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Deer Resistant Plants

Don't let your flowers become lunch

When necessary, white-tailed deer will eat most vegetation, especially in harsh winter climates. However, some plants are naturally less tasty to deer, providing a level of insurance against your garden and landscape ending up as a meal. While deer notoriously favor beauties like hostas, tulips, and azaleas, there are plenty of viable options to keep your garden thriving alongside wildlife visitors.


Perennial plants are low maintenance compared to short-lived annuals. In early spring, daffodils provide vibrant color and deter deer with an unpleasant flavor that upsets their stomachs. Peonies are shunned by deer when they bloom from late spring to early summer, providing delicate color for any garden. Into late summer, lavender serves as a haven for pollinators and is safe from deer due to its strong fragrance.


Lily of the valley provides very fragrant white blooms from spring into early summer. Tolerant of shade and poisonous to deer (and domestic animals), this plant will spread over multiple seasons if given space. For sunny spaces, Prostrate Speedwell provides blue blossoms and thrives in rock gardens. For native green groundcover, consider the shade-tolerant Allegheny spurge.

Shrubbery and Bushes

The evergreen boxwood is not only deer resistant, but it weathers winters nicely with hardy leaves. For something with a bit more color, consider sage, which features purple blossoms and deters deer with its fragrance and soft leaves. Barberry is an easily maintained ornamental shrub deer avoid—but be sure to watch for thorns.