Living amongst nature can be wonderful – peace, tranquility and wildlife – but it also has its drawbacks.
Wild animals, like deer, can be destructive to your garden. They can ruin flower beds and disrupt your vegetable patches, and cause damage that is hard to repair.
A great way to prevent deer from visiting your garden is to plant deer-resistant perennial flowers.
Not only will they make your garden look great, they will also repel deer and other wild animals to protect your garden. We have put together this list of the best deer-resistant perennials that you should consider planting in your garden.
How Do You Know If Deer Are Visiting Your Garden?
You might not see deer in your garden, but you will know if they have paid you a visit. Certain flowers will be beheaded (tulips, roses, dogwood) and some of your vegetables will be eaten. You will also see a lot of trampling, and any fruit and nut trees will be picked bare.
Once your garden has been visited by deer, they will return again and again. They have great memories, and will also spread the knowledge of where to get food to other deer so more and more will come.
You should always make sure that you give your garden a good clear out in the fall. If there is no debris or leftover vegetation for them to eat they are less likely to stick around.
Install some tall fences – they need to be at least 7 feet high as deer are good jumpers. You can also get some motion sensor sprinklers as this will put the deer off.
You can deer repellent pellets and other products, or you can use DIY methods. Blood meal in the soil works really well, as the deer hate it.
You will also need to plan ahead and plant deer-resistant plants for the next season to make sure that you repel your unwanted guests in the spring.
The Best Deer-Resistant Perennial Flowers
Deer are notorious for giving anything a try, but there are certain plants that they will tend to avoid. Here are the best deer resistant perennial plants that you should consider planting in your garden.
1. Glory Of The Snow
This beautiful blue flower is one of the first to bloom in the early spring. It thrives in full sun or partial shade and is self-seeding, so year on year there will be more and more flowers.
Not only do these flowers repel deer and rodents, they are also resistant to a lot of different types of disease. They are native to Turkey but can be grown in lots of different countries.
2. Red Hot Poker
Red hot pokers are hardy plants that thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil. They have a very distinctive appearance, with long stalks and colorful flowers. They have bright red, orange and yellow flowers.
They bloom from mid to late summer and each individual flower can last up to 18 days and each plant will flower more than once. Make sure you cut them back at the start of spring, or during the fall if you live in a colder climate.
Milkweed will not only deter deer, it will attract pollinators like butterflies and birds, which is why it is also called butterfly weed. The stalks grow up to 4 feet tall and have beautiful flowers on the top.
The flowers come in various colors – yellow, orange and pink. The flowers are very pretty and have a beautifully sweet scent.
These plants will live for several years if you look after them properly. It grows best in a moist environment, but the soil should be well-drained.
4. Siberian Squill
This delicate flower blooms in early spring and tends to thrive around the base of trees and bushes. They are quite versatile and can grow in full sun, partial sun or in the shade, and you can plant them in grassy areas as well as near shrubs.
The beautiful vibrant color will create an enchanting effect in your garden but will also repel rats and deer. You can let them self-seed and spread across the garden, or you can deadhead them once they have finished blooming.
Echinacea, also called the coneflower, is part of the daisy family. Deer don’t like them, but birds and bees do. It has a long history of being used in medicine and has strong floral notes.
They tend to grow best in dry or moist prairies and open woodland. In your garden, they can grow in full sun or partial shade. You can plant them in any type of soil but for best results use well-drained soil that is slightly acidic.
The flowers are purple and pink and will bloom throughout the summer.
6. Globe Thistle
Globe thistles are a great addition to your garden if you want to attract butterflies. They have spiky leaves which tends to deter the deer, as well as rabbits.
They will spread quickly across the garden, so make sure that you deadhead them if you want to control it.
The blue and white flowers grow in a spherical shape on top of the stalk, and the plant tends to grow between 2 and 5 feet tall. These plants are resistant to drought and grow really well in rock gardens. They grow the best in full sun.
Hyacinth has a beautiful fragrance to humans, but deer find the odor unpleasant and will avoid the plant. Hyacinth also contains a poisonous biochemical that will deter deer.
The stems can grow quite long but you won’t need to stake them if you plant the bulbs in groups of 7 to 9, leaving about 6 to 8 inches between each one.
Hyacinths will bloom for more than one season, but the second bloom isn’t as spectacular so many gardeners treat them as annuals.
Gaillardia, also known as blanket flower, is native to North and South America. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy for ideal results, but the plant is actually quite drought resistant and prefers well-drained soil.
They also prefer low-nutrient soil, so you don’t need to use any fertilizer. Blanket flowers like sunny conditions, and would work really well as a border plant. Whilst this plant is a perennial, it tends to only survive for two years.
Despite being called a daylily, this plant isn’t actually a type of lily. They tend to bloom from early May for about 5 to 6 weeks, but each flower only lives for a few days.
There are so many flowers that you won’t notice. You can grow these plants in a range of conditions including full sun and partial shade.
They are also quite drought resistant, and they can grow up to heights of 5 feet tall. The flowers are trumpet shaped, just like lilies.
