Native Plants That Are Resistant to Deer Browsing

Native plants that are resistant to deer browsing generally will have fragrant leaves, hairy or tough leaves, and milky sap. While there generally few plants that are totally deer resistant there are many that are less likely to be browsed by deer. These native plants must be planted if deer browsing is a problem in the garden area.


Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, is a perennial that has bell-like flowers in red, purple, white, pink or yellow. It will get 18 to 24 inches tall and the same in width. It has an average growth rate and is a natural attractor of birds and butterflies. Growing conditions should be full sun in cool environments and partial shade in warm environments. Soils should be well drained and it can adapt to loamy, sandy, or neutral soils. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 4a to 10a.

Red Buckeye

Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia, is a deciduous tree that gets 8 to 12 feet tall in landscapes and can get to 30 feet tall in the wild. Dark green leaves are 2 to 5 inches with each of the 5 leaflets. Flowers are 1 to 1 ½ inches long, red, and on panicles. It will bloom May to June. Growing conditions should be in full sun to dense shade in moist soil that is well drained. Propagate via seed.

Common Maidenhair

Common Maidenhair, Adiantum capillis-veneris, is a fern with leaves that are roughly 12 inches tall. It grows in high humidity in bright indirect sunlight. Feed every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. Propagate via spores or division. For maximum effect, cut old leaves out in the early spring and repot if in a container.

American Century Plant

American Century Plant, Agave americana, is a succulent that will get 12 feet in height and 25 feet tall when in bloom. Flowers can be white and yellow and it will grow slowly. Grayish green leaves adorn it and these can be variegated. Growing conditions will need low humidity and full sun. Propagate via seed, suckers, or leaf shoots. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 8b to 11a.

Canada Garlic

Canada Garlic, Allium canadense, is an herb. Leaves are 12 inches long with white flowers. When flowers are mature there will be little bulbs. Growing conditions need to be in full sun with medium humidity and moist soil. Propagate via offsets and seed.

Keywords: deer resistant, native plants, native plants that are resistant to deer browsing

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.