The Q&A Archives: Deer resistant plants

Question: Can you give me a list of shrubs,annuals, perinnals anything that deer do NOT like...and suggestions as to how to keep them out of my garden!
Thanks so much!

Answer: I wish there were an easy solution to deer in the garden. A large population of hungry deer will eat almost any plant available. Some plants may be sampled but not destroyed. However, the plants below are generally thought of as being plants deer do not prefer to eat unless they are starving! Perennials: Achillea, Artemisia, Astilbe, Campanula, Coreopsis, Dicentra, Digitalis, Erigeron,Gaillardia, Helleborus, Malva, Monarda, Stachys, Trollius, Verbena, and Tricyrtis. Some annuals include: Ageratum, Alyssum, Zinnia, Snapdragon and Lobelia. There are quite a few shrubs that deer appear to avoid. Deciduous choices include Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea (Japanese barberry), Cotoneaster apiculata (cranberry cotoneaster), Cotoneaster horizontalis (rockspray cotoneaster), Euonymus alatus compactus (burning bush), Lindera benzoin (spice bush), Picea glauca conica (dwarf Alberta spruce), Spiraea x bumalda 'Anthony Waterer', and Spiraea x vanhouttei. Evergreens include Berberis julianae (wintergreen barberry), Ilex crenata (Japanese holly), Ilex glabra (Inkberry), Juniperis procumbens nana (Japanese garden juniper), Picea abies (bird's nest spruce), and Pinus mugo (mugo pine).

You can try scare tactics such as running the sprinkler on a motion detector, or placing a radio in the garden. A barking dog is a good deterrent. You might also try sprinkling blood meal around your plants or hanging bars of soap from the branches. There are deer repellant sprays available at garden centers you might also try. The only absolute way to keep deer out of the garden is to fence the area. Wish I had more ideas to share with you!

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