Deer Resistant Shrubs: What to Plant in Your Garden

If you’re looking for plants that deer won’t eat, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we will discuss some of the best deer-resistant shrubs to plant in your garden.

Deer can be a huge problem for gardeners, but with these plants, you can keep them at bay. So read on for our list of the best deer-resistant shrubs.

How to Choose Deer Resistant Shrubs

When choosing plants for your garden, it is important to consider the deer population in your area. If you live in an area with a high deer population, you will need to choose deer-resistant plants.

There are a few things to look for when choosing deer-proof plants. Here are a few tips:

  • Look for plants that are high in tannins – Tannins are a bitter compound that deters deer from eating plants.
  • Choose plants with a strong scent – Deers have a very keen sense of smell, and they will avoid plants that have a strong scent.
  • Look for prickly or spiny plants – Deer will avoid plants that have sharp edges or spines.
  • Choose plants that are not on the deer’s preferred list of foods – Some plants are just more attractive to deer than others. You can find a list of these plants online.

With these tips in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best deer-resistant shrubs.

The Best Deer Resistant Shrubs

In this section, we will discuss some of the best deer-resistant shrubs. These plants are all great choices for gardens in areas with a high deer population.

1. Chinese juniper (Juniperus Chinensis)

This evergreen shrub is a great option for those looking for a deer-resistant plant. Chinese junipers are fast-growing, and can reach up to 15 feet in height. It is also tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, making it a versatile plant for the garden.

Deer tend to avoid eating Chinese junipers because of their strong scent. The plant’s berries are also poisonous to deer, so they will steer clear of this shrub.

2. Arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Arrowwood viburnum is a good choice for deer-resistant shrubs because the animals don’t like its taste. This viburnum grows in USDA hardiness zones four through eight, and reaches a mature height of six to eight feet.

It has dark green foliage that turns red in the fall, and it produces small, white flowers in the spring. Arrowwood viburnum is a good choice for hedges, screens, and foundation plantings.

3. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

This is a heat and drought-tolerant plant that features beautiful, small blue flowers. It grows to be about three to five feet tall and wide, making it a perfect addition to any garden.

Russian sage is also deer resistant, and can handle being eaten by them, so you don’t have to worry about your plants being destroyed. This shrub is a great option for anyone looking for something that is both beautiful and easy to care for.

4. Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

This shrub is perfect for gardeners who want to add a little color to their landscape. Bluebeard is a deciduous shrub that produces blue flowers in the summer and fall. It grows best in full sun, and well-drained soil.

Bluebeard is deer resistant, and tolerates drought conditions once it is established. This shrub can reach a height of six feet and a width of four feet.

5. Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain laurel is a beautiful evergreen shrub that blooms in late spring. It’s perfect for adding color and interest to your garden, and it’s also deer resistant.

Mountain laurels grow best in full sun or partial shade, and they prefer well-drained soil. This shrub can reach a height of 15 feet, so it’s perfect for adding privacy to your garden.

6. Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)

Bayberry is a native North American shrub that can reach up to six feet in height. The leaves are dark green and have a waxy texture, while the berries are small and blue-black in color.

This shrub is often used as an ornamental plant, but it also has deer-resistant qualities. When crushing the leaves, bayberry produces a strong, pungent scent that deer are not fond of. Bayberry is also known to be unpalatable to deer, so they will typically avoid eating it.

7. Daphne (Daphne odora)

This shrub is perfect for gardeners who are looking for a deer-resistant plant with fragrant flowers. Daphne produces small, pinkish-white flowers that have a strong scent.

The flowers are often used in potpourris and perfumes. This shrub grows best in full sun or partial shade, and prefers well-drained soil. It can reach a height of three feet, and a width of two feet.

8. Shrub Roses (Rosa spp.)

If you love roses but don’t want to share them with deer, try one of the many shrub roses that are available. These include old garden roses, modern shrub roses, and groundcover roses. All of which are tough plants that can take some abuse, and still produce beautiful flowers.

