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22 Deer-Resistant Plants

Many of us have deer nibbling on certain plants (ahem... hydrangeas and hostas, we're talking about you!) at this time of the year. Would you like to plant plants that deer are not naturally attracted to? We're sharing 22 sun & shade plants that are good options for gardening beds that have wildlife nearby.


1. Begonias: there are so many varieties of begonias, including sun and shade varieties.

Zones: 8-11, grown as an annual in other zones (including ours)

Exposure: Full sun to shade, depending on variety

Bloom time: Late spring to early fall

Height/Spread: 6 to 12 inches tall, 1 to 2 feet wide

2. Dusty Miller: although can stay year-round in our area, especially if we have a mild winter, this annual's foliage is spectacular. It is an excellent filler in a container pot or as a border plant in an annual flower bed.

Zones: 7-10

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Height/Spread: Up to 2 feet tall & wide

3. Snapdragon: a beautiful, upright annual that blooms profusely spring thru early fall.

Zones: 9-10, grown as an annual in other zones (including ours).

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom time: Mid-spring to frost

Height/spread: 6 to 30 inches tall, 10 to 18 inches wide

4. Annual Verbena: a beautiful annual with clusters of dainty flowers, ranging in white, pink, red, and purple.

Zones: 8-11, grown as an annual elsewhere

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom time: May through October

Height/spread: Varies, from low-growing to upright.


5. Japanese Pachysandra: grown for its glossy green foliage and has small, dainty white flowers in early spring.

Zones: 4-9

Exposure: Partial to full shade

Bloom time: Early spring

Height/Spread: 3 to 4 inches tall, spreads 7 to 8 inches

6. Japanese Sedge: this grass-like plant makes a great groundcover for moist, shady areas.

Zones: 5-9

Exposure: Partial to full shade

Height: 12 to 24 inches tall

7. Monkey Grass: used often as a groundcover or as a border plant, this plant comes in many varieties of foliage, including green, blue-green, and variegated.

Zones: 4-10

Exposure: Partial to full sun

Height: 10-20 inches tall, 12-24 inches wide


8. Bee Balm: pollinators (but not deer!) love this perennial flower! It truly is one of the best perennials to attract pollinators to your garden.

Zones: 3-9

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Height/Spread: Varies, 1 to 4 feet tall, 8 inches to 3 feet wide

9. Jack Frost: grown mostly for its blue-green foliage and large heart-shaped leaves, this perennial also blooms dainty, small blue flowers in spring.

Zones: 3-8

Exposure: Partial to full shade

Bloom Time: Spring

Height/Spread: 1-2 feet tall and wide

10. Japanese Painted Fern: a perennial fern boasts beautiful blue-green foliage during the warm months of the year. Needs moist but well-draining soil.

Zones: 4-9

Exposure: Partial to full shade

Height/Spread: 1 to 3 feet tall, 1 to 2 feet wide

11. Lamb's Ear: fuzzy-feeling leaves that deer do not like, this perennial also features gorgeous grey-green foliage. It's a stunning addition to a garden.

Zones: 4-8

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Height/Spread: 8 to 15 inches tall depending on variety, 1 to 4 feet wide

12. Lenten Rose: this perennial blooms in winter thru spring, and they are evergreen. Wide range of colors.

Zones: 4-9

Exposure: Morning sun with afternoon shade to full shade locations

Bloom Time: Winter to mid-spring, depending on variety

Height/Spread: 12-15 inches tall and wide

13. Peony: loved for their beautiful, large blooms that bloom in mid-spring.

Zones: 2-8

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade, depending on variety

Bloom Time: mid to late spring, depending on variety

Height/Spread: 1 to 3 feet tall & wide

14. Russian Sage: in summer, beautiful, tiny purple flowers adorn this upright perennial. It makes quite a statement in a garden.

Zones: 5-9

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Early summer to fall

Height/Spread: Varies, 2 to 4 feet tall & wide


15. Boxwood: an evergreen shrub that is very handsome indeed! There are many varieties to choose from that range in size. They can be pruned into a hedge or can keep their natural shape.

Zones: 4-8

Exposure: Partial or dappled shade, protect from harsh mid-day sun

Height/Spread: Varies greatly, from 1 to 20 feet tall, 2 to 8 feet wide

16. Butterfly Bush: a deciduous shrub that pollinators are attracted to, especially (you guessed it!) butterflies and hummingbirds. It blooms long, gorgeous blooms in late spring thru summer and varies in size and color, depending on variety.

Zones: 5-9

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom Time: Late spring until frost

Height/Spread: Varies, 18 inches to 7 feet tall, 18 inches to 5 feet wide

17. Juniper: Junipers come in a wide variety of sizes. Some stay low to the ground and make an excellent groundcover, while others are more shrub-like and still others are tall enough to be privacy screens. The oil in their needles naturally repels deer.

Zones: 3-7

Exposure: Full sun

Height/Spread: Varies greatly, 6 inches to over 100 feet tall, 1 to 25 feet wide

18. Leatherleaf Mahonia: this evergreen shrub grows 5-10' tall. It has beautiful winter interest, where it boasts pretty, small yellow blooms followed by clusters of blue-colored berries that birds like to eat. They have pointy leaves and therefore deer stay away from them.

Zones: 7-9

Exposure: Part sun to shade

Bloom Time: Late winter

Height/Spread: 5-10 feet tall

19. Spirea: this deciduous shrub has pretty blooms on it in spring and/or summer, depending on variety. Many times their leaves are a lime-green color.

Zones: 3-8

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom time: There are spring- and summer-blooming varieties

Height/Spread: 1 to 8 feet tall, up to 6 feet wide


20. Chinese Dogwood: a very handsome, deciduous tree, the Kousa Dogwood is slightly different than the traditional Dogwood many of us are familiar with. It blooms about a month after the traditional Dogwood (Cornus florida) and in fall produces small fruit-like berries (they resemble raspberries) that birds enjoy.

Zones: 5-8

Exposure: Full sun to part sun

Bloom time: Late spring

Height/Spread: 20-30 feet tall by 15-20 feet wide

21. Kwanzan Cherry: this small tree boasts beautiful double-pink blooms in late early-mid spring. It is slightly different than its relative, the 'Yoshino' cherry. It makes a great focal point in a gardening bed.

Zones: 5-8

Exposure: Full sun to part sun

Bloom time: Early-mid spring

Height/Spread: 15-25 feet tall and wide

22. Tulip Poplar: Tennessee's state tree, the deciduous Tulip Poplar may grow to be 90-120 feet tall at maturity, making it an excellent shade tree on hot summer days. It boasts tulip-like flowers on it in late spring and has large 4-lobed leaves that have smooth margins. Has very pretty golden foliage in fall.

Zones: 4-9

Exposure: Full sun

Bloom time: Late spring/ early summer

Height/Spread: 90-120 feet tall by 30-40 feet wide at widest point

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