Deer will scarf down your tasty, tender petunias and nosh on your geraniums, but not every landscape flower or shrub will whet their appetite. Protect your landscape by using deer-resistant plants the animals will turn up their noses at.
Plants with unappealing textures
Deer dislike plants with fuzzy textures. Plants such as lamb’s ear, lady’s mantle, cinquefoil and dusty miller repel deer because the texture of their foliage is unappealing to deer.
Plants with strong fragrances
Deer turn up their nose at plants with strong scents. Plants in this category include boxwoods, marigolds, rosemary, lantana, sage, mint, lavender and bee balm. Black cohosh has a smell deer don’t like as well as an unappetizing bitter taste.
Deer-Resistant Prickly plants
Spiny, thorny plants that can prick deer’s sensitive noses turn them away. Acanthus, Echinops, sea lilies and all thistles are examples of plants that are too prickly for deer.
Plants that make deer ill
Toxic plants repel deer because they can become very sick or die if they eat them. Oleander and monkshood both produce beautiful flowers and are poisonous to deer. (They are also toxic to people and pets. )Deer also avoid all types of ferns because they cannot tolerate a chemical they contain.
Other landscape beauties that bring beautiful color but keep deer aware are verbenas, floss flowers and snapdragons.