Protect your garden, plant deer-resistant

Combatting deer damage in your garden can be a challenge. Although barriers are the most effective solution, they are not always suitable due to cost or appearance. It is best to take an integrated approach since deer feeding behavior can vary greatly depending on geography, regional preferences, time of year, hunger levels, availability of preferred foods, and population and habitat pressures.

To find what works best for you, try using a combination of temporary and permanent physical barriers, motion-activated devices, various repellents, and plants that deer are less likely to eat.

Keep in mind that what works best in your yard may be different from other locations, so finding a “deer-proof” plant is less an exact science and more of a trial-and-error guessing game. While truly deer-proof plants are hard to identify, there are a number of plants that have been determined to be deer resistant.

Deer-Resistant Shrubs

  • Banana shrub
  • Bird of paradise
  • Bottlebrush
  • Camellia
  • Carissa
  • Chinese holly
  • Croton
  • Gardenia
  • Ixora
  • Japanese boxwood
  • Juniper
  • Lantana
  • Mahonia
  • Myrtleleaf holly
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Plumbago
  • Sweet/tea olive
  • Viburnum
  • Wax myrtle

Deer-Resistant Annuals, Perennials, and Bulbs

  • Aloe
  • Angels trumpet
  • Blackeyed Susan
  • Bush daisy
  • Century plant
  • Coneflower
  • Crown of thorns
  • Ginger lily
  • Lily of the Nile (agapanthus)
  • Lupine
  • Marigolds
  • Peace lily
  • Periwinkle
  • Petunia
  • Sage
  • Shasta daisy
  • Turk’s cap
  • Verbena
  • Yucca

For a more comprehensive list, see the UF/IFAS publication, Ornamental Plant Susceptibility to Damage by Deer in Florida.

As with any gardening question, your county Extension office is can often help answer questions related to your specific area. Hopefully, with some thoughtful plantings, you can have a landscape that allows you to admire any deer that pass through without fearing the damage they may cause.

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