What the Deer Don’t Eat

We had a lot of deer come through the Project Bloom gardens this season, and we learned the hard way what deer will and won’t eat. We are going to be focusing our seeds for the 2016 season on things the deer don’t eat. Plus we have to grow those great branching sunflowers again, even though the deer nibbled on them, the flowers were amazing all season long.

Here are a list of plants that the Deer did not eat:

Agastache, Alyssum (white and purple, and the basket of gold perennial variety), Balloon Flowers, basil, Coleus, Columbine, Coreopsis Threadleaf, Cosmos Sensation, Cosmos Bright Lights, Dainthus (pinks), Epimedium, Forsythia, Foxglove, Gallardia, Geraniums, Helianthus, Lavender, Marigolds, Morning Glories, Painted Daisies, parsley, annual and perennial Poppies, Pulmonaria, Rose of Sharon, Roses, Rosemary, Sedum Autumn Joy, Sedum Creeping, Snapdragons, Spirea shrub, Sweet William, Verbena, Zinnias.

Here is a list of plants that the Deer did eat:

Beets, Coneflowers, Coreopsis Lanceleaf, Daylilies, Hollyhocks, Hosta, Jerusalem Artichokes, Lettuce, Shasta Daisies, Solomons Seal, Squash, Sunflowers, Tomatos

Although written info says the deer don’t eat coneflowers, ours were nibbled a bit…


Other plants that are supposed to be safe from deer are generally aromatic, fluffy (with small leaves or cut foliage) and bluish.

Here’s a list of more deer-resistant plants from Susan K:

Perennials: Yarrow, chives, blue start anemone, wormwood, butterfly weed, astilbe, false indigo, bergeia, boltonia, butterfly bush, turtlehead, candytuft, tiger lily, bleeding heart, joe pye weed, mint, beebalm, evening primrose, oregano, ferns, ribbon greass, jacobs ladder, sage, soapwort, scilla, tansy, veronica, vinca and yucca.

Shrubs: barberry, forsythia, beautybush, lilac

Annuals: Ageratum, dusty miller, blue salvia, wax begonia, dahlia, hypoestis, lobelia, four o’clocks, forget me nots


You can read more in our other article on what plants discourage deer here. 

Project Bloom Visitors!

We have lots of people that come and visit the gardens for Project Bloom. We even have some non-human visitors! Here are some photos of deer, and turtles that enjoy our garden. The types of turtles are Red Eared Sliders and Box Turtles. While the deer are nice and cute to look at, they are doing some damage to the garden so we will have to implement ways to keep them away. 


Plants that discourage deer

Here in the northeast, there has recently been an overwhelming number of deer in spots. The victim of the mass quantity of deers is people’s gardens. Since there is a sparse food source for the deer due to overpopulation, they have to turn to alternative methods. Since a starving deer will eat almost anything, there is no designated “deer resistant” plant. However, deer can be picky eaters. Some favorite plants of deers include arborvitae, rhododendron, hosta, tulips and yews. So be weary of planting those if you have a deer issue. Here is a list of plants that deer find inedible:

  • Butterfly Bush
  • Catmint
  • Clump Bamboo
  • Daffodil
  • Dwarf Alberta Spruce
  • Fern
  • Fountain Grass
  • Ornamental Onion
  • Yucca

While there is deer repellant that is sold in stores, it can be pricey and has to be reapplied many times. This constant reapplication can lead to the repellant getting into ground water. If your deer debacle is minimal (about 1 to 3 deer), home remedies can be useful. You can collect human hair (either from a barbershop, salon, or your own house) and place a few handfuls in mesh bags and hang them in trees 2 to 3 feet off the ground.You can also hang heavily scented soap like Irish Spring in a bag from a tree.

If your problem is severe, the only remedy may be installing a fence. Keep in mind that starving deer can jump a 6-foot fence- you will have to get creative. Either install an 8-foot fence, a 6-foot fence angled out at 45 degrees, or two fences at least 3 feet tall and about 4 feet apart. Deer won’t be able to leap over both sets of fences.

Thank you to Jessica Damiano for the original information. You can read more here.

You can also read more here, in our other article on what plants deers will not eat.