Harmful animals

Revisiting the List of Deer Resistant Plants

When I do my conference tour in the various horticulture and ecology societies in Quebec, as soon as I move away from the major urban centers, the conversation quickly turns to deer. With each new plant that I present, a hand goes up. “Is this plant resistant to deer?” An approving grunt from the crowd ensues! What a major challenge for hundreds of gardeners who live near forests and fields!

Cohabiting with deer is not always easy. If only they could just walk around the garden! … and eat somewhere else! Photo: Pixabay

However, lately, everything’s going bonkers! Sure values, these plants that I could propose with confidence, have now become the target of deer. White-tailed deer, seem to have adapted their diet!

I Know Nothing. But You Do!

Since I garden in a suburb where squirrels are my biggest threat, my experience with deer is limited. It is you, the gardeners from all over North America, who feed me with your experiences.

I would like to open this blog to a collaborative exchange. Could the gardeners who are struggling with deer share their success stories? Thus, everyone could benefit from this fabulous pool of knowledge!

What plants in your garden are deer resistant? Which plants used to resist deer…but not anymore? And which plants did you have to write off? Do you have any tips for keeping deer away?

The floor is yours!

Who? Me? Photo: Pixabay

Julie Boudreau is a horticulturist who trained at the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. She’s been working with plants for more than 25 years. She has published many gardening books and hosted various radio and television shows. She now teaches horticulture at the Centre de formation horticole of Laval. A great gardening enthusiast, she’s devoted to promoting gardening, garden design, botany and ecology in every form. Born a fan of organic gardening, she’s curious and cultivates a passion for all that can be eaten. Julie Boudreau is “epicurious” and also fascinated by Latin names.

3 comments on “Revisiting the List of Deer Resistant Plants

  1. Kathleen Quarzenski

    We live in a rural area between many lakes in West Central Minnesota. I have found that Russian Sage, Bleeding Heart, some varieties of Hosta, Aster, perennial grasses, peonies, iris, lambs ear, lilacs and varigated snow on the mountain have not been bothered by the deer. Anything else is a crapshoot no matter how well claimed it is to be deer resistant. This is also dependent upon how close to the house it is planted and how often the dogs are out.

  2. We live in the high country desert in Colorado, so our deer are mule deer. We have a small group that pretty much live in our subdivision. The plants that are most deer resistant in my yard are ones that are highly aromatic like Russian sage, catmint, lavender, sage, rabbit brush, and ornamental oregano. I’ve also had good luck with bluestem grasses, coneflowers, peonies, iris, gaillardias, black-eyed Susan’s and golden rod. Unfortunately the deer love my roses, daylilies, coral bells, tulips and aspen. They’ve killed several aspen trees. I have some autumn joy sedum that is supposedly deer resistant but the deer love them. They seem to stay away from the native plants better then regular “garden type” plants, if I’m careful to pick out deer resistant types.

  3. Donna Birch

    We have a small wooded area behind our house and it attracts several deer. Plants that they may have devoured one year fall off their favorite list and another plant becomes more attractive to them the following year.

    For the past 2 years, they have avoided my plants because of the treatments I have made. I vary between human urine, garlic powder, and ground cinnamon. I don’t put the urine or garlic too close to the house of course. I switch from one to the other so that they cannot get too used to a particular smell. I don’t renew after each rain, but obviously do have to treat several times a year. Strong smells seem to deter them.

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