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Plants That Are Deer and Drought Resistant

By Susan Lundman ; Updated September 21, 2017
Deer may be cute, but they can also be incredibly destructive.
deer image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com

Gardeners in areas that deer frequent know that finding plants that are deer resistant is a necessity. Deer can do a lot of damage in a very short time. But deer are not the only problem that some gardeners have to contend with; long, dry spells are a normal part of the climate for some gardeners. Neither deer nor gardening in dry climates can be completely solved, but a number of plants are both deer resistant and will grow with minimal watering.


Many varieties of juniper produce attractive berries.
Utah Juniper image by Carol Hyman from Fotolia.com

This evergreen plant can be grown as either a shrub or a ground cover and comes in a wide variety of types, ranging from plants that grow one foot high to those growing up to 20 feet. Juniper has needle-like foliage with small berrylike cones. Almost any type of soil will work for junipers, but they do prefer full sun to do their best.


Lantana produces lots of brightly colored flowers.
lantana image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com

Lantana is available as either an evergreen, keeping its leaves during the winter, or as a deciduous shrub. In areas where winters are not too hard, lantana will continue to bloom with profuse flowering year-round. It will take any kind of soil, but does its best when planted in full sun. Lantana is frequently used as a bank cover and also as a draping plant over raised beds or hanging baskets.


Mahonia, or Oregon grape, is virtually deer-proof.
mahonia image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com

Mahonia is an evergreen shrub that is easy to grow and looks good all year. Its leaves are divided into spiny toothed leaflets. Mahonia has yellow flowers in densely packed small clusters. Oregon grape is one popular variety that is native from British Columbia to northern California.


Oleander stands up well to a dry climate.
oleander plant image by Kathy Burns from Fotolia.com

There is a reason why you will see oleander planted by the side of numerous highways and road sides. This evergreen shrub is not picky about soil, can withstand considerable draught, thrives in heat and grows quickly, reaching a height and width of up to 12 feet. Oleander produces attractive, scented flowers two to three inches across. All parts of the plant are poisonous if eaten, so dispose of prunings carefully.


Once established, rosemary needs little care.
rosemary image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

Deer will not bother rosemary, which is a good thing, as it's one of humans' favorite culinary herbs. This evergreen shrub grows from two to six feet high with small clusters of light lavender-blue flowers in winter and spring. Rosemary does well in hot sun or in partial shade and is tolerant of poor soil. Once established, rosemary needs little watering except in the hottest climates. Some gardeners use the taller varieties of rosemary as hedges.


About the Author


Susan Lundman began writing about her passions of cooking, gardening, entertaining and recreation after working for a nonprofit agency, writing grants and researching child development issues. She has written professionally for six years since then. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.