24 Deer-Resistant Plants

Hungry deer tend not to bother these flowers and plants.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Addison Wood

Photo By: © iStockphoto/Tri-Eun

Photo By: © iStockphoto/nikamata

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: Burpee

Photo By: © iStockphoto/igaguri_1

Photo By: © iStockphoto/emkaplin

Photo By: © iStockphoto/AlpamayoPhoto

Photo By: © iStockphoto/Gratysanna

Photo By: © iStockphoto/Gratysanna

Photo By: © iStockphoto/istockphotostudio

Photo By: © iStockphoto/glennimage

Photo By: © iStockphoto/Pali137

Photo By: Image courtesy of Felicia Feaster

Photo By: © iStockphoto/Antonella Lussardi

Photo By: © iStockphoto/HaraldBiebel

Photo By: © iStockphoto/magicflute002

Photo By: © iStockphoto/AYImages

Photo By: Image courtesy of Wayside Gardens.

Photo By: © iStockphoto/Zhorzh2008

Photo By: © iStockphoto/oluolu3

Photo By: © iStockphoto/emer1940

Photo By: © iStockphoto/elzeva

Photo By: © iStockphoto/cunfek

Not on a Deer's Menu

While no plant is completely deer resistant, our four-legged friends tend to shy away from plants that feature such unpalatable characteristics as bitter flavor, thorny stems, strong scent or unappealing texture.

For example, deer find the fuzzy leaves of the perennial lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina), unappetizing and generally will walk away from a dinner of perennial herbs. And marigolds usually won't make the deer's menu due to the annual's strong scent.

When natural food is scarce — such as during a drought or early in the growing season — deer may be more tempted than usual to make a meal out of your garden. But these deer-resistant plants, placed along with other plantings, can add beauty and a bit of protection to your beloved beds.

French Marigold (Tagetes)

French marigolds come in an array of bright colors over a long season and are a mainstay of gardeners everywhere. They are bushy and compact with small flowers and a neat overall appearance that feature multiple colors in a single flower head.


Foxglove plants are classified as biennial since their leaves form rosette close to ground first year, succeeded by spike with blooms second. Tall, slender and with numerous tubular flowers on spikes, ranging in color from purple to white.


Rosemary is an herb that makes a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a welcome culinary seasoning. It is most closely associated with Mediterranean cuisine. It is easy to grow; in fact, rosemary can suffer from too much attention.


Despite the name and some online reviews, chocolate peppermint doesn’t taste or smell strongly like chocolate. It bears more resemblance to a chocolate after dinner mint—a hint of chocolate and mint. Use leaves fresh or dried to flavor water or tea. The flavor is best when leaves are harvested before the plant flowers.

Crape Myrtle

Crape myrtle is not typically bothered by deer in yards and gardens.

African Lily

Agapanthus Headbourne hybrids, or African lily, bears large drumstick heads of flowers from midsummer on. They can be grown in a pot or tub. Attractive to butterflies and features flowers in a range of light and dark blue shades.

Fountain Grass

Deer tend to avoid this perennial grass.

Hens and Chicks

Sempervivum tectorum, also known as hens and chicks, are ornamental succulents that will tolerate shade and sun.

'Dwarf Marine' Heliotrope

Heliotrope has a sweet, pungent scent that some liken to the smell of cherry pie. 'Dwarf Marine' features a royal purple color. It is large flowered yet compact and has attractive, dark green foliage and a bushy habit.


When heathers are planted in giant swathes that they really look breathtaking. Flowers appear at different times of the year depending on the species, so it is possible to get flowers for most of the year if different types are planted.


This flowering plant is not a favorite item on the deer menu: its sharp, spiky fronds tend to keep deer from munching in many — though not all — cases. Prickly agave can also keep deer from making your yard an all-you-can-eat buffet.


Zinnias come in a wide variety of colors with large, profuse blooms. They are truly an easy-to-grow annual flower. Zinnia offers many colors and mixed blooms from which to choose.


'Dawson's White' brunnera has flowers appearing in spring that are bright blue. The "white" in the name refers to the leaf edges.


Plant Wisteria floribunda if you don't want deer to nibble.


Asparagus is a long-lived perennial vegetable crop that is enjoyed by many gardeners. Spears emerge through the spring soil and are enjoyed until hot weather.

Sea Holly

Eryngium x tripartitum, or sea holly, has blue-green stems with masses of small metallic blue flower heads on tall four-foot stems. Sea holly is a delight to butterflies and flower arrangers alike and is a tough plant that is very tolerant of drought.


Deer-resistant plants often feature a texture or smell the animals try to avoid.

Sweet Woodruff

This shade-friendly groundcover with fragrant white flowers is sweet but not sweet for deer.


An excellent companion bloom, versatile catmint gets along famously with its neighbors. Catmint complements almost any garden style, whether you've got a formal parterre with hybrid tea roses or a wild swath of prairie perennials. It starts blooming lavender blue late in spring and keeps going till frost — and the foliage smells heavenly when you brush past it.

Lamb's Ear

Deer don't like the fuzzy texture of lamb's ear and tend to stay away from this plant. This extremely drought tolerant plant works in a rock garden and makes an attractive edging for beds.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is an old-fashioned perennial that looks so delicate with its tiny bell-shaped flowers. It will grow in the deep shade of large trees and shrubs and makes a good choice for small, contained spaces.

Bee Balm

This beautiful perennial attracts hummingbirds and butterflies but not deer.


Lungwort 'Ocupol' is a semi-evergreen perennial with ovate leaves heavily blotched and speckled with silver; clear pale blue flowers open from pale pink buds in spring on tall stems. Strikingly patterned leaves develop in the summer.


Plant daffodils in your garden and you will let the deer know the buffet is closed in your yard.

Shop This Look