DEER-RESISTANT PLANTS

For Pacific Northwest Gardens

by Joëlle Steele

Part of the appeal of living in or near rural areas is the proximity to nature. And nature can bring a wide variety of wildlife in our landscapes, including deer. Personally, I love deer, and if they want to hang out in my yard they are more than welcome. My mother always enjoyed watching them, and when they ate her fuchsias, she just bought more fuchsias. But, not everybody appreciates having their plants nibbled on by the local deer herd.

Deer can and will eat many plants that they don't normally like if they are very hungry or thirsty — and plants supply them with moisture if no other source is available. If you're like my mother and want to keep the deer in your yard, you might try planting something that they like, such as a patch of clover, or even alfalfa, and plant it away from the rest of your garden plants in an area that is accessible to the deer. And, if the weather is hot, you can provide deer with fresh water in a bucket, tub, or pond, and that will often reduce their need to graze further into your yard.

But, when all else fails, and before you take drastic measures — like putting up an electric fence — try using some deer resistant plants. Deer usually avoid ornamental grasses like Carex or Festuca ("fescue"); strongly fragrant herbs like Salvia ("sage"); and anything that is prickly with thorns like Berberis ("barberry") — although they do seem to make quite an exception to the latter when it comes to roses.

The following is a list of some Pacific Northwest plants that deer don't usually bother with much. But remember, this isn't an exact science. Try a few and see how it goes — some members of each plant species may be more deer resistant than others.

Alphabetical by Species

TREES AND SHRUBS

Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
Buddleia ("butterfly bush," "summer lilac")
Buxus sempervirens ("English boxwood")
Ceanothus ("California lilac", "California laurel")
Choisya ("Mexican orange")
Cotinus coggygria ("Smoke tree")
Cotoneaster
Daphne
Erica ("heather," "heath")
Hebe
Hypericum ("St. John's wort")
Ilex ("holly")
Juniperus ("juniper")
Lavandula ("lavender")
Mahonia ("Oregon grape")
Nandina ("heavenly bamboo")
Philadelphus ("mock orange")
Picea ("spruce")
Pieris japonica ("lily of the valley shrub")
Pinus ("pine")
Prunus triloba ("flowering almond")
Rhododendron
Rosmarinus ("rosemary")
Skimmia japonica
Yucca ("Spanish bayonet," "Joshua tree," "soapweed")

PERENNIALS, ANNUALS, AND BULBS

Aconitum ("monkshood")
Alyssum
Arabis ("rockcress")
Artemisia ("wormwood")
Aubrieta
Bergenia
Calendula ("marigold")
Cheiranthus ("wallflower")
Chrysanthemum ("Shasta daisy," "marguerite")
Cleome ("spider flower")
Convolvulus (Ipomoea) ("morning glory")
Coreopsis ("tickseed")
Crocosmia ("montbretia")
Cyclamen
Dahlia
Datura (Brugmansia)
Dicentra ("bleeding heart")
Digitalis ("foxglove")
Epimedium ("bishop's hat")
Erigeron ("fleabane," "aspen daisy")
Erysimum ("wallflower")
Gaillardia ("blanket flower")
Hedera ("English ivy")
Helleborus ("hellebore," "Christmas rose")
Iris
Lavatera ("tree mallow")
Lobelia
Lupinus ("lupine," "lupin")
Myosotis ("forget-me-not")
Narcissus ("daffodil")
Oenothera ("evening primrose")
Papaver ("poppy")
Pelargonium ("geranium")
Penstemon ("beard tongue")
Perovskia ("Russian sage")
Primula ("primrose")
Pulmonaria ("lungwort")
Rudbeckia ("black-eyed Susan")
Salvia ("sage")
Scabiosa ("pincushion flower")
Senecio cineraria ("dusty miller")
Stachys ("lamb's ears")
Tropaeolum ("nasturtium")
Verbena
Zinnia

Alphabetical by Common Name

TREES AND SHRUBS

Azalea (Rhodendron spp.)
"butterfly bush" (Buddleia)
"summer lilac" (Buddleia)
"English boxwood" (Buxus sempervirens)
"California laurel" (Ceanothus)
"California lilac" (Ceanothus)
"Mexican orange" (Choisya)
"smoke tree" (Cotinus coggygria)
Cotoneaster
Daphne
"heather/heath" (Erica)
Hebe
"St. John's wort" (Hypericum)
"holly" (Ilex)
"juniper" (Juniperus)
"lavender" (Lavandula)
"Oregon grape" (Mahonia)
"heavenly bamboo" (Nandina)
"mock orange" (Philadelphus)
"spruce" (Picea)
"lily of the valley shrub" (Pieris japonica)
"pine" (Pinus)
"flowering almond" (Prunus triloba)
Rhododendron
"rosemary" (Rosmarinus)
Skimmia japonica
"Spanish bayonet" (Yucca)
"Joshua tree" (Yucca)
"soapweed" (Yucca

PERENNIALS, ANNUALS, AND BULBS

Alyssum
"aspen daisy" (Erigeron)
Aubrieta
"beard tongue" (Penstemon)
Bergenia
"bishop's hat" (Epimedium)
"black-eyed Susan" (Rudbeckia)
"blanket flower" (Gaillardia)
"bleeding heart" (Dicentra)
"Christmas rose" (Helleborus)
Cyclamen
"daffodil" (Narcissus)
Dahlia
Datura (Brugmansia)
"dusty miller" (Senecio cineraria)
"English ivy" (Hedera)
"evening primrose" (Oenothera)
"fleabane" (Erigeron)
"forget-me-not" (Myosotis)
"foxglove" (Digitalis)
"geranium" (Pelargonium)
"hellebore" (Helleborus)
Iris
"lamb's ears" (Stachys)
Lobelia
"lungwort" (Pulmonaria)
"lupine/lupin" (Lupinus)
"marguerite" (Chrysanthemum)
"marigold" (Calendula)
"monkshood" (Aconitum)
"montbretia" (Crocosmia)
"morning glory" (Convolvulus, Ipomoea)
"nasturtium" (Tropaeolum)
"pincushion flower" (Scabiosa)
"poppy" (Papaver)
"primrose" (Primula)
"rockcress" (Arabis)
"Russian sage" (Perovskia)
"sage" (Salvia)
"Shasta daisy" (Chrysanthemum)
"spider flower" (Cleome)
"tickseed" (Coreopsis)
"tree mallow" (Lavatera)
Verbena
"wallflower" (Erysimum)
"wallflower" (Cheiranthus)
"wormwood" (Artemisia)
Zinnia













Joëlle Steele
Enterprises

 

Olympia,

Washington


United States
of America

 

Established 1983