Oh Deer: Plant Suggestion’s needed

Butternut, WI(Zone 4a)

I will be starting my first planting season on my new property, having cleared pines and brush I have a blank canvas.

Plenty of rocks moss and at times misquotes and oh yes Deer.

Looking for some bursts of color and contrast thinking of some grasses and maybe plants like butterfly weed and daisy’s, perennials or self-sowing Natives that are deer resistant

Ordering seeds shortly and any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank You

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Well, you can use all the deer resistant lists you want, but the deer do not read them, so may eat almost anything.

1) Do not put too much money into just a few species of plants. Buy a few each of many things. Then, when you find out what the deer in your area are eating, or not, repeat the order, and concentrate on the plants that have proven to be less palatable to your deer.
2) Older, more mature growth is more resistant. When a plant is deer resistant because of the oils in the plant it takes some some time for these oils to reach full concentration in the plants' new leaves. So the deer may nibble the new growth, but not the old.
3) Use a spray or other deer repellant when the plants are growing the fastest. Use other repellants to try to get them to not even enter the garden, too. Rotate the repellants, and keep them fresh. Deer get used to them, and the scent weathers, so suggests to the deer that the predator is not currently in the area.

Walk around your neighborhood and plant some of the same things your neighbors are planting. If the neighbors have to fence off certain plants, then avoid those plants.

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

Normally, plants with strong scents such as salvia and most herbs are not eaten by deer. I have lots of deer come through my property and I know from experience they will eat day lilies and azaleas to a nub. They haven't touched my wisteria at all. I have daffodil and iris beds along the driveway down close to the creek where they have quite a trail but they never touch them either. They also don't bother my spider lilies. I have lots of perennials all around the house but hubby had to put an electric fence all around them to keep the deer from coming right up to the house to eat them! There's really not a whole lot they won't eat if they're hungry enough. We keep a little peace between us and the deer by planting a food plot (clover and winter wheat) down by the creek which they visit every evening. We enjoy watching them, especially when the does bring in their little spotted fawns.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Lilies of the Valley, Foxgloves (Digitalis) and Monkshood, all for shade, are plants they definitely won't touch because they are toxic. They seem to leave the perennial Cranesbill geraniums alone. In my experience they do eat not eat iris foliage, only the buds :-(. Daylilies, hosta and phlox are like candy to them.

As others have said, their appetites vary from region to region, so try to find out what neighbors grow.

Good luck!


Butternut, WI(Zone 4a)

Thank you for your suggestions.

Pic from last night 1.27.13 out my bedroom window , The next Generation of flower munchers.

Thumbnail by NorthernWisc
Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Ummm, did you consider just making them a deer munching area? and letting it grow crazy... kinda like we plant sunflowers away from our gardens- to draw bugs AWAY from our gardens? It could be your designated 'wildflower' area....No, I don't know that it could help...

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

No, they wipe it out. They eat and eat until everything is gone. A deer munching area is tall trees, mature shrubs eaten up to deer reach, toxic plants, and nothing else.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

actually, trees new growth is what they hunger for, If they are munching trees, their natural forage is depleted, then as they starve on off, and die, the cycle of plants to support them restarts. It sounds as if your Game wardens aren't managing their harvests well enough...

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

You try telling them... I

n Southampton, NY a beautifully landscaped property (my late mother's) was decimated over a period of about 5 years around the turn of this century. The population has not noticeably diminished, in fact now they bed down at one end of her 3/4 acre lot. I speak from experience...

They don't touch the Skimmia, Forsythia, Pines or Junipers. They only eat the early spring growth on the English Box shrubs, don't touch Korean Box. Azaleas are gone, also Weigela and others I've forgotten. Mature Glossy Abelias are nibbled up as high as they can reach, then spread at the top like umbrellas. I put in new ones, but they were annihilated overnight, not big enough. Rhodies too are nibbled up, also a formerly lovely Japanese Maple. They ate the buds off the peonies, then eventually the foliage diminished as well. Alchemilla and Nepeta survive. Astilbes, Heuchera gone. The fauns don't know what they aren't supposed to like, so they eat everything until they learn. And there are always new crops of fauns.

So again, there are differences in their habits in every region. See what is successful for the neighbors, check with local nurseries, and spray favorites. If you spray everything, they'll get used to it.

Good luck!


Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

NY, yeah. Too many bleeding hearts without a simple grain of brain and far too many couch potatoes being fed Bambi tales. Another tale of skewed mis intentions on fairy tales...

Rosemont, ON(Zone 4a)

Shrubs that were not eaten in a deer-infested garden I had in PA:
Buddleia alternifolia
Buxus 'Green Mountain'
Caryopteris x clandonensis
Ilex opaca
Juniperus rigida
Leptodermis oblonga
Lychium chinense
Perovskia atriplicifolia
Potentilla fruticosa

Perennials: any that are prickly, poisonous, pungent, or hairy, or grasses.
Bulbs: Colchicum, Narcissus, Fritillaria, Allium, Leucojum.

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