Plants that Deer USUALLY Won’t Eat


Download the PDF version

For added diversity in plant choices, select more than one species or variety from each genus. For example, yarrows have 12-20 varieties to choose from!

Note: * means that they will eat this plant if starving, but tend to stay away from it under normal conditions OR many lists and books continuously state these plants are deer resistant and I haven’t had personal experience with them.


Calendula – Pot Marigold
Calla Calla Lily (tender bulb)
Cleome – Spider Flower
*Delphinium ajacis Larkspur
Datura, Brugmansia – Angel’s Trumpet Poisonous
Ipomoea – Morning Glory
*Nicotiana – Flowering Tobacco
Osteospermum – African Daisy
Papaver somniferum Breadseed – Poppy Contains a bitter sap
Ricinus – Castor Bean
Salvia Tender perennial salvia such as S. guarantica, S. leucantha, S. ‘Indigo Spires’, S. uliguinosa, S. splendens ‘Van Houttei’, S. coccinea
Tagetes Marigold – including Signet types


Colchicum – Autumn Crocus
Frittilaria spp.
Galanthus – Snowdrops
Leucojum – Summer Snowflake
Narcissus – Daffodils


Ornamental Grasses

Perennials and Biennials

Achillea Yarrow – Aromatic repellant
Aconitum spp. – Monkshood Poisonous
*Alchemilla mollis – Lady’s Mantle
Allium ornamental spp. Allium ‘Mt. Sinai’, ‘Ozowa’, A. senescens
Anthemis tinctoria – Perennial marguerite
*Aquilegia – Columbine
Artemesia spp.
*Centranthus ruber – Jupiter’s Beard, Red Valerian
Cerastium tomentosum – Snow in Summer Silvery hairy leaves
Convallaria majalis – Lily of the Valley
*Delphinium – Delphinium
Dicentra spp. (old fashioned and dwarf) – Bleeding Heart Poisonous
Digitalis spp. Foxgloves (perennial and biennial forms) Poisonous
Euphorbia spp. and var. Euphobia, spurge Contain bitter sap
Geranium macrorhizum Cranesbill geraniums (will not eat most cranesbills, this variety is exceptionally aromatic)
Helleborus spp. – Christmas, lenten rose, etc. Poisonous
*Hypericum calcynum – St. Johnswort ground cover
*Iris germanica – German Iris
*Kniphofia – Red Hot Poker
Lamium spp. – Dead Nettles
Lupinus – Lupine
Lychnis coronaria – Rose campion Fuzzy foliage
*Myosotis – Forget-me-not
Nepeta mussini, siberica, and other spp.-  Catmint Aromatic repellant
Origanum spp. Ornamental oreganos: O. ‘Herrenhausen’, O. ‘Hopley’s’
Golden marjoram
Papaver orientale – Oriental Poppy Contains a bitter sap
*Paeonia – Peony
Perovskia – Russian Sage
Persicaria amplexicaulis – ‘Firetail’ Smartweed
Ranunculus – Buttercup and related plants such as Trollius (Globeflower)
Rumex sanguineus var. sanguineus Ornamental Dock
Salvia spp. – Ornamental sages (May Knight, Purple Rain, etc.)

Aromatic repellant

Stachys lanata – Lamb’s Ears Fuzzy foliage
Tanacetum spp. – Feverfew, Tansy
*Veronica incana-  Veronica Silver foliage, fuzzy
Vinca minor (incl. varieg. forms) – Myrtle Poisonous

Herbs These are herbs used for ornamental value

A = Annual P= Perennial B = Biennial

Agastache – Anise Hyssop (A or P)
Alliums –  Chives, garlic chives (P)
Artemesia spp. (P)
Borago – Borage (A)
Foeniculum – Fennel (incl. Bronze Fennel) (P)
Galium odoratum Woodruff (P)
Hyssopus – Hyssop (P)
Lavendula – Lavender Aromatic repellant P
Ocimum basilicum – Basil (incl. purple leaf types-very ornamental) (A)
Origanum – Oregano and marjoram (incl golden forms, ornamental varieties) (P)
Perilla frutescens – Beefsteak plant (A)
Petrosolinum – Parsley (B)
Pycnanthemum – Mountain Mint (P)
Ruta graveolens –  Rue (P)
Salvia – Sages Aromatic repellant (P)
Santolina – Aromatic repellant (P)
Symphytum Comfrey (incl. variegated types) (P)
Tanacetum vulgare ‘Crispum’ – Curly tansy Aromatic repellant (P)
Teucrium spp. Germander (P)
Tulbaghia violacea – Society Garlic (A)
Thymus – Thyme Aromatic Repellant when walked on (P)
Valeriana – Valerian (P)

Trees and Shrubs

*Albrizia – Mimosa Tree
Buddleia – Butterfly Bush
Buxus spp. and var. Boxwood Aromatic repellant
*Calluna – Heather
Caryopteris – Blue Mist Shrub
*Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ – Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
*Cytisus – Scots Broom
Daphne spp.
Enkianthus Redvein Enkianthus
*Erica – Heath
*Hypericum – St. Johnswort
*Juniperus – Junipers Aromatic, low growing types are repellant
*Kalmia – Mt. Laurel
Leucothoe spp. and var.
Myrica pennsylvanica – Bayberry
Picea Spruce (incl. tall trees and dwarf forms such as
Birdsnest Spruce, Alberta Spruce and Dwarf Blue Spruce)
*Pieris Andromeda
Rosa rugosa Beach rose (other roses are delicious to deer-see list on Deer-proofing your Yard)
Spiraea spp. Spirea (incl. spring and summer blooming forms)
Viburnum spp.
Vitex agnus-caste Chaste tree
Yucca filamentosa Yucca