Most varieties of Rosa rugosa are very deer resistant. This is a large group of roses that includes Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’, Rosa rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’, and Rosa rubiginosa ‘Macrantha’.

9. Boxwood shrubs (Buxus spp.)

This evergreen shrub is a favorite for many gardeners because it is so versatile. Boxwoods can be planted as hedges, topiaries, or standalone bushes in any formal or informal garden.

They are also one of the few plants that deer will not eat. If you’re looking for a deer-resistant shrub that can add some greenery to your garden all year long, boxwoods are a great option.

10. Lilac (Syringa spp.)

Lilacs make an excellent addition to any garden, and their sweet fragrance is an added bonus. These shrubs are also quite deer resistant, thanks to their hairy leaves which deter browsing.

Lilacs come in a variety of colors, including purple, white, and pink, and they can grow to be quite large (up to 15 feet tall and wide). If you’re looking for a deer-resistant shrub that will add some color and fragrance to your garden, look no further than the lilac.

11. Dogwood (Cornus)

Dogwood shrubs are popular for their showy flowers, which bloom in spring or summer. They come in various colors, including white, pink, and red. Some dogwood shrubs also have variegated leaves.

Dogwoods grow best in full sun to partial shade, and in well-drained soil. Most varieties are deer resistant, but the flowers may be eaten by deer in some areas.

12. Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

The eastern red cedar is a slow-growing evergreen that can reach up to 40 feet tall. It has needle-like leaves, and produces blueberries.

This shrub is deer resistant, and can be used as a privacy hedge or as a windbreak. If you live in a deer-prone area, this is a good shrub to plant, and can be found at most garden centers.

13. Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain laurels are an evergreen shrub that’s native to the southeastern United States. It grows best in full sun or partial shade, and prefers moist, well-drained soil. Mountain laurel blooms in spring with pink, white, or purple flowers.

The foliage is toxic to deer, so they’ll avoid eating it. Mountain laurel is a good choice for hedges, privacy screens, or foundation plantings.

14. Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

This shrub is commonly known as lily-of-the-valley bush, and it’s easy to see why. It has small, bell-shaped white flowers that bloom in spring, making it a beautiful addition to any garden.

Andromeda is a deer-resistant shrub that can grow up to six feet tall, and four feet wide. This shrub is native to Japan, and prefers full sun to partial shade.

15. Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)

This shrub gets its name from the butterflies that are attracted to its blooms. It’s a tough plant that can tolerate deer, drought, and poor soils.

It grows quickly, and can reach up to 15 feet tall and wide. Butterfly bush comes in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, blue, and white. These shrubs are deer resistant, and can add color and interest to your garden.

These are just a few of the many deer-resistant shrubs that you can plant in your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do deer-resistant plants work?

Yes, deer-resistant plants can be effective in deterring deer from your garden. However, it’s important to remember that no plant is completely deer-proof.

Does early spring or late fall planting work better?

It’s best to plant deer-resistant shrubs in the spring or fall. This gives them time to establish themselves before the deer begin feeding in earnest. In early summer, you can apply a deer repellent to your plants to help deter deer.

Why do deer hate certain smells?

Deer have a keen sense of smell, and are often deterred by strong scents. Many deer-resistant plants, such as lavender and mint, have strong fragrances that keep deer away.

Do I need a deer resistant plant list?

No, you don’t need a deer-resistant plant list. However, it can be helpful to consult one when planning your garden. This will help you choose plants that are less likely to be eaten by deer.

Do shade plants work?

Yes, shade plants can be effective in deterring deer. Deer typically avoid areas that are shady and cool. This is why many deer-resistant plants, such as hostas and ferns, do well in shady areas.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. These are just a few of the many deer-resistant shrubs that you can plant in your garden. With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect plants for your space and keep those pesky deer away.