The Q&A Archives: List Of Plants That Deer Do Not Like To Eat

Question: Am overrun with white-tail deer. Please send a list of plants that they don't like to eat - the deer repellants don't work with such numbers.

Answer: In my own (sad) experience, a heavy infestation of deer means that the only long term effective control is a tall fence. However, there are several lists that have been published and you may want to experiment and see what your local deer have developed a taste for. Unfortunately, deer in different areas have learned to eat different things and they are so adaptable that they add to their selection over time. The discussions of deer damage with each list are also interesting. I hope these help some!

Penn State published a list of plants (for a discussion about the list and the original, please see )


Scientific Name Common Name Scientific Name Common Name
Abies sp. + fir Heder helix g.c. English ivy
Acer negundo + box-elder Ilex sp. = holly
Ageratum* flossflower Iris sp. * iris
Ajuga* bugle weed Juniperus sp.= juniper
Aquilegia* columbine Kerris japonica = Japanese rose
Berberis sp.= barberry Larix decidua + European larch
Buxus= boxwood Lupinus sp.* lupine
Catalpa sp. + catalpa Maclura pomifera + Osage orange
Cercis sp. + redbud Narcissus sp.* Narcissus
Chamaecyparis sp= false-cypress Paeonia suffruticosa= tree peony
Clematis sp.* clematis Papaver orientalis * Oriental poppy
Cotinus coggygria +smoketree Picea sp. + spruce
Crataegus sp. + hawthorn Pinus sp. + pine
Cytisus scoparius=Scotch broom Rhododendron sp. rhododendron
Daphne sp. daphne Robinia pseudoacacia+ black locust
Delphinium* larkspur Symphoricarpos albus= snowberry
Digitalis* foxglove Syringa vulgaris= lilac
Ginkgo biloba + maidenhair tree Tulipa sp.* tulips
Gymnocladus dioica+ Kentucky coffee tree Yucca* Yucca
+ tree or tree-like
* herbaceous plant
= shrubby
g.c. ground cover

West Virginia Extension offers a discussion of deer damage and a list of plants at

Cornell University has also published a list and a discussion at

I hope these help!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "sunset on summer"