While many people love the sight of a deer grazing in a faraway meadow, most gardeners would prefer that deer stay out of their gardens. Deer can truly wreak havoc on a garden, trampling over plants and nibbling flowers. Though no plants are 100 percent deer resistant, some plants are less attractive to deer than others.
Growing up to 4 feet tall, obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), also called false dragonhead, is a perennial member of the mint family native to Southern and Eastern North America. Highly unattractive to deer, the pungent taste of the obedient plant is usually enough to keep most deer from taking more than a nibble. The plant boasts long green leaves and tall, stiff stalks of flowers, which are available in various shades of pink depending on the cultivar. Tolerant of water-logged soils and flooding, obedient plant is ideal for pond sides or other areas of the garden that are especially wet. Obedient plant does best in full sun or light shade in USDA zones 3 to 9. The ideal soil for obedient plant is a slightly acidic sandy loam, but moisture is the real key to this plant's success.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a short-lived perennial native to Western Europe that boasts a thick, stiff stalk covered in bell-shaped flowers, available in colors ranging from pink to lavender and creamy white. The insides of the flowers are pleasingly flecked with dark colors. Poisonous if ingested, foxglove deters both deer and rabbit. The plant is best cultivated in USDA zones 3 to 9 in partial shade. Some species of foxglove are not well suited for zone 3. The plant prefers a deeply rich, organic soil that is kept consistently moist to the touch during the growing season. The flowers of the foxglove are often cut and used for long-lasting, colorful bouquets.
Easy to grow with low maintenance, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a perennial herb well known for its medicinal qualities. Though called purple coneflower, the plant is available in colors such as maroon, white and pink. A native of North America, the summer-blooming plant is considered deer resistant. Purple coneflower is best suited to life in full sunlight in USDA zones 3A to 10A. Frequently seen in the wild, purple coneflower is very adaptable to different soil types as long as it receives plenty of water. The plant is perfect for those hoping to draw more wildlife into the garden, as the plant attracts bees, birds and butterflies.