Sure deer are cute when they’re prancing through the neighborhood yards, especially with their newborn babies trailing not too far behind them. However, they’re not as cute when they’re prancing through your yard and chomping down on the garden you’ve spent weeks perfecting.
The unfortunate reality is that with the ever growing deer population, there’s not much you can count on that the animals won’t eat. Even plants they supposedly don’t like, they still play taste-tester, ripping apart your hard work just to spit it out again.
With that being said, over the years we’ve managed to track down a few annuals and perennials that, although difficult to deem “deer resistant,” often go untouched by deer.
Vinca. If you haven’t heard of this popular summer annual yet, it’s one you definitely want to look into. Not only does vinca bloom vibrant flowers all summer long, it’s also notorious for being the one plant deer truly hate. While at first glance the colorful flower might resemble something of a piece of candy, with one bite the deer experience a sour taste.
Some other annuals that aren’t very popular with the adorable yet uninvited, four-legged friends are Angelonia, Coleus, and wax-leaf Begonias.
If you’ve seen a lot of grass-like perennials in your neighbors yards, chances are it’s not just a style thing. Grasses typically don’t attract deer, making them a great and easy option to bring height, color, and fullness to your personal landscape. Something often overlooked is that grasses come in all different, colors, sizes and variants. Whether you’re aiming for height (Maiden or Karl Foster grasses) or more of a bushy groundcover, there's grass for every style.
More of our perennial favorites include Lavender, Nepeta, Agastache, Russian Sage, BeeBalm Monarda, Butterfly Bush, Pulmonaria, Cypress, Berberis and Spirea.
Another way to fight off the deer in your yard is by using a deer repellent on and around your plants. Our two top choices are the Deer Out and Deer Scram products, depending on your preferred form.
Deer Out takes care of the keeping deer away in the liquid department. It comes in both ready-to-use containers and concentrate that you can dilute with water yourself. Unlike many deer sprays that tend to have unpleasant scents to them, Deer Out gives off a pleasant, peppermint-like smell. This product works best when applied weekly to the foliage and flora of your plants and reapplied after heavy watering or rainfall. It also never hurts to spray more often if you want!
Different from Deer Out, Deer Scram is a granular product. It is known to release an odor that deer find both unpleasant and associate with sickness, keeping them away from your garden after it’s put down. You can find this product in a variety of sizes ranging from 2-pound bags to 25- pound buckets. With regular rainfall and irrigation, Deer Scram can last up to 30 days after it is initially applied.
While it may feel close to impossible to keep the animals from rampaging through your garden (trust us, we get it), filling it with the proper plants and using a little repellent can go a long way, keeping your yard safe from destruction while unharming the deer as well.