Deer-Resistant Flowering Shrubs

Deer easily munch down flowers and shrubs to leave nothing behind. Because deer are creatures of habit, previous damage to one specific area of the garden indicates a high likelihood of future damage. To minimize the possibility of attracting deer to the garden, plant deer-resistant flowering shrubs. Grown in dozens of varieties, flowering shrubs have the ability to repel deer and to create a bright burst of color in the landscape.

Southern Waxmyrtle

Southern waxmyrtle (Myrica cerifera) is a rapidly growing evergreen shrub with fine to medium texture. They keep their needles and color all year long, even in winter. The rounded, dense shape on southern waxmyrtle is irregular in form and deer-resistant. Southern waxmyrtle shrubs grow 10 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide--ideal as a screening plant. Southern waxmyrtle has small clusters of flowers and glossy green leaves that grow up to 3 inches long and omit a barberry candle fragrance. Southern waxmyrtle can be severely pruned at the end of their growing season. The USDA Hardiness Zone for planting is 7b to 11.


Another deer-resistant shrub is rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Evergreen and hardy, rosemary shrubs grow 2 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide, ideal for planting as a backdrop to the herb garden. Rosemary shrubs have medium to fine texture and an irregular, rounded form with arching, spreading branches. The blue to purple flowers on rosemary emerge in winter to light up the garden with color. The gray-green needles on rosemary bushes are aromatic and used to flavor dishes like soups and stews. The bushes can be pruned down to promote new growth the following season. Rosemary prefer full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. The zone for planting is 7 to 8.

Butterfly Bush

The butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a deer-tolerant shrub with a moderate growth rate. Butterfly bushes grow 6 to 10 feet tall and wide and produce showy flowers in summer to last into early fall. The blooms grow on long panicles with a cascading, draping shape. The honey-scented blooms grow in a wide range of colors, including purple, orange, white and salmon. The upright clump-like form holds the lance-shaped leaves that grow 10 to 12 inches long. The leaves are bright green with a white or gray coating on the underside of each leaf. As the name indicates, butterfly bushes attract butterflies and hummingbirds to fly from bloom to bloom to collect nectar. Butterfly bushes prefer full sun and dry to medium soil. Prune back in spring to promote new growth on the butterfly bush. The zone for planting is 6 to 9.

Keywords: deer-resistant shrubs, southern waxmyrtle, rosemary shrub, butterfly bush

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in and and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and