The Q&A Archives: Gopher Resistant Plants

Question: I have a long flower bed that I am trying to fill with colorful plants that are gopher resistant, or possibly gopher repellent. The flower bed is along two fences and borders my lawn. I have currently planted Australian Brush Cherry against my fence and I have anywhere from 1-4 feet to fill in with other plants (since my lawn edge curves). Most of the area is shaded by a camphor tree but some of it does receive morning sun. Do you have any suggestions to help me beautify my garden without supporting the gopher population? Thank you!

Answer: There are no proven gopher repellant plants, nor is there a list of plants gophers avoid. They aren't really attacking your plants on purpose, they just happen to destroy the root systems while digging their tunnels in search of insects. There's really no way to completely control gophers, but you can try trapping them. Some gardeners have had good success in repelling gophers by stuffing bars of soap down the holes, or wads of human hair.

As for the planting area you describe, it is not only shady but it's probably dry, as well, because of the tree roots. Tree roots will compete with the roots of other plants for moisture and nutrients, so choosing plants which grow well in dry shade should ensure success in the flower bed.

Here are a few suggestions for plants that thrive in dry shade:
Aegopodium; Carex; Convallaria; Epimedium; Eupatorium; Euphorbia; Euonymus; Gaultheria; Geranium; Hellebore; Heuchera; Hedera; Hypericum; Lamiastrum; Lamium; Liriope; Pachysandra; Salvia and Vinca.

Best wishes with your flower bed!

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