambi's least favorite foods. It's a matter not of guarantees, but rather of decreasing the chances of damage to your landscaping.

  • 01 of 06


    Golden; Alyssum; saxatile
    Yellow Alyssum emer1940 / Getty Images

    In our quest to thwart Bambi, there is often no need to sacrifice our design plans ("tweak," yes; "sacrifice," no). It's a good thing, too: after all, why would we even bother landscaping if the end result—in the name of Bambi-proofing the yard—failed to be pleasing to the eye? Fortunately, you'll find this list of perennials packed with gorgeous plants that satisfy a variety of needs in your design plan.

    Need a low-growing plant with yellow flowers for your rock garden that Bambi usually does not eat? How about a long-blooming perennial that looks great as a border plant? Or a tall perennial that you can grow in the back row of a cottage garden planting? We present all these and more in this list of perennials.

  • 02 of 06


    Pieris japonica / Japanese andromeda Flower
    Andromeda magicflute002 / Getty Images

    Don't think that, because they're generally bigger and sturdier than perennials, shrubs are somehow less likely to show up on Bambi's menu. On the contrary, arborvitae, for example, is one of his favorite snacks. Just as with perennials, we have to pick and choose our shrubs so as to minimize the chances of damage.

    What type of shrub are you looking for? We discuss examples of the following in our article:

    • Shrubs grown for their foliage, such as you would place in hedges
    • Shrubs that are grown for their flowers that can serve as specimens in your landscaping
    • A shrub that fits into both the points above.
  • 03 of 06


    Close-Up Of Pink Flowers Blooming Outdoors

    Thanapa Nachiangmai / Getty Images

    Fortunately, deer-resistant plants are well represented in the next two categories: spring-flowering bulbs and ornamental grasses.

    Whether because they waft strong smells upon the spring breezes and/or are toxic (or both)—or just plain don't taste good to this largest of garden pests—spring bulbs provide several Bambi-proof options. That's welcome news to yours truly, who has all he can do to fend off the incursions against his spring bulbs made by rabbits and squirrels, without having to worry about another pest joining in on the free-for-all.

  • 04 of 06

    Ornamental Grasses

    Maiden Grass or Miscanthus Sinensis, autumn background
    Maiden Grass ANGHI / Getty Images

    Considering that Bambi is a grazing animal, one might assume that he would enjoy eating the ornamental grasses, generally speaking. But one would be wrong—and quite glad to be wrong, we might add!

    Many ornamental grasses are deer-resistant plants. In this brief introduction, we restrict ourselves to listing just a few examples:

    • A short type
    • A type of intermediate height
    • A tall type
    • An example that people use as if it were an ornamental grass but which is really in the Lily family
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Ground Covers

    Blooming woodruff
    Sweet woodruff Annimei / Getty Images

    Ground covers can be counted among the true workhorses of the landscape. As low-maintenance vegetation, they can save you money in the long run. But they're about more than just saving you money. Have you ever had to mow the grass on a steep slope? Such a chore is irksome, time-consuming and, potentially, dangerous. Replacing grass in such a location with a reliable ground cover could be a stroke of genius on your part.

    But a ground cover persecuted by pests can hardly be deemed "reliable." That's where deer-resistant ground covers come into play. Consult the list in the article linked to above for some examples.

  • 06 of 06


    Red Chestnut Tree

    Chireau / Getty Images

    Finally, there are many trees that are also deer-resistant. It is particularly important that a tree in deer country possess this quality when young: Bambi could easily make a snack of a small specimen. You don't want to walk out into your yard one morning to find that a newly-planted sapling has been reduced to a bare twig, right?

    We furnish you with ample variety in the list linked to above. You can find a specimen right for you whether you're in the market for a flowering tree, a shade tree, an evergreen tree or a fall-foliage superstar.