No plant is ever truly deer-resistant. When food choices become slim or starving conditions exist, the animal often finds itself forced to forage on less tasty plants. As more humans begin to inhabit areas where deer populations once flourished, the need for deer-resistant plant choices becomes inevitable. A few annuals offer the gardener excellent flower color, ease of growth and deer resistance under normal foraging circumstances.
The California poppy is an ideal annual flower choice that offers superb deer resistance due to the plant's bitter flavor. The annual produces an abundance of bright orange blossoms that turn a brilliant yellow. Flowers are produced from March into April. In some locations that offer warm winters, the plant is considered to be a very short-lived perennial but only under ideal circumstances. The plant readily self-seeds with ease. Seeds can be directly sown into the ground in the spring for an abundance of blossoms. This plant grows exceptionally fast.
Periwinkles (Vinca) produce tiny white or purple flowers. The plants are ideal in front of the flowerbed due to their petite size of only 10 inches. They offer a profuse abundance of tiny green leaves. The annuals can spread well through seeds. Deer find the flavor bitter and unpalatable so they are rarely bothered. These plants are tender annuals and should be planted later in the summer when all danger of frost has passed.
Zinnias (Zinnia) are made up of 20 varieties, with around a 100 cultivars, according to the University of Florida. Blossom colors are available in white, red, orange, yellow, pink, purple and lilac. A few are available in mottled and striped colors. Flowers are double, single and even pompom shaped. Numerous varieties offer exceptional disease and pest resistance. Deer rarely bother the Zinnia. The plants enjoy full sunlight with well-drained soil conditions. Zinnias are a tender annual that are easily killed by a frost.
Mealy Cup Sage
The mealy cup sage is a tender perennial that is grown as an annual in areas that frost. In the spring and summer, the plant produces large, purple spikes of flowers. Deer avoid the bitter taste of the plant and its flowers. The mealy cup sage prefers to be planted in the spring when all danger of frost has passed. It can withstand full sun or partial shade. This plant prefers well-drained soil conditions. Several cultivars are available that range in size from 12 inches to a large 4 feet in height. The plant does not tolerate drought conditions.