Plants That Are Deer and Drought Resistant
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
- "Sunset Western Garden Guide"; editors of Sunset Magazine and Sunset Books; 1977