California Deer Resistant Plants and Repellents  (California Page)

Native northern California plants that are deer resistant: sea thrift (Armeria), wallflowers (Erysimum), iris, sandhill sage (Artemisia pycnocephala), lupines. Also: iris, lamb's ear, lavender.  All grasses are deer resistant.

Hydrangeas ...are the hot new flower for floral arrangements and wedding bouquets. And, according to the Vintage Gardens website (, dried hydrangea flowers are also very popular. They should be picked and allowed to dry gradually, and then can be used to make long-lasting floral displays.Deer don't seem to like eating them, except for the oakleaf varieties.

Shrubby euphorbias, or spurges...the milky white sap that bleeds from the plant when the stems are cut can cause an irritation, but is why deer do not eat them.

Attractive deer resistant plants: Rhododendrons, daffodils, Mexican sage, Lithodora and hellebores.

Herbs that are too pungent for deer: Rosemary, thyme, scented geranium, lavender, salvia, tulbaghia and cat mint.

Deer prefer succulent and woody plants and rarely eat ornamental grasses and grasslike plants such as carex and members of the restio family.  Woody-based sages such as Salvia greggii and S. microphylla, potato bush and vine (Solanum crispum and S. rantonnetii), westringia, aromatic shrub marigolds (Tagetes) and curry plant (Helichrysum italicum), berberis, nandina, boxwood (Buxus), nearly all conifers, and oleander (Nerium) flourish in sun. For shade, sweet box (Sarcococca) and Mexican orange (Choisya).

List of Deer Resistant Plants

Acer palmatum, Japanese maple

Acer negundo, Box Elder

Achillea, Yarrow

Agastache, Anise hyssop, Hummingbird mint

Ajuga, Carpet bugle

Allium, Wild onion

Aquilegia formosa, Western Columbine


Asclepias, Butterfly weed


Berberis thunbergii, Barberry

Berlandiera lyrata, Chocolate Scented Daisy

Brachycome multifida, Rock Daisy

Buddleia, Butterfly bush

Campanula, Bellflower

Carpenteria, California anemone

Ceanothus, Wild lilac

Cerastium tomentosa, Snow-in-Summer

Centranthus ruber, Jupiter's beard

Chamaecyparis, False Cypress

Chrysanthemum parthenium, Golden feverfew

Cercis occidentalis, California Redbud

Cistus, Rockrose

Chrysanthemum maximum, Shasta Daisy

Chrysanthemum paludosum, Ox-eye Daisy 

Coreopsis, Tickseed




Diascia, Twinspur

Dicentra formosa, Western bleeding heart

Digitalis, Foxglove

Dudleya cymosa Hen & Chicks

Echinacea, Cone flower

Epilobium, California fuschia

Erigeron karvinskianus, Mexican daisy

Erysimum,  Wallflower 

Eschscholzia californica California Poppy

Euphorbia,  Spurge


Gaillardia grandiflora, Indian Blanket

Grass and grass-like plants 


Helleborus, Hellebores

Hemerocallis, Day lily

Heuchera, Coral Bells

Hypericum, St. Johnswort

Hyssopus, Hyssop


Laurentia fluviatilis, Blue Star Creeper

Lavandula, Lavender

Lilium, Asiatic Lily

Lonicera, Honeysuckle

Lupinus albifrons, Silver bush lupine

Lysimachia nummularia, Creeping Jenny

Mahonia, Oregon grape

Mentha, Mint

Miscanthus sinensis, Maiden Grass

Monarda didyma, Bee Balm

Monardella, Coyote mint

Myrtus, Myrtle

Narcissus, Daffodils

Nepeta, Catmint

Nigella damascena, Love in a Mist

Nicotiana, Flowering tobacco

Origanum, Oregano

Oxalis oregana, Redwood sorrel

Papaver, Poppy


Perovskia, Russian sage

Phlomis, Jerusalem sage

Phlox subulata, Creeping Phlox

Picea glauca, Alberta Spruce

Potentilla, Cinquefoil

Pyracantha, Firethorn


Romneya coulteri, Matilija poppy

Rosmarinus, Rosemary

Rudbeckia hirta, Gloriosa Daisy


Salvia apiana, White sage

Salvia ‘Bee’s Bliss’ 

Salvia clevelandii, Cleveland sage

Salvia leucophylla, Gray sage

Salvia mellifera, Black sage

Salvia sonomensis, Sonoma sage

Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird sage

Santolina, Lavender cotton


Senecio, Dusty miller

Sisyrinchium bellum, Blue-eyed grass

Solanum, Potato vine

Spiraea, Spirea

Stachys, Lamb’s ears

Syringa vulgaris, Common Lilac

Tagetes lemmonii, Mexican bush marigold

Teucrium, Germander

Thymus, Common thyme

Umbellularia californica, California bay

Verbascum, Mullein

Verbena bonariensis, Tall Verbena

Veronica, Speedwell

Vitex agnus-castus, Chaste tree


Holly Leaf Mountain lilac, the Blue Jeans variety of hybridized California lilac is a deer-resistant variety

Mexican and other sages

Acorus Gramineus


Creeping lantana





Miscanthus and many other ornamental grasses

Sedum (and all other succulents/cactus)

Japanese boxwood


Loropetalum “Plum Delight”

Polystickum ferns


Tulbaghia violacea “variegate”


Sasanqua Camellias

Oak leaf Hydrangeas