Deer Resistant Plants

Deer proof perennial ground cover: Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens) and Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens), Bugleweed, Catnip plants (Nepeta cataria) , Creeping myrtle, or periwinkle vinca vines (Vinca minor). Creeping thyme plants, such as woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus), Deadnettle (Lamium galeobdolon), Liriope or "lilyturf" (Liriope spicata), Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Deer resistant hedges:  Anything with prickles, American Holly is very deer resistant, Chinese holly, English holly, inkberry and winterberry will sometimes have a little deer damage

Deer-resistant plants include certain marigolds, daffodils, peonies, yarrow, bleeding hearts, many hellebores, English lavender, weigela, Japanese painted ferns, and ornamental grasses.  Members of the amaryllis family area a good long-term choice,  particularly daffodils, snowdrops and snowflakes,

Annuals: castor bean plant, floss flower, licorice plant, signet marigold.

Bulbs: Allium, allium giganteum, Blue flowers (Scilla siberica), Crocus, daffodils, Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa), Grape Hyacinth, Fritilaria, Hyacinth, Lily-of-the-Valley, Netted Iris (Iris reticulata), Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), summer snowflake.  Members of the amaryllis family are the best long-term choice for predator control, particularly daffodils, snowdrops and snowflakes,

Perennials: artemisia, bellflower, black-eyed susan, bleeding heart, fringed bleeding heart,  barrenwort, catmint columbine, crocus, daffodil, fern, foxglove, geranium, hellebore, hyacinth,  hyssop, Iris, lady’s mantle, lamb’s ears, lady's mantle, lavender, liatris, longspur,  lupines, naked lady, peony, russian sage, tulip, or wild tulip, yarrow, Artemisia, Bellflower (campanula), 

Shrubs: groundsel, boxwoods, russian cypress, bush cinquefoil, weigela.

Grasses: Blue Fescue, Golden Hakone Grass, Lilyturf (Liriope spicata), Miscanthus sinensis Gracillimus , Purple fountain (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'),  zebra grass ( Miscanthus Sinensis 'Zebrinus)

Below is a list of resources by state on the internet.  Some links may no longer be active but the information might be found by typing the title into a search engine.

California More California Information

Deer-Resistant Plants for the Sierra Foothills (Zone 7), Compiled by Cooperative Extension 

A Gardener's Guide to Preventing Deer Damage, California Department of Fish and Game 

Master Gardener, U.C. Davis


Coping with Deer Damage in Florida,  University of Florida

Georgia More Georgia Information

Deer Tolerant Ornamental Plants  The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service 

Deer Resistant Plants for Georgia Gardenality

Illinois  Deer Resistant Plants

Michigan More Michigan Information

Deer Resistant Plants for Homeowners [PDF] from MSU

Minnesota  Protecting plants from deer December, 2018 Minnesota, 

... The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) have supported research on practical tips for keeping deer away from plants... Information on deer-micro exclosures and repellant ... 


Deer Resistant Plants for the Landscape, Missouri Department of Conservation


Deer-resistant Ornamental Plants for Your Garden, Montana State 

New Mexico

Coping With Deer in Suburban Gardens. College of Agriculture and. Home Economics. 

North Carolina

Deer Resistant Plants,  North Carolina State University

Ohio More Ohio Information

The Ohio Division of Wildlife's "Deer Damage Control" gives a list of plants by deer tolerance and also describes a variety of repellent and fencing options.

Oklahoma  Ornamental and Garden Plants: Controlling Deer Damage, OSU


Central Oregon Deer Resistant Plants and Deer Managment, OSU

Rhode Island , 

Reducing Deer Damanage to Your Garden and Yard, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

Texas  Deer Resistant Plants for Texas

Deer Resistant Species, University of Texas at Austin


Deer Resistant Perennials, University of Vermont Extension System


Deer Resistant Plants,  Washington State University Extension

Deer Repellents

Also see Deer Fence

Deer repellents, such as liquid scents, perfumes, and even human hair, may work well for a period of time, but deer may become accustomed to these scents over time. Change scents weekly to maintain these repellents’ effectiveness. Direct spraying of plants with capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers “hot”, works well, but must be performed frequently, -- rain and dew will wash it away. Soak ground hot pepper in water overnight then spray on the plants.  

