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FAQ: Deer-Resistant Plants

We often are asked at Riverbend what plants are considered deer-resistant. While hungry deer will eat anything (there is no such thing as a deer-proof plant!), this is a list of typically deer-resistant perennials and shrubs. If you’re tired of deer eating your Hosta and Pansies (which they will devour every time), we suggest you give these a try! All are offered at Riverbend Nurseries.

(P)= perennial

(S)= shrub

(G)= groundcover

For a sunny garden (6+ hours of sun a day):

  • Coreopsis (P)

  • Nepeta: also known as Catmint (P)

  • Foxglove (P)

  • Salvia: any and all varieties- they stink to deer! (P)

  • Lamb’s Ear (P)

  • Lavender: which is also an organic ant deterrent. (P)

  • Peonies (S)

  • Veronica: also known as Speedwell (P)

  • Delphinium (P)

  • Butterfly Bush (S)

  • Winter creeper (G)

  • Also, ornamental grasses are usually not favored by deer AND grasses are really easy to care for, which makes them double-y awesome.

For a mostly shade garden (or morning sun with full afternoon shade):

  • Bleeding Heart (P)

  • Lenten Rose (P)

  • Columbine (P)

  • Athyrium Japanese Painted Fern: Deer will usually leave ferns alone (P)

  • Pieris Japonica (S)

  • Leatherleaf Mahonia (S)

  • Pachysandra (G)

Deer are a pretty sight here in Middle Tennessee, but they sure can make gardening difficult. We hope this list helps you plant beauties that deer won’t make their next meal…. here’s to gorgeous gardens despite deer who have the munchies!

What plants have you planted before that deer have stayed away from? Did any of these listed above not deter deer in your experience?

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