As much as we enjoy seeing a deer wander majestically through the woods, we don’t like it when the deer stops to nibble at our garden plants. There are some plant varieties, however, that deer will stay away from and resist.

An old adage says deer don’t like any plants with “fuzzy leaves, gray leaves or scented leaves,” according to Marie Ianottie, Gardening Expert for about.com.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac spells it out a little more clearly. Deer don’t like:

  • Poisonous plants. Daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies have toxic properties that deer avoid.
  • Fragrant plants with strong scents. Sage, ornamental salvia, lavender, peony and bearded irises are just “stinky” to deer.
  • Prickly plants such as lamb’s ear.

If deer are prevalent where you garden, avoid planting what they love: narrow-leaf evergreens, especially arborvitae and fir; as well as hostas, daylilies, and English ivy.

Of course, if deer are hungry enough, no plant will be truly deer-resistant. In times of drought or limited growth, gardeners will need to be especially vigilant.

Tonkadale Greenhouse offers several varieties of beautiful plants, herbs, flowers and ground covers that are resistant to deer. Please check with our staff if you have any questions about what’s best for your garden.

Deer-resistant perennials at Tonkadale Greenhouse: Dianthus (left) and shasta daisy.

Deer-resistant perennials at Tonkadale Greenhouse: Dianthus (left) and shasta daisy.

Deer-resistant perennials at Tonkadale Greenhouse

Common name

Botanical name

Monkshood Aconitum
Ornamental onion Allium
Blue star Amsonia
Wormwood Artemesia
Goat’s beard Aruncus
Butterfly flower or weed Asclepias
False spirea Astilbe
Wild blue indigo or blue indigo Baptisia
Pig squeak or heartleaf saxifraga Bergenia
Siberian bugloss or heartleaf alkanet Brunnera
Bachelor’s button Centaurea
Turtle head Chelone
Bugbane Cimicifuga
Lily of the valley Convallaria
Ticksweed or threadleaf ticksweed Coreopsis
Ice plant Delosperma
Larkspur: Blue Butterfly variety Delphinium
Larkspur: Summer Cloud Variety Delphinium
Larkspur: Summer Nights Variety Delphinium
Pinks Dianthus
Sweet William Dianthus barbatus
Old-fashioned bleeding heart Dicentra
Gas plant Dictamnus
Foxglove Digitalis
Leopard’s Bane Doronicum
Dragon’s head Dracocephalum
Coneflower Echinacea
Globe thistle Echinops
Sea holly Eryngium
Joe Pye weed Eupatorium
Spurge Euphorbia
Cusion spurge Euphorbia
Donky tail spurge Euphorbia
Fleece flower Fallopia
Interrupted fern Fern
Blanket flower Gaillardia
Cranesbill Geranium
Bloody cransbill Geranium
Grasses: all varieties Grass
Sneeze weed Helenium
Oxeye or false sunflower Heliopsis
Hardy hibiscus Hibiscus
Chameleon plant Houttuynia
Candy yuft Iberis
Varigated sweet iris Iris
German bearded iris Iris
Siberian iris Iris
Japanese iris Iris
Yellow flag iris Iris
Blue flag iris Iris
Shasta daisy Leucanthemum
Blazing star Liatris
Ragwort Ligularia
Lupine Lupinis
Bee balm Monarda
Catmint Nepeta
Creeping & tall phlox Phlox
Jacob’s ladder Polemonium
Self heal Prunella
Lungwort Pulmonaria
Pasque flower Pulsatilla
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia
Meadow sage Salvia
Lamb’s ear Stachys
Trillium wildflower Trillium
Elephant ears Colocasia and Alocasia

Ground covers

Snow on the mountain Aegopodium Variegatum
Bugleweed Ajuga
Dead nettle Lamium
Periwinkle Vinca Minor