10. Dwarf Iris
The Dwarf Iris is a small perennial plant that grows up to 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide. It is a cobalt flower with yellow and white detail, and makes a stunning yet delicate addition to any garden.
Not only is it a deer resistant plant, it is also drought resistant so you won’t need to worry too much about watering. It also naturalizes over time, so you will have more and more iris flowers each spring.
Lupin is a plant that blooms in late spring or early summer, depending on the climate. The stalks grow up to about 4 feet tall, and have a spike of small flowers which can range in color from blue, pink, white, red, and purple.
You should plant them in areas with full sun in a rich soil. The soil should be kept moist, and the flowers will naturalize over time.
In the fall, make sure you cut them right back to the ground so they can grow back next year. If you live in a hot climate, you might need to treat these plants as annuals instead of perennials.
Sedum is actually a type of succulent, also known as stonecrop. There are different varieties of sedum with different shapes and sizes. Most of them grow low to the ground and tend to spread quite wide, giving you good coverage for deterring deer.
These plants are very durable and are actually drought resistant. They love being in full sunlight and will thrive in rock gardens or sandy soil with good drainage. They bloom later in the season, which helps to sustain the bees in your garden.
13. Spring Starflower
The spring starflower is a pretty little perennial plant, not to be confused with the annual plant of the same name (starflower/borage). The flowers can range in color from blue to white to pink.
When the leaves are crushed they release a garlicky scent which many animals find unpleasant. They are very similar to daffodils and repel deer, rabbits and squirrels.
14. Asian Bleeding Heart Flower
This flowering plant is in the same family as the poppy. It is native to Siberia, Northern China, Japan and Korea. These plants prefer well drained soil that is rich in nutrients.
They start blooming in late spring with heart shaped flowers in shades of pink and red. The flowers dangle from delicate stems that have a graceful arch. It grows well in shaded areas, giving your garden some nice variety.
All parts of the plant are toxic, so you need to be careful where you plant it if you have small children or pets. However, this does help to deter the deer.
Grecian Windflowers can grow in full sun or in sun-dappled areas. They look lovely planted around the base of a tree or in a woodland garden. They are ideal for repelling deer, and will grow up to 10 inches tall and 6 inches wide.
Plant them in the fall and give them a good watering, then wait for them to bloom in the spring. They will keep coming back year after year and will multiply, creating a stunning effect in your garden.
Monkshood has many names – including leopard’s bane. Wolf’s-bane, devil’s helmet and queen of poison. It is a stunning plant that grows upright – it can grow up to 4 feet. The hood shaped flowers come in blue, purple, white and pink.
It is a deadly poisonous plant when ingested, which is why it will deter many animals from your garden. Monkshood prefers cooler climates, in moist yet well-drained soil.
These perennial plants tend to be found in meadows and woodlands and thrive in high altitudes. They have spurred petals and come in various colors including peach and orange as well as different shades of blue.
Their leaves are pale green and the stems grow up to 3 feet tall. These plants are best in full sun and rich soil. They will return every spring, but you need to deadhead them to keep the plant in good condition.
This big, bushy plant is native to a lot of places – Europe, Asia, and North America. It is also called bride’s feathers or buck’s beard. In the wild it grows in a range of habitats including ravines, forests, streambanks, and rocky ledges.
In your garden, you should plant goatsbeard in a partially shaded spot, in soil that is moist and fertile. The clusters of cream colored feathery flowers grow on branched spikes that reach 6 feet tall and bloom from May through to July.
19. Oriental Poppy
Oriental poppies are a recognizable flower that is native to Turkey and Iran. The foliage is spiky which contrasts with the paper-thin, delicate petals. The flowers come in different colors including red, orange, pink and white.
The flowers bloom in the spring and grow best in full sun. They also prefer rich soil, and should be watered once a week during the blooming season. During the winter they should be allowed to get a little drier, or the roots could rot.
Peonies are a popular and beautiful flower that repel deer due to their strong scent. They have many layers of petals which creates an extravagant and showy flower that comes in many different colors – pink, white, red, yellow, and coral shades.
They grow really well in sunny spots in well-drained soil. They are quite hardy, but they are susceptible to one type of disease – bytrotis – which discolors the leaves.
Lavender is a very versatile and durable plant that will bloom all year round in certain climates. In other climates it will bloom from spring through to summer.
It is in the same family as mint, and naturally grows in many places of the world – Europe, Africa, Asia, India and the mediterranean. They can grow up to 3 feet tall, and deer don’t like their fragrant scent.
Catnip has many names – catswort, catmint, and nepeta cataria. Cats love this plant, and it is used by cat owners to encourage certain behaviors. It is also hated by deer, so it will help to keep them out of your garden.
It blooms from early spring all the way through to the fall, and has flowers in various shades of pink and purple. It makes a great border plant, an addition to a herb garden, or would thrive in a rock garden. It can grow in full sun or partial shade.
There are lots of different ways to keep deer out of your garden. Deer resistant plants are a great way to protect your garden and create a variety of colors and textures.