The Q&A Archives: Flowers Deer Avoid

Question: We have a summer house located in zone 5 in upstate NY, and have several areas that would be great for naturalizing perennials and bulbs. What plants would be good for this location, and would be somewhat deer/rabbit resistant? Do any of the repellent sprays really work?

Answer: Deer are crafty, and if they're hungry, persistent. This is to say, take all "deer resistant" recommendations with a grain of salt. That said, here are some choices that would work where you live: astilbe, bee balm, bleeding heart, columbine, coreopsis, crocosmia, crocus, daffodil, dahlia, foxglove, gloriosa daisy, hellebore, lupine, moss pink, pincushion flower, poppy, purple coneflower, and thyme.

Many gardeners use repellent sprays with varying success. Rain will wash them off, meaning reapplication is necessary. Soap and some organic fertilizers are also recommended from time to time. The only guaranteed solution is a fence -- one tall enough that deer can't jump, and buried deep enough so rabbits can't burrow under it.

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