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Deer-Resistant Plants  

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The LuEsther T. Mertz Library 
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458


Noteworthy Books on Deer-Resistant Plants

Cover Art
50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants - Alan L. Detrick (Photographer); Ruth Rogers Clausen
Call Number: SB994.D4 C63 2011
ISBN: 9781604691955
Publication Date: 2011-05-31

Cover Art
Deer-Proofing Your Yard and Garden - Rhonda Hart Poe; Gwen Steege (Editor); Rhonda Massingham Hart
Call Number: SB994.D4 H37 1997
ISBN: 0882669885
Publication Date: 1997-01-09


Deer-Resistant Plants

image of deer

Deer are lovely, graceful creatures best admired from a distance, but definitely not appreciated in the backyard, munching on one's shrubbery and flowerbeds. Unfortunately, as their natural habitat disappears they encroach upon our suburban and exurban neighborhoods, seeking the food proffered by our plantings. Some municipalities may have programs for thinning the deer population, but we as individuals can take steps to minimize the damage posed by this wildlife.

First and foremost, fencing is the best line of defense. It can enclose groupings of plantings, or it can be erected around the property where the deer gain entry. The problem with the first tactic is that it results in unattractively "caged" plantings. Of course, one wishes to view an unencumbered landscape, so the second option is really the way to go. There are many different kinds of deer fencing and it is worth getting professional advice and installation. Fencing could even comprise two parallel fences, with a space in between. For additional assistance contact your local cooperative extension office.

Secondly, there are deer repellents which are marketed as effective against browsing. These are generally sprayed on plants. It may be beneficial to switch between products with different active ingredients during the growing season.

And lastly, you can plant deer-resistant plants, keeping in mind that no plant is deer-proof and that you will be limited in your choices. A list compiled by the Plant Information staff follows. You can also find information on the Rutgers website (use the link in the column to the right). This list has been drawn up with input from local gardening professionals and indicates plants that are rarely damaged or seldom severely damaged. In general they are plants that deer despise.


Ageratum sp. ageratum; floss flower        
Antirrhinum sp. snapdragon 
Calendula sp. pot marigold
Catharanthus annual vinca
Centaurea cineraria  dusty miller 
Cleome sp. spider plant
Heliotropium heliotrope 
Lantana sp. lantana
Mirabilis sp. four o'clocks
Nicotiana sp. flowering tobacco
Salvia sp. salvia
Tagates sp.                     French marigold
Tropaeolum sp. nasturtium
Verbena sp. verbena
Zinnia sp. zinnia


Achillea sp. yarrow                 
Aconitum sp. monkshood
Actaea bugbane 
Agastache sp. anise hyssop
Alchemilla sp. lady's mantle
Amsonia sp. blue star
Anemone x hybrid Japanese anemone
Aquilegia sp. columbine
Astilbe sp. astilbe
Baptisia sp. false blue indigo
Dicentra sp. bleeding hearts
Digitalis sp. foxglove
Euphorbia sp. spurge
Geranium sp. hardy geraniums
Grasses ornamental grasses (see below) 
Helleborus sp. hellebore
Iris siberica Siberian iris
Lavandula sp. lavender
Ligularia ligularia
Monarda sp. bee balm
Nepeta sp. catnip
Paeonia sp. peony
Perovskia sp. Russian sage
Salvia sp. sage
Stachys sp. lamb's ears

Ornamental Grasses

Fargesia rufa clumping bamboo                      
Festauca glauca blue fescue
Hakonechloa macra golden Hakone grass
Helictotrichon sempervirens blue oat grass
Imperata cylindrica blood grass
Juncus effusus common rush
Leymus arenarius glaucous blue lyme grass
Miscanthus sinensi maiden grass
Molinia caerulea purple moor grass
Ophiopogon japonicus mondo grass
Panicum virgatum switchgrass
Pennisetum alopecuroides fountain grass
Pennisetum orientale oriental fountain grass
Phalaris aruninaceae reed canary grass
Phyllostachys aurea golden bamboo
Schizachyrium scoparium little blue grass
Scirpus lacustris sedge
Sorghastrum nutans Indian grass


Abelia x grandiflora                         glossy abelia
Buddleia sp. butterfly bush
Buxus sempervirens common boxwood
Calycanthus floridus Carolina allspice or common sweetshrub 
Caryopteris x clandonensis blue mist shrub
Clethra  summersweet 
Cornus sericea red osier dogwood
Cotinus coggygria smokebush
Cotoneaster sp. cotoneaster
Enkianthus campanulatus redvein enkianthus
Forsythia forsythia 
Ilex glabra inkberry
Ilex verticillata winterberry 
Itea virginica Virginia sweetspire
Kolkwitzia amabilis  beautybush
Leucothoe fontanesiana drooping leucothoe
Pieris japonica Japanese andromeda
Spiraea sp. spirea
Syringa vulgaris common lilac
Viburnum viburnum



Acer griseum paperbark maple                    
Acer palmatum Japanese maple
Acer rubrum red maple
Acer saccharum sugar maple
Aesculus parviflora bottlebrush buckeye
Amelanchier Allegheny serviceberry
Betula nigra 'Heritage' heritage birch
Cercidiphyllum japonicum Katsura tree
Cornus kousa Kousa dogwood
Fagus sylvatica European beech
Ilex opaca American holly
Liriodendron tulipifera tuliptree
Picea abies Norway spruce
Picea glauca white spruce
Picea pungens glauca Colorado blue spruce
Pinus nigra Austrian pine
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas fir
Quercus rubra red oak

NYBG Garden Navigator

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  • NYBG Garden Navigator
    Use this resource to explore the NYBG grounds, including information about specific plants, bloom times, and garden features.
  • NYBG Garden Guides
    Guides from the Plant Information Office related to specific NYBG gardens, including their history, design, and current plantings.

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