Deer Repellent, home brew:  Five parts water, one part milk, for flower and vegetable gardens. Mix well, it is distasteful to deer.

     Another home brew:  Mix 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons cooking oil and 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in a blender. Add a quart of water and store in a spray bottle.  Repeat after a heavy rain or once a week.

     Another:  Slice bars of Irish Spring soap and hang the slices on a four foot garden stake every 50 feet.  This has been successfully used for small farms (8 acres).deer, apply onto the plants, the mixture dries clear.  Bar soap is often used as a deer repellent. Hang bars of soap in your trees or place them on stakes throughout your property.  Many say that Irish Spring soap works the best.

Commercial repllents: Shake-away and  Liquid Fence have gotten some good endorsements. Deer Away and Ropel are said to be effective, but should be applied to new growth. Also, developed in Sweden and getting good reviews... simply using a surfactant with a deer repellent like Liquid Fence or Bobbex allows the repelling qualities to adhere to the plant thoroughly, giving better and longer control... Use a non-ionic spreader sticker, such as one produced by Hi-Yield.  Deer Off® Deer Repellent is a new scent-based deer repellent from Havahart®.

Predator Guard Electronic Deer Deterrent Protects Gardens from Nightly Destruction  January 15, 2014 SBWire 

... Deer are creatures of habit - once they identify a food source, they will keep coming back unless deterred... The Predator Guard protection system creates this disruption by artificially mimicking the eyes of another predator. The flashing, high-intensity red LED lights create a simple element of the unknown. This is all it takes to protect one’s gardens ...  charges via a solar panel during the day ...

Electrode design for deer repellent device January, 2013 KM Betzen - US Patent 20,130,008,390, 2013

An improved electrode design is provided for a baited, shock-producing, deer repellent device deployed in an area to be protected. This device has straight, parallel, positive and negative, un-insulated metal electrodes extending vertically from the top. The electrodes are spaced and sized so that they surround and protect the bait. This electrode design increases the chance that a deer will make effective contact with the electrodes while also allowing easy access to the bait for servicing. This electrode design also decreases the chances of the device collecting ice or snow, and it decreases the chance of discharge of the device by moisture or by contact between the electrodes.

Can Milorganite Repel Deer From Food Plots? May 20, 2012, Quality Deer Management, Odin Stephens

... Milorganite is a slow-release, organic fertilizer produced from human sewage ... we concluded that Milorganite is an effective temporary deer repellent for use in food plots. Though the repellent does not eliminate deer damage, and though its effectiveness dissipates with time ...

Some of the links below may be inactive, but the full story can often be found by typing the title into a search engine.

Want to keep the deer out of your garden? Here's what works. August 14, 2017 Washington Post

... Deer repellent sprays such as Liquid Fence, Bobbex, and Repels-All are popular and effective. Spray repellents should be reapplied every two-to-three weeks ... “Deer Off repellent stations by Havahart, unlike sprays, will work the entire season but are more expensive,” ...

Condensed Tannins as a Deterrent to Crop Depredation by White‐tailed Deer: Effects of Concentration and Learning KB Monteith, KL Monteith, JA Jenks - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2019 South Dakota

... in manipulated food plots, application of 10% and 20% tannins resulted in a 72% and 89% reduction in probability of feeding during the summer; this pattern of selection was intensified when trials occurred in consecutive days with the same deer. Strategic application of tannins to agricultural crops in areas prone to damage may provide a natural deterrent to crop depredation by ungulates...

How to protect gardens from hungry deer: 'Deer Doctor' offers tips June 4, 2016,  MLive

... Chemical repellents, Baker said, are typically the most effective as long as they are applied properly. Liquid Fence, which produces offensive scents, can be extremely effective, but Baker has seen that strategy backfire. She told a story of a friend who used Liquid Fence around her garden. It kept the deer out, but trapped a rabbit inside, giving it unfettered access to "the salad bar," ...

Arkansas's deer population on the rise in the capital city May 9, 2017 THV 11

... Game and Fish said a fence is probably the best way to keep them out of yards, but suggest growing garlic to keep them out of gardens...

Characterization and Deer-Repellent Property of Chrysophanol and Emodin from Sicklepod Weed  Z Yue, TM Tseng, M Lashley - American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2018

... Field tests conducted at our Captive Deer Facility at Mississippi State University (MSU) confirmed the deer-repelling property of anthraquinone extracts from sicklepod. Soybean plants applied with control treatment (water) were browsed by deer, while plants applied with sicklepod anthraquinone extracts were avoided...

Bobbex Reports: As More Deer Move to Suburbia, Homeowners Seek More Effective Deterrents April 16, 2015 Connecticut, 

... the most effective deterrent to keep deer out of suburban areas is a scent-aversion repellent, according to Dr. Scott C. Williams of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. "Our research has proven that this kind of repellent works to protect plants from damage by deer and other animals." ... 

How to protect your plants from deer June 25, 2015 Oregon, OregonLive 

... For long-term protection in the convenience of a capsule, Summit Deer Ban is my go-to repellent. Just set out the capsules on the ground every 10 to 20 feet around the plants you want to protecPungent fertilizer might be solution for deer management in cotton April 15, 2019 Georgia, Farm Progress

... Burch believes Milorganite, a fertilizer made from sewage collected in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is an effective deterrent...   spread the fertilizer over cotton plots ... From all visible signs, the Milorganite had deterred the deer...

Nova Scotia farmer discovers scarecrows work on deer, too August 3, 2016

... Daniels hammered together a couple of pieces of wood and stuck them at the end of the rows ... covered them in colourful clothing ... he tied bright orange ribbons on alternating rows. The deer disappeared immediately...

 Then water the capsules to release the scent for up to 90 days of protection. It's quick, it's easy and it's effective.

New Ultrasound Units from DeerTech and SavATree Provide Improved Protection against Deer Damage May 24, 2016 New York, Virtual-Strategy Magazine

... DeerTech, A SavATree Company, launches the next generation of ultrasound devices to deter deer browsing on landscape plantings. Called the 2020s, the new ultrasound units draw on over a decade of research, field evaluations, testing and the latest technological advancements. Deer deterrence was improved by 64% over the previous devices to more effectively protect landscape plantings and keep them looking their best year round...

Why do the plants on the new Kootenai River Islands look so brown? May 30, 2016 Idaho,

... The Kootenai Tribe is trying out a new way to protect the freshly planted vegetation from being eaten by deer, beaver, geese and other wildlife. Last summer the Tribe’s contractors wrapped the new plantings in bundles of already dead branches and brush to protect them from browsing by wildlife while the plants get big enough to survive on their own ...

In Your Garden with Jenny Watts: Oh, Deer! August 28, 2015 California, The Willits News

...  Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent has a strong odor and has proven to be very effective, environmentally safe and biodegradable.  Simple repellents such as bars of soap or human hair hung in an area, hot sauce or blood meal are effective on a limited basis. Changing repellents frequently may offer the best control...

The University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science: mix one part hot sauce to 16 parts water. Or, five tablespoons of cayenne pepper and one tablespoon of olive oil can be added to one gallon of water.  Sprayed directly to plants. Repellents might deter beneficial pollinators, and that they’ll need to be reapplied after it rains.

Cuttings from butterfly bush can be placed on top of plants like tomatoes.

To protect the trunk of trees and shrubs, loosely wrap the trunk in burlap, open enough to allow air to move through but tough enough to discourage deer.

New Deer Repellent on the Market June 22, 2011 University of Minnesota, Duluth

Adapting a chemical used to deliver medicines through the skin, NRRI scientist Tom Levar has developed a way to protect plants from hungry deer and mice by delivering a natural hot pepper concentrate through the roots of young plants, making them inedible. Repellex tables can be purchased from various online stores