You may enjoy the sight of their pert white tails and the life they bring to your yard, but you probably don’t appreciate deer munching on your rhododendrons. If you find yourself in a battle for greenery every year, it may be time to reconsider the types of plantings in your yard. There are some trees, shrubs and flowers that just scream, “Dinner!” to a hungry deer, and others that will look more like broccoli does to a toddler.
If you want to protect your yard from dining deer, try planting one of these landscape beauties instead.
This bearer of fluffy blue-lavender flowers can grow up to three feet tall, and can serve as a good border plant, while shorter varieties make ideal ground cover. The leaves have a slightly toothy angular shape and the flowers grow in clusters that will brighten up any landscape.
Deer aren’t fans, but butterflies are, so if you’re looking for something that attracts a less destructive wildlife, this wildflower is a good choice. Be careful though, because without care, this plant can spread quickly and take over its space.
2. Hummingbird Mint
The bright purples and deep pinks of this stately plant attracts butterflies and hummingbirds alike, and both will feast delicately without destroying your garden. Deer won’t be interested, and neither will rabbits.
This sun-lover can also thrive in a container, making it the perfect choice for porches, patios and even garden edges. As an added bonus, it makes for a great dried flower for your indoor bouquets – just cut a few stems and enjoy the rich colors inside and out.
3. Blue Fescue
This ornamental grass is beloved for bringing winter interest to a landscape, but will certainly not interest deer during any season. It’s perfect for garden borders and for creating transitions wherever planting beds need cohesion.
It’s easy to care for, can survive dry summers and even thrive in containers. Plant this grass in full sun to appreciate the full effects of its icy blue blades.
4. Butterfly Bush
This popular garden favorite does exactly what it sounds like – attracts butterflies. But the good news is that deer will steer clear of the colorful flowers, which can bloom in purple, yellow, red, pink or white.
It’s a fast-growing shrub that will brighten your landscape in no time, and not only attract butterflies, but hummingbirds, too. You’ll get color, texture, wildlife and a delightful fragrance that will fill your garden at the same time that it turns off deer. Add in its ease of planting and maintenance and this one’s a keeper!
Easy care, low maintenance, resistant to deer and beautifully striking – the trumpet-like blooms of this stately plant are a visual beauty that make for elegant borders or additions to a shade garden.
It attracts hummingbirds and the cut flowers make an excellent indoor centerpiece. But do be mindful if you have outdoor pets, because this elegant plant can be deadly if ingested.
6. Fountain Grass
Another garden favorite, this ornamental grass boasts coppery, bottlebrush blooms in summer and striking foliage during winter. It can tolerate hot, dry summers and will work well in containers. Its dense clumps of cascading stems give it a fountain-like appearance that works well as ground cover, along borders or as a graceful accent alongside other perennials.
This grass is also prized for its beauty as a dried flower and will bring color, texture and motion to your garden as the slightest breeze whispers through its foliage.
This year-long beauty has almost as many names as it does colors. Also known as a Lenten Rose or a Christmas Rose, the Hellebore blooms in most colors under the rainbow – bright yellows, deep purples, rich reds and many multicolored varieties.
They are one of spring’s earliest blooms and their leaves are evergreen year-round. Not only are they gorgeous but they’re easy to grow, and deer and rabbits will steer clear. Their brilliant blooms make excellent cut flowers, too. Float a few of these uniquely colored blossoms in a bowl of water for a truly magnificent centerpiece.
Few garden beauties are as versatile as the Coneflower. It’s heat-tolerant, deer- and pest-resistant, attracts butterflies and birds, blooms prolifically, makes an excellent cut flower, draws bees to pollinate your garden, is sturdy enough to stand upright without staking and is perfect as either the centerpiece of your garden or as a superb backdrop.
Flowers typically blossom in purple to pink hues and will bloom from midsummer right through fall. If you cut it back after the blooms begin to fade, you’re likely to be rewarded with a new set of blooms that will last until first frost. This is one addition that no yard should be without.
9. Russian Sage
Tall, airy and finely textured, this hardy plant is both deer- and pest-resistant. It’s a prolific bloomer that’s also an excellent choice for Jersey shore residents due to its salt-tolerant nature.
It makes a great companion to the Butterfly Bush and Coneflower and works well as either a focal point or a backdrop. Bring its purple blooms indoors if you want a delightful cut flower bouquet.
Commonly called Sweet Williams, Carnations or Pinks, there are actually over 300 species of Dianthus! Most are pink, red or white flowers that are ideally suited to rock gardens.
In addition to being deer resistant, these spring and summer blooms have evergreen leaves and attract butterflies with their soft, sweet fragrance. These classics can grow in sandy soil and make for lovely cut bouquets, too.
11. Bleeding Heart
Named for its dangling heart-shaped flowers, this perennial transforms any landscape with its golden-green foliage and delicate pink blooms. It’s a perfect shade plant, especially in those damp, hard-to-plant nooks where nothing else seems to thrive.
Growing them is easy, and they lend themselves nicely to indoor bouquets as well.
The name does no justice to the silvery, lacy foliage of this excellent border plant. For the trivia buffs, the leaves of this plant contain the chemical absinthe, which was used in the infamous alcoholic beverage by the same name.
It’s adaptable, hardy, sun-loving and sweet-smelling. It is also a natural deterrent to many garden pests including ants, slugs, snails and even mice. A word of caution, though: Wormwood doesn’t play nicely with other plants and can inhibit their growth, especially herbs like sage, fennel and anise.
To make this plant work best, add it into your garden with well-established ornamentals.
Whether you have deer or rabbits gnawing at your foliage, or just want to add some garden favorites to the mix, each of these plants has its own unique qualities to enjoy. And there are many more where these came from, depending on whether you’re looking for ground cover or border plants, spring bloomers or fall delights, winter evergreens or fragrant blossoms. If you’d like to talk about what plants will work best to transform your outdoor space into one that will thrive and delight you all year long, let us know.