Deer in Flower Garden

12 Plants That Deer (Hate) Won’t Eat

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If your garden is often visited by deer, it’s safe to say that you’ve run into the trouble of having all your lovely plants eaten. These wild animals tend to munch on a wide variety of plants and flowers without any apparent discrimination. However, some plants can be considered more deer-resistant than others. They typically feature some unappealing characteristics that will make deer avoid them. If you plant them in your garden, it’s likely that deer won’t wreak havoc as before.

The plants that deer won’t eat are often attractive with fragrant blooms. This means that you don’t have to compromise too much on a beautiful garden if you’re looking for a way to fight back against a deer invasion. Aromatic and poisonous plants are usually avoided by deer. It would be a good idea to replace the soft vegetation that’s preferred by these wild animals with some reliable deer-resistant plants. This is a much better alternative compared to other expensive and inefficient solutions to prevent deer from hanging around your property.

Check out the best plants that won’t be eaten by deer.

1. Daffodil

Daffodil Plant

Avoided by many wild animals including deer and rabbits, daffodils shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re deer-proofing your garden. These beautiful flowers feature a characteristic milky sap that makes them unappealing to deer. Daffodils boast a wide range of colorful blooms that appear in the spring. Although it’s worth adding this plant to your garden, it’s important to mention that bulbs of daffodil are toxic to both people and pets. When it comes to growing these flowers, it’s recommended to find a sunny spot in the garden with moist soil featuring sufficient drainage.

2. Lavender

Lavender Plant

The amazing aroma of lavender is highly appreciated by humans yet hated by deer. This makes the plant a must-have addition to any deer-proof garden. The animals will avoid the foliage and the flowers of lavender as both emit the characteristic fragrance. A native of Europe, lavender is highly recommended as a companion plant for delicate flowers or vegetables. It grows best in full sun and relatively dry soil although it seems to thrive in a wide variety of conditions. The plant only tends to struggle in cooler climates. Lavender flowers bloom during the summer. Keep in mind that they’re toxic for pets.

3. Poppy

Poppy Plant

Among charming plants that you should bring into a deer-proof garden, poppies are highly recommended. They grow efficiently from seed and show off blooms in various colors such as red, white, orange, and pink. Poppies are toxic to deer so the animals will quickly avoid them. This plant is also harmful to pets or children. Be careful about accidental ingestion. Many gardeners choose to grow poppies for their natural beauty and characteristic texture. Full sun is pretty much essential if you’re looking to enjoy bountiful blooms. If you live in an area with very hot summers, poppies might be a little harder to grow successfully.

4. Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley Plant

Part of the asparagus family, lily of the valley is an interesting plant to consider if you’re tired of deer messing around in your garden. The plant is poisonous to humans and pets, as well as deer. There’s nothing to worry about it as long as you don’t ingest large quantities. Lily of the valley’s toxic nature makes it easily avoided by deer. Although the delicate bell-shaped blooms of this plant can beautify your garden, it’s also worth mentioning that lily of the valley is considered an invasive plant in some locations of the US. Select a spot with partial shade and well-draining soil if you choose to plant this flower in your deer-proof garden.

5. Sunflower

Sunflower Plant

The cheerful vibe of sunflowers can enliven any garden. The big flowers and rough-textured leaves are completely unappealing for deer. That means it could be a smart decision to include this plant in your garden. Another great feature of sunflower is that it’s surprisingly easy to grow. The plant features great overall hardiness and only requires a sunny spot with good drainage for the soil. Regular watering could be important to ensure that sunflowers can produce consistently healthy blooms. Fertilization is only necessary if your soil quality is fairly poor.

6. Foxglove

Foxglove Plant

Foxglove is another poisonous plant that deer won’t consider eating. Common foxgloves show off attractive tubular blooms on tall stems. They’re worth adding to any deer-proof garden, but make sure you pay close attention to how their toxicity can also affect you and your pets. All the parts of foxgloves contain a seriously harmful chemical. It’s a notable disadvantage but it shouldn’t really detract you from growing it. The plant produces stunning blooms with minimal effort as long as you provide it with rich soil and consistent moisture. Foxgloves are recommended as back-row plants in mixed borders.

7. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart Plant

Deer steer clear of bleeding heart plants because they’re poisonous despite their beauty. It might seem surprising that deer avoid this charming flower considering how the heart-shaped blooms look like a tasty snack. Bleeding heart is a shade-loving plant that won’t tolerate excessive sun and heat. It’s best to find a shaded location in your garden to help it thrive. The toxic chemical that deters deer from consuming it is also toxic to humans. However, growing bleeding heart is a rewarding experience for any gardener who wants to admire the plant’s unique blooms.

8. Peony

Peony Plant

The strong scent and aromatic taste of peony flowers appear to be strong enough deterrents for deer. This is good news for any gardener who wants to bring these brilliant flowers into their yard. Peonies are a staple of ornamental gardening. Even though they tend to grow very slowly, these plants are fairly resilient and can survive for decades in optimal conditions. Peonies are not toxic to humans but they can be harmful to pets. They can develop their blooms in either full sun or partial shade. Make sure you get rid of weeds surrounding peonies because these flowers will struggle with the competition.

9. Lamb’s Ear

Lambs Ear Plant

A plant grown specifically for its velvety-soft texture, lamb’s ear isn’t appetizing to deer. This plant has practical uses as a ground cover in various types of gardens. Lamb’s ear enjoys full sun exposure but it can grow in partial shade as well. It’s known for its ability to grow rapidly. That’s why it’s often used for times when you need fast-forming low mats of leaves to cover an empty patch of the garden. The plant produces some insignificant flowers, but it’s usually grown for the foliage. Aside from great resistance to deer, lamb’s ear is also rabbit-proof.

10. Vinca

Vinca Plant

Thanks to its toxic properties and glossy foliage, vinca plants are reliable in terms of repelling deer. A native of Madagascar, this attractive flower works great as a bedding plant. It grows easily in different conditions. Vinca flowers are recommended for container gardens or to keep as houseplants. The flower is suitable for sunny locations and offers excellent tolerance to drought. Pests and diseases don’t seem to affect vinca plants too much. When it comes to varieties, you can choose vinca plants in colors such as pink, red, white, and purple.

11. Coneflower

Coneflower Plant

A magnet for butterflies and bees, coneflowers shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re trying to deer-proof your garden. These plants feature extended bloom times and a multitude of colorful varieties to bring some beauty to any yard. This native perennial wildflower is quite easy to grow in many parts of the US. It enjoys full sun exposure and can handle drought to some extent. Just make sure you take good care of your coneflowers by providing them with well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Take your pick from purple, white, red, yellow, pink, and orange coneflower types.

12. Verbena

Verbena Plant

No summer garden is complete without the vibrant blooms of verbena. This deer-resistant plant has a great habit of blooming all season long to create a delightful look for your garden. It’s practical to use this flowering plant for bedding and containers alike. Verbenas are low-maintenance plants that won’t wilt very easily in the harsh summer heat. Most climates are suitable for verbena to grow as an annual. The majority of garden varieties feature blooms in shades of pink, purple, and red. Verbenas are not attractive to deer but will draw the attention of beneficial pollinators and hummingbirds to your garden